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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Yahoo! Sports: MLB - Jeremy Giambi traded to Philadelphia for John Mabry

You have got to be kidding me.  John Mabry!!  I wonder if Giambi shot off his mouth something like when he was with the Royals because this makes no sense.  Giambi may be one-dimensional, but Mabry is practically zero-dimensional.  He isn’t any good at defense either.

Sean Forman Posted: May 22, 2002 at 07:52 PM | 297 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   201. Steve Treder Posted: May 23, 2002 at 10:34 PM (#118420)
"Doesn't Babe Ruth for cash, a loan and an 84 year (and counting) curse qualify for the discussion? The magnitude of the effect is at least much larger than in the Giambi/Mabry case."

It does indeed. The Ruth deal was a bad one in conception and (duh) in outcome. A worse deal can scarcely be imagined.

Bad as this Giambi thing is, it's certainly overstating the case to consider it a blockbuster giveaway of historic proportions, unless Jeremy develops into a star (which he might and might not). If Giambi hadn't been traded, but had suffered some sort of career-ending injury, we'd say, gee, that's too bad, but we'd realize that the A's have plenty of other options at DH/1B/LF, and long-term team performance would not likely be significantly impacted.
   202. Charles Saeger Posted: May 23, 2002 at 10:34 PM (#118421)
"Potentially the upgrade of Milligan to Davis would have been in the general range of a Daubach to Sweeney move today. (Disregarding age, of course.) ((Yeah, I know Dauber's been playing out of his mind lately.))"

Nope. Milligan was the better player. This was my biggest disappointment really -- Randy Milligan had shown he could play, and he was going back to the bench.

You also must remember when evaluating Mike Sweeney that he is one of the worst defensive first basemen known to man.
   203. Steve Treder Posted: May 23, 2002 at 10:53 PM (#118428)
"Theory #3562 - Occam's Razer is Dull. It's conspiracy theory time."

You really aren't serious about this, are you? This is beyond the pale in about six different ways.
   204. DTS Posted: May 23, 2002 at 11:08 PM (#118432)
I always get Glenn Davis and Nick Esasky mixed up. I once saw Esasky hit an upper decker home run at Busch Stadium and pretty much thought he was the greatest home run hitter of all time. Ah, youth. This whole thread I thought Glenn Davis was the guy with vertigo. I kept thinking "cut the guy some slack, he had vertigo! You can't predict that."

Jonathan, I like your theory. Beane is actually signalling for help! Could be. I think I remember a Batman episode when Batman did something totally out of character so people would realize he was in trouble. Maybe it wasn't Batman. Well it was something like that. =)
   205. DTS Posted: May 23, 2002 at 11:15 PM (#118433)
"What is it Sherlock Holmes used to say? "Once you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true.""

Wasn't it: once you have eliminated the possible . . .

Funny, because I read that quote last night in an old Joe Lansdale novel.
   206. bob mong Posted: May 23, 2002 at 11:32 PM (#118437)
Regardless of this Giambi deal, the As are going directly to the toilet unless their pitchers pick it up.

Mulder's line today: 4.7 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR

Sucks to lose to the D-Rays, yeah, but it sucks worse, I think, to get blown away by the Orioles. 11-3. sheesh.

And considering the Phillies just lost 1-0 today, they will probably welcome with open arms Giambi The Younger.
   207. WaltDavis Posted: May 23, 2002 at 11:37 PM (#118438)
Yeah, but how many of us actually remember the Ruth trade? :-)

One wise poster back there 150 posts or so put it quite well...

Giambi - Mabry = not the worst trade ever
   208. Steve Treder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 12:20 AM (#118440)
"Maybe Rob is trying to send us a signal that ESPN forced to him to analyze the trade this way. By using such faulty reasoning, and taking a total about face on his previous position, he's SURE his loyal readers will properly interpret his message. You know, the whole Batman logic..."

   209. Captain Obvious Posted: May 24, 2002 at 12:38 AM (#118442)
"Unless, of course, Neyer is privy to why Giambi was moved. "

Duh. Hasn't Neyer said he talks to Beane occasionally? I wouldn't be surprised if the BP guys have the same muzzle on.

I'm trying to figure out how y'all haven't hurt yourselves jumping off the Billy Beane bandwagon...
   210. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 24, 2002 at 01:11 AM (#118445)
DTS: - Wasn't it: once you have eliminated the possible . . .

No. If you eliminate the possible, you're left with nothing.

Jonathan: I guess my memories as a ten year old fan aren't so accurate after all. I thought Glenn Davis was a legitimate slugger, the likes of which the O's hadn't had since Murray left/was driven out of town.

Davis was a legitimate _slugger_. Milligan (and Murray) was just a better _hitter_. (Or, rather, "offensive player," since much of their advantage came in the walks.) Davis wasn't Joe Carter, but he didn't walk enough to be close to Murray.
   211. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: May 24, 2002 at 01:39 AM (#118448)
Hey , why don't you guys read my article on this, from an A's fan's perspective.

   212. scruff Posted: May 24, 2002 at 02:04 AM (#118450)
Newt, all of the unknown reasons in the world don't explain, "WHY FRIGGING JOHN MABRY????"

Fine, Jeremy is no Jason, but Mabry is no big league ballplayer either.

We aren't saying trading Giambi was dumb. Trading him for John Mabry was INDEFENSIBLE. There is NO REASON THAT WOULD JUSTIFY THIS MOVE. Absolutely none.

If Giambi is that big of a cancer, release him and call up a random player from Sacramento. Have a lottery and televise it. Trade him for a A ball pitcher who throws 80 and is coming off rotator cuff surgery. Trade him for any player in AAA. Any of these options are better than giving 1 AB to John Mabry.
   213. Shredder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 02:46 AM (#118452)
Are the numbers next to these posts new, or is it just something I haven't noticed before?
   214. Bud Selig Posted: May 24, 2002 at 02:58 AM (#118455)
Contraction of the Oakland franchise is a distinct possibility because of this deal.
   215. fables of the deconstruction Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:01 AM (#118457)

Jeremy Giambi - $500,000.00 = John Mabry
   216. DTS Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:07 AM (#118458)
David Nieporent, thanks for the correct Sherlock Holmes quote. I've never read Sherlock Holmes, so my first taste of the quote came in the Lansdale book. In fact, it went like this:

Cop: Wasn't it Sherlock Holmes who said something like once you've eliminated the possible, then you were left to believe the impossible?

Main Character: Close enough.

Your way makes oh so much more sense, and now I get the joke.

Ok, enough of that. The question is: Is Beane trying to signal us?
   217. Shredder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:48 AM (#118461)
Well darn it, I think its a fine idea too. And I'm damn proud to be #506.

Seriously, this improvement is another example of the fine work that all of you guys do. I, for one, really appreciate it. Keep it up.
   218. Greg Pope Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:05 AM (#118462)
I really got the impression that Sheehan thinks that Beane was forced to trade Giambi against his will. Why else would he make the comments about "holding up that day's paper"? So he makes an awful deal and hopes that someone in the media will snoop around and find out that MLB is forcing the A's to tank in order to help their cause.

Why was Beane forced to trade Giambi? Because if "they" make him trade Zito, everyone will know. If "they" make him trade Long, the A's won't miss him too much. However, Giambi is very important to the A's success, but he's not perceived as such. So trading him will hurt the A's a lot, but no one in the media will pick up on the trade as the reason. They'll just say that the A's can't compete. Look at what's been said by the mainstream media already. They don't think it's a big deal, but it's a record sized thread on Primer.

The only thing Beane could do was make the worst trade that he could and hope that someone picks up on it. Kind of like the kidnap victim that says hello to his dead sister or something to signal the only people who know.

Excuse me, I have to go watch the X-Files now.
   219. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:05 AM (#118463)
The other nice thing about the numbering system that Don explains in post #504 is that it's a nice way to refer back to another post. Preferable to using the time.
   220. fables of the deconstruction Posted: May 24, 2002 at 06:13 AM (#118466)
Thanks Doc!

That's like a breath of fresh air from the door being opened after a large crowd has been locked in a room for too long. Now send them home to take showers, so the janitor can clean up the 5,000,000 Mountain Dew cans.


   221. Flynn Posted: May 24, 2002 at 06:36 AM (#118467)
while I'm not much of a stathead outside of the basics and some of the easier stats oft-quoted here (i.e., walks, obp, ops, whip, etc.), this looks like a horrible trade. Giambi was a consistent, if not unspectacular (yet) player, and Mabry's a nobody. This trade has received surprisingly little press coverage here, probably due to the Giants love-fest that is the Bay Area press (by the way, Greg Franklin - the Giants own part of KNBR, so that's why KNBR is silent on the issue..the Ticket 1050 is much more Oakland-oriented, so they might be covering this issue). The general opinion around here (I live in SF) and in BP is that Beane is a pretty good GM and has an idea of what he's doing, and well..what was he doing here? I think bob mong (I think he proposed this) has a good point in saying that Beane might have been told to trade him, since the 1-d quote doesn't make sense, as it's B.B.'s whole philosophy. I read the Skip Bayless (idiot) article and it notes that Giambi was doing a lot of partying when the A's were getting their asses kicked back East, so maybe this has something to do with it..? I don;t know, although I bet we will eventually.

P.S. Jonathan, shut up about the Babe. :( although it was done because Frazee was losing money on the Sox and needed dough for his plays as well. (he needed the plays to work to finance the sox, and vice versa, which is very shaky finanical ground, needless to say he I doubt would be voted in as an owner today) It goes without saying that if a players owner like Tom Yawkey owned the Sox in 1918 that he'd ahve given Ruth the pay raise the Babe wanted and he'd have probably worshipped Ruth like he did Yaz and Teddy. It shouldn't count as a bad deal as Frazee fully knew the implications, but just did it for financial reasons.
   222. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 11:44 AM (#118472)
Maybe someone can come up with a Baseball Primer Thread Win Shares formula to see who was the most valuable poster in a given thread.
   223. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 24, 2002 at 01:39 PM (#118474)
Yeah, Bernal, but what do you do about marginal Post Share contributions? And since the whole theory imply the existence of Troll Shares; how could you structure the formula so that Voros and Robert and scruff don't wind up with negative Troll Shares?

Brown for Lieber looked really bad from the start because Cam Bonifay was all over the newspapers in town talking about what a great little defensive outfielder Brown was (a few months after the infamous error). After about a week of actual games, it was pretty apparent that Brown in center was the second coming of Lonnie Smith, and it was hard for fans to understand how a team could so completely blow its scouting of a player. It would be like talking up Russ Branyan as a superb contact hitter, or Nick Neugebauer as a crafty lefty.
   224. Brian Posted: May 24, 2002 at 01:42 PM (#118476)
Next up, Ted Williams and Willie McCovey at 521
   225. Toby Posted: May 24, 2002 at 02:47 PM (#118479)
Bernal (#517),

alas, in order for there to be a Win Share, the thread has to actually produce a victory. No win --> no win share. So I think we're all at zero.
   226. SeanForman Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:00 PM (#118481)
To go along with the new numbering system, I have added internal links to the comments as well. It adds a few bits, but nothing too severe.

So I can now link to post 400 very easily.

In order to do that you need to just use the pound sign '#' followed by the post number in the HREF tag. The above was produced using

   227. SeanForman Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:04 PM (#118484)
Sorry, grey matter switched my less than and greater than symbols. What you need is

[A HREF="#400"]400[/A]

where the [ is replaced by a less-than sign and the ] is replaced by the greater than sign. (Those appear above the period and comma on your keyboards.)
   228. Darren Posted: May 24, 2002 at 03:35 PM (#118485)
Jonathon and Flynn:

P.S. Jonathan, shut up about the Babe. :( although it was done because Frazee was losing money on the Sox and needed dough for his plays as well. (he needed the plays to work to finance the sox, and vice versa, which is very shaky finanical ground, needless to say he I doubt would be voted in as an owner today)

This is bogus. Please read Red Sox century for the real story. Frazee was not in financial trouble when he sold the Babe. He had plenty of money to finance his plays, which were most often a success.
   229. RP Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:03 PM (#118486)
Sorry if someone posted this already, but this is what J. Morgan had to say about the trade in his ESPN chat:

"I don't know what it does for the A's. Going to the Phillies, he at least adds a bat. He has produced as a part-time player for the A's off the bench and can do the same for the Phillies. Travis Lee hasn't been as consistent as he was expected to be, so Giambi could be a good fill-in for the Phillies. It was a good deal for them. I'm still not sure for the A's. Maybe they wanted to bring in more speed (not Mabry, but other players like German from the minors)."

The first sentence pretty much sums it up.
   230. scruff Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:14 PM (#118487)
I know what it does for the A's. Absolutely nothin' . . . say it again . . . what is it good for? . . . absolutely nothin'!
   231. scruff Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:28 PM (#118490)
I'm pretty sure that isn't real John Mabry at #534, but . . .

I really do feel bad about blasting you John. As I said earlier, I'm friends (not good friends, but we drink beer every few months with people we know) with one of your roommates from West Chester. I'm sure you are a very nice guy.

But honestly, you have to realize you are hanging on by a thread at this point, right? Does anything said here really surprise you? I wish you all the best, and hopefully you've saved your money, you made 4.65 million dollars from 1998-2000. I think that would make up for any emotional abuse you've suffered here. At the very least it'll get you a good shrink.

Seriously, I do realize these guys are people and not just stat lines. But you can't let that get in the way of objective analysis.
   232. Steve Treder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:36 PM (#118491)
"Is there a formal way of doing so? Is it part of the file each team keeps on other players? For instance, if I as GM was offered Player X in a trade, could I go to Player X's file to discover whether he has had emotional problems, or is an alcoholic, or some such thing?"

Speaking from my experience as a Human Resources manager, such a file would be a legal nightmare. Of course such gossipy info is "known" in the business -- in what business isn't it? -- but anybody who started to keep a formal filing system of it would give their legal staff a heart attack.

All of which is consistent with the theory that Beane and Howe wanted to get rid of Jeremy for some kind of off-the-field behavior, but took pains to do so in way that scrupulously avoided having them say so.

None of which justifies the transaction, but I think is probably the explanation for it. And it could certainly be the case that Jeremy has a reputation (deserved or not) as a problem child, and this could very well have the effect of depressing his trade market value. There certainly have been players in the past whose bad reps effectively got them blackballed right out of the majors: Joe Foy, Joe Pepitone, Rich Coggins.
   233. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 24, 2002 at 04:51 PM (#118492)
Steve, what's the Rich Coggins story? I'm not familiar with it.
   234. Dag Nabbit at Posted: May 24, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#118496)
Looking over the entire thread (Yes I've read it all. Yes I need a life), I stand by my original post up at #107 that this trade was an attempt to send a message. Based on what's come to light, the message isn't Say No to Drugs or Say No to Bestiality or Don't Boing Billy's Daughters or what-not, but the message being sent is: Give a Crap About the Team's Performance & Record. The A's are floundering, and apparently several players including Giambi the Lesser didn't seem to be concerned. I guess Beane just felt the team needed a kick in the ass. So why trade for John Freakin' Mabry? To make the kick in the ass that much stronger: we'd rather have a non-entity who tries than a lackadesical (I know, I badly misspelled that word, oh well) talented player. I can only assume that the purpose of this trade is pyschological: Get the other 24 players on the team to bear down and focus that much more, but making this One Big Statement.

In forums like this people (myself including) tend to downplay & mock the whole Baylor-Bowa-Muser approach - grit your teeth & shout "GGGGRRRR!" like you're auditioning for a part in a Frosted Flakes commercial & the team will be good. This approach overlooks the fact that a team full of players with actual talent can usually beat a team full of Tony-the-Tigers. That being said, a team full of talented players acting like Tony the Tigers will generally beat a team full of talented players who are apathetic. You want players who not only have the talent, but also fully utilize their talent. If you feel they're not utilizing their talent, you make a move to show that what they're doing isn't acceptable. It's accepting a short-term loss in talent in hopes of getting a long-term improvement in play. One can argue the trade is a sign of the limits of the SABR-approach to baseball.

If that's true, I can at least understand it. That being said, I still think it's a bad trade - better to sell him off for cash, or for a minimum wage player, or just a player to be named later.
   235. Steve Treder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#118497)
Rich Coggins ...

By definition, of course, nothing was ever formally stated about Coggins. But at the age of 22 in 1973, he had a terrific year for the Orioles, hitting well over .300, with a bit of power, great speed, good defense. The guy looked like a major star in the making.

The next year his hitting declined; not the most unsual thing for a young player to have a sophomore slump. However, the Orioles decided not to be patient with him, they traded him to the Expos. He struggled there, and failed to last the season with them, was shipped around to two or three other teams within the space of a year or two, and never played another game in the majors past the age of 25.

As a young reader of The Sporting News, I was baffled as to why this kid with such obvious potential was (a) dramatically failing to deliver on it, and (b) being given no kind of a sustained opportunity by anyone; teams seemed to be eager to get rid of him. But reading between the lines of the very limited coverage of his situation, you could see the pattern of disparaging remarks about his "desire," or his "hustle," that he just wasn't fitting the mold of "team player."

I can't prove it, of course, but my theory is that Coggins probably had some kind of substance abuse issues and/or a surly or disruptive attitude, and his teams quickly decided his upside was not worth his maintenance costs. I find it hard to believe that a guy who could hit .319 at the age of 22 would have flamed out and been discarded as Coggins was unless there were something more to the story.
   236. DTS Posted: May 24, 2002 at 06:29 PM (#118499)
Rich Coggins had a thyroid condition that forced him out of baseball. Whether this affected his performance efore he was diagnosed with it in 1975, I have no idea.
   237. Shredder Posted: May 24, 2002 at 08:19 PM (#118506)

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Sheehan was kidding. It sounded to me like he was referring to the LABR league in which BP has a team. I believe he was tongue in cheek trying to throw other owners off the trail.
   238. All you Need is Glove Posted: May 24, 2002 at 09:16 PM (#118509)
NOT Joe,

It was the "emerging superstar Travis Lee" line, wasn't it?

Yes, it had to have been...Does anybody out there have any way to contact Travis...this will be the only time he will ever get to see superstar next to his name. (outside of something like this..."come to the Vet to see the Cubs and Sammy Sosa, their superstar. Travis Lee has all the makings of looking like he's finally going to break out of that slump."
   239. Srul Itza Posted: May 25, 2002 at 02:06 AM (#118510)
Baseball Prospectus's Chris Kahrl echoes the Neyer/Sheehan Party Line:

Trust Billy. He knows what he's doing.
   240. Shredder Posted: May 25, 2002 at 02:31 AM (#118511)
Hey, I'm not claiming to be a genius. If Tom was responding to sarcasm with sarcasm, then Tom's sarcasm was lost on me. Tom, forgive me if I underestimated you.
   241. Srul Itza Posted: May 25, 2002 at 04:14 AM (#118513)
Not that I'm looking to continue stirring the pot or anything, but:

"The Mets talked about trading Jay Payton to Oakland for Jeremy Giambi a few days ago, a proposition that must have sounded good as a short-term solution."
   242. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 25, 2002 at 04:49 AM (#118514)
Okay, first of all, I can't believe somebody actually got me to register with the New York Times - I swore I was never going to do that.

Second, if this is true, it seems Beane was actually shopping Giambi around and Mabry was the best he could get. If that's true, then I'm willing to accept the trade a little more because I'll buy the "I just want to get him out of here" portion.

Third, STEVE PHILLIPS IS A FREAKING MORON. Look, you don't need Jay Payton and Timo Perez on the same team, and it is clear that Perez has played better this year, and his ceiling would seem to be higher. (I also never thought I'd advocate keeping Timo over anybody.) But they didn't want to get Giambi...because they didn't have a place to play him??? We're talking about your backup outfielder here. Giambi's better than Payton, that's the issue. Then again, these are the same guys who couldn't figure out how to play Bubba Trammell.

Fourth...hey, new Transaction Analysis! Gotta go.
   243. Joel Barrett Posted: May 25, 2002 at 06:56 AM (#118518)
"I've seen several comments that "Jeremy isn't Jason", but nothing to support that. The stats look eerily similar.

I'd be surprised if he didn't move to the 150 range. He might not peak as high for a single season (202), but 188 is certainly within his skill set."

Jason Giambi's development from 28-30 is as freakish as Sosa's development, so expecting it of anyone else (even his own brother) isn't very realistic in my opinion. Most players with track records like Jeremy don't come even close to Jason Giambi's peak. In fact, there are plenty of players with similar but better stats who never came close to the Jason Giambi stratosphere.

OPS+ in the 120-130 range with perhaps a 1-year peak of 150-160 would be a much more likely expectation for a player with Jeremy's career-to-date. There are lots of similar players (though age 26) who never further improved at all...
   244. Robert Dudek Posted: May 25, 2002 at 07:49 AM (#118519)
I'm sorry, but Giambi might have been the best hitter on the team (if not he was pretty close). A near .400 OBP in Oakland (which deflates batting average and thus OBP) with good power (which is an old player's skill so we would expect a good doubles hitter to develop it as he aged). In his prime and cheap at the moment (you can cut him after the season if you're worried about arbitration).

You have to be able to get something of value in exchange for that package; at the very least you wait until Justice is ready to come back. The indications are that Giambi off-field problems were not all that bad. This trade suggests that the A's are not interested in contending this year.

There's no conclusion I can reach other than Beane was not doing his job properly in this instance.
   245. RP Posted: May 25, 2002 at 04:17 PM (#118524)
Hu -- I don't think that's completely fair. If you all you knew about a hitter was that his AVG/HR/RBI last year was .320/52/125, I think you'd be justified in concluding that he's pretty good. Similarly, we don't have *all* of the facts about this deal, but we have enough to conclude that it's a pretty bad one from the A's perspective. It's possible that there's some behind the scenes info that would fully justify the deal, but I find it unlikely.
   246. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 04:26 PM (#118525)
You want justification? Jeremy Giambi doesn't agree that Dave Concepcion is a Hall of Famer!
   247. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:26 PM (#118526)
...and Cesar Geronimo
   248. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:27 PM (#118527)
...and Don Gullett...
   249. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:29 PM (#118528)
...and Merv Rettumund...
   250. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:30 PM (#118529)
...and Darrell Chaney...
   251. Joe Morgan Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:33 PM (#118530)
Plus, I should be elected again for the broadcasting and writing wing of the Hall.
   252. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 25, 2002 at 05:41 PM (#118532)
Re: Rapscallion Jones

Of the three moves you mention, I'm only convinced that one is actually a good one. Byrd and Gil are performing well this year, it's true, but their performance so far is out of line with the rest of their careers, and I think it's premature to judge either trade a success before we know whether it's a sample-size thing or not.

Picking up Gibbons in the Rule V draft was inarguably a good move, and virtually everyone on this site congratulated him when he made it. It's often trotted out as the best move of Thrift's time with the Orioles. Thrift takes criticism because there aren't _more_ moves like that one, and he deserves every harsh word.
   253. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 25, 2002 at 06:03 PM (#118533)
Dan, Giambi is not making $1.5 million now, and he's not "due for" anything in the future. He's not under contract in the future. They could simply nontender him after the season, and owe him nothing. They could trade him after the season, and owe him nothing. Either one makes them better off this year.

As for arbitration, you don't understand the process. It's based on comparisons. Solely comparisons. It doesn't matter what Giambi's agents claim about Beane's philosophy. It only matters what similar players are making in the majors.

Finally, (not directed at Dan), I wish the people who keep harping on the Long deal would tell me what was so wrong with it. He's not a star; he's mediocre. But he was signed through his peak seasons (26-29) for $3M/year. Hardly extravagant. Similarly for Hernandez. Signed for ages 26-29, for $2.5M/year.
   254. Dag Nabbit at Posted: May 25, 2002 at 06:23 PM (#118535)
"But dudek isn't saying that 'Beane made a bad deal.' He said that 'Beane was not doing his
   255. Robert Dudek Posted: May 25, 2002 at 06:32 PM (#118537)
The Athletics didn't get anything like fair value for Giambi, yet they made the trade anyway. That means that in this particular instance, Beane was not doing his job (properly).

If two GMs make a similar move, and one is taken to task for it (Blalock demotion) while the other is given a pass (Pena demotion) - that's hypocrisy. If anything, you should come down HARDER on Beane because of his track record (he should be held to higher standards).
   256. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 25, 2002 at 08:58 PM (#118540)
This has nothing to do with this particular thread, but it was something that just dawned on me a few minutes ago. In the Bill James ESPN chat a couple of weeks ago James mentioned some people doing baseball research. Of all the people he mentioned he just said "Voros" with no last name given. Does this mean that Voros! has reached the same level of recognition is sabermetrics as Ichiro! has in baseball so that no last name is needed? Will se see a Free Voros! movement. Viva Voros!
   257. Robert Dudek Posted: May 25, 2002 at 11:41 PM (#118545)
Newt: "The trade was made for non-baseball reasons".

What's a non-baseball reason?

The question I ask is: does the trade improve the team, in any conceivable way? Unless you believe that the subtraction of Giambi for NOTHING will 'significantly' improve the performance of the other players, the answer would seem to be NO.

If you do take that 'psychology first' stance, then literally every trade can be justified. Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez? Intangible/Dye didn't mesh with the others in the clubhouse/Neifi keep everyone loose etc . A million such foggy notions could be offered up because nobody knows to what extent these thing are true or false - not even the players and managers themselves.

What I do know is that Prospectus and Neyer have NEVER taken a 'psychology first' approach in their writings. Their unwillingness to state flat out that this was a stupid trade no matter what the extenuating circumstances adds just another baffling layer to this story.

It is not a 'crisis of faith' on my part. I respect the work that Beane and co. have done, but I felt that (before last year) he was focusing a little too much on offense and not enough on putting together a good defense. That changed last year with the acquisitions of Damon and Dye.

Beane's 'legendary' ability to fleece Baird was only the icing, not the cake of success. Oakland's tremendous scouting produced 5 (seemingly) high-quality talents (Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Chavez and Tejada) within a short space of time.
   258. Repoz Posted: May 25, 2002 at 11:44 PM (#118546)
Giambi goes deep in 1st Philly AB.

Phils up 2-0
   259. Repoz Posted: May 26, 2002 at 12:25 AM (#118549)
Start caring.....Giambi solo bomb...2nd of game...
   260. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 26, 2002 at 04:06 AM (#118554)
New post in the old Giles/Chen thread, Newt. Took me a couple of days to get the time together to run the numbers, and it dropped off the front page, but it's there.
   261. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 26, 2002 at 04:48 AM (#118555)
I just wanted to be poster 600.

Seriously, though, Newt, while you do make a reasonable point about some of the analysis on this site, I don't think it's that warranted. What Robert said was that non-statistical reasoning can be used to justify any trade if you wanted to. Trade Barry Bonds for Craig Counsell because the Giants need a more peaceful clubhouse. I would tend to agree that statistics should be considered more important than psychological factors. That doesn't mean the latter can't be considered, but they can be overemphasized, and often are by mainstream analysts.

In this case, you have such a large statistical edge on one side that you would need an equally large psychological advantage to make the trade worthwhile. I think most posters on this site would say that they don't think there could be a psychological advantage large enough to make up for it.

I'll ask a question: can you think of any trades in which the statistical advantage pointed to one side, but which wound up helping the team that "lost" the trade from that view?

As for Neyer, Kahrl, et al., I'll believe their views have "matured" when they make this kind of statement about a bad trade by somebody else. Right now it looks like they're just trying to cover Beane's backside.

Maybe he couldn't get anyone better, and just wanted to get him out of town. There do seem to be reports that some shopping went on (the Mets, maybe the Braves). Hey, maybe the A's turn their season around now. I'm guessing not. And as bad a trade as this was for the A's, in my opinion it was a worse job for the Mets not to trade Payton for Giambi if that was on the table. (Hey, if you've been watching my posts you knew that was coming.) Beane may still be the best GM in baseball, but I think he blew this one.
   262. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 26, 2002 at 05:21 AM (#118556)

What's a non-baseball reason?

It means an "intangibles" reason. (Of course, the very choice of the phrase "non-baseball" to equate to "non-statistical" betrays the bias of the speaker, but that's another issue.)

If you do take that 'psychology first' stance, then literally every trade can be justified.

Nobody is justifying the trade. People are trying to explain it. There's a difference. Look, there are only three possibilities:

(1) Beane thinks this will hurt the team.
   263. Scott Lange Posted: May 26, 2002 at 06:13 AM (#118557)
<I>(1) Beane thinks this will hurt the team.
   264. Robert Dudek Posted: May 26, 2002 at 09:24 AM (#118558)

I understand that #3 is the most likely reason Beane made the trade. My point is that Prospectus/Neyer would broil most GMs who made a deal for that reason. Their soft-pedalling of this trade shows (in my mind) clear bias.

Giambi just sounds like an immature self-centered ballplayer, and frankly there are dozens of players like that around the major leagues. They don't, however, get traded for John Mabry types every week.

Here's what I think happened: Giambi's supposed drunken episode on the plane was the last straw for Beane. Beane got angry. Decided he was going to get Giambi out of Oakland in a hurry. He made a few calls and when Wade offered Mabry, Beane said to himself "good enough".

If this is roughly what transpired, then it was an example of a man making decisions in the heat of the moment, not taking a step back and confronting the problem rationally. To me that says he's wasn't doing his job properly.

Let's be honest and say that Beane's performance since Ricciardi and Fuson left has been lukewarm. The signing of Hatteberg and Justice in the same off-season, and the presence of Giambi, Saenz and (in AAA) Piatt and Valdez created a glut of marginal defensive types.

The idea was that Justice and Giambi would see time in the outfield, allowing Hatteberg, Saenz and eventually one of the minor leaguers to DH. Apparently, that was a spectacular failure, as Justice predictably hurt himself and Giambi was deemed to be "the worst defensive outfielder known to man".

Signing TLong to a long-term deal, even at moderate cash isn't a bad move, but it isn't the type of move that earned Beane his reputation. Long can't really handle CF and he hits like an average corner outfielder at best. I have no problem with the Hernandez deal because he has been an average to above average catcher (offensively at least) and those are not easy to find.

His best move was Pena of course, but he also traded away his top centerfield prospect (Ludwick) for another 1B/DH type (albeit one who is excellent defensively). Taking that deal in isolation it's a good trade because Pena is the best prospect involved, but given the composition of the club (lots of 1b/DH/LF types, not many CF types) it wasn't the most efficient allocation of resources.

Signing Dye to big money doesn't make a whole lot of sense if it means they have to run a much tighter budget in other areas.

Hinske and JMiller for Koch certainly looked reasonable at the time, but Hinske would be a huge asset as a DH/1B with this team right now(young and cheap too). Koch has a great fastball, but has often struggled with his command. The Beane/stathead philosophy states that you shouldn't overpay for relievers. Koch is a closer, which means he's going to earn far more money than an average reliever should (which is basically what he is).

The Beane/stathead thing would have been to make someone like Mecir or Bradford the closer and save their cash and prospects.

It has become increasingly apparent that Beane minus Ricicardi and Fuson is not the "genius" he used to be.
   265. David Jones Posted: May 26, 2002 at 02:08 PM (#118559)
Look, there may be some valid reasoning behind this trade that cannot be reflected in the statistics.

If Neyer and the Baseball Prospectus guys have decided that they want to take a step back and not analyze every trade on a purely statistical level, good for them. I would say that WOULD be a sign of maturation.

But frankly I think it stinks that they would do this at the precise moment that Billy Beane, their hero, executes a trade that seems to operate against every governing principle of sound baseball management that they have been touting as gospel for the past five years. In short, Neyer is guilty of playing favorites in his analysis. Perhaps he feels that he has invested too much excess ink into promoting Billy Beane as the greatest general manager since Branch Rickey (a fairly absurd bit of praise, in my opinion) in order to back off from that stance now just because he happened to trade a one-dimensional player for a ham sandwich.

In truth, the trade is not that important. I don't think it seriously alters the A's outlook for the future in any meaningful way. It is by and large, as Beane himself said, a "fringe move."

But as an observer of some of the slanted commentary on GMs on this site and other sabermetric venues, I find the excuse-making going on for Beane sickening. Apparently some in this field aren't so much interested in providing objective analysis as they are in promoting their favorites into cult status, accompanied with all the blind loyalty that that term implies.

If Syd Thrift made this deal, we would have had 50 posts ridiculing him and the Orioles, and none defending him. And we all would have thought ourselves clever for having done so. And all the while, we would like to think that our guru Billy Beane was watching our analysis at his own computer station with a fatherly, benevolent smile, so proud of "his boys."
   266. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 26, 2002 at 03:37 PM (#118560)
David - Some people deserve the benefit of the doubt more than others. Beane is one of those people. Syd Thrift isn't. A reasonable analysis of the trade is to point out its inequity in terms of talent and value, and then state the assumption that there must be more there than meets the eye.

If Beane has lost it - and there HAVE been many posts here saying just that - I think we will have to wait for more evidence than a set of transactions on one day can provide.

That said, managers evolve over time. Beane is not only a favorite of stat types, he is now highly regarded in the industry as the GM who built a fine organization with fairly meager resources. These sorts of things can go to one's head, and who knows, Beane may have turn into an irrational egotist. Again, time will tell.
   267. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 26, 2002 at 04:08 PM (#118561)
People also have to realize that a VERY important aspect of Beane's job is having the respect and trust of his fellow GMs. If Beane believes that Giambi is a staph infection, he is right to feel obligated to disclose that information to his fellow GMs before dumping him on them. If he fails to disclose that information, he is not only dishonest, but he will lose the respect of his colleagues, which will make Beane a less effective GM. With the disclosure that Giambi brings whatever baggage it is that he brings, decent return offers are far less likely. This is why I propose that this trade may simply have been a you-take-my-burden-and-I'll-take-yours.

If this is correct, we can't really evaluate whether Beane made the right decision without knowledge of what the baggage is. We have only a few inadequate puzzle pieces pointing to some personal problems for Giambi. If this was merely a matter of Giambi being too much a link with the past that Beane wanted to cut away, then perhaps those who criticize Beane are correct and he overdid it. If Giambi was doing bong hits in the clubhouse or boinking his teammates' wives, then maybe Beane did the right thing. The fact is, we are not privy to these details and thus can't evaluate it one way or the other.
   268. Robert Dudek Posted: May 26, 2002 at 05:08 PM (#118563)
Well, I do not believe that Long is or was the answer in center and I would have concentrated on precisely this position.
   269. Steve Treder Posted: May 26, 2002 at 05:42 PM (#118566)
"... Mabry can be used in a part-time role. Giambi doesn't fit that role."

Huh? Why would Mabry perform any better off the bench than Giambi would?

There was no NEED to trade Giambi if all Beane wanted to do was get more playing time for Piatt. All the A's would need to do is instruct Howe to start Piatt, and bench Giambi. (Why he would want to do this is another very good question.)

Searching for on-field performance reasons to justify this transaction is completely fruitless. There are none to be found. If indeed the difference between short-term on-field performance between Giambi and Mabry was Beane's motivation for the deal, then it was a bad, bad deal. I can't fathom why this should even be debatable.

The only way the move can conceivably make sense is if it was done to address some other issue, presumably Giambi's off-field behavior, and Beane's/Howe's judgment that this behavior was creating, or likely to create, larger discipline/behavior problems on what is still a young team. On that basis, one can certainly see some logic (not necessaril compelling logic, but logic) in wanting to trade Giambi. The issue then becomes, trade him for what, and there are so many other types of players he might reasonably have been traded for (some defensive help in the OF, some pitching help, some kid prospects and/or $$) that would have made more sense for the A's then yet ANOTHER 1B/LF/DH type, and a grossly inferior one at that -- that is what leads one to conclude that this was just, any way you look at it, a bad transaction for the A's.

I believe this point has been made now about 400 times by about 300 different posters. I, for one, am done with it.
   270. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 26, 2002 at 06:05 PM (#118568)

Well, I do not believe that Long is or was the answer in center and I would have concentrated on precisely this position.

Yeah, he should have traded for Chris Singleton.
   271. Steve Treder Posted: May 26, 2002 at 06:26 PM (#118570)
Look, Newt, nothing of what you have said refutes the following:

"The only way the move can conceivably make sense is if it was done to address some other issue, presumably Giambi's off-field behavior, and Beane's/Howe's judgment that this behavior was creating, or likely to create, larger discipline/behavior problems on what is still a young team. On that basis, one can certainly see some logic (not necessarily compelling logic, but logic) in wanting to trade Giambi. The issue then becomes, trade him for what, and there are so many other types of players he might reasonably have been traded for (some defensive help in the OF, some pitching help, some kid prospects and/or $$) that would have made more sense for the A's then yet ANOTHER 1B/LF/DH type, and a grossly inferior one at that -- that is what leads one to conclude that this was just, any way you look at it, a bad transaction for the A's."

Labeling those who disagree with you with pejoratives such as "stathead" or "smart boy" does not make your defense of the trade any more persuasive; it is an ad hominem argument that adds no value whatsoever to the discussion.
   272. Kurt Posted: May 28, 2002 at 02:58 PM (#118573)
(from #604)
   273. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 28, 2002 at 03:41 PM (#118574)
Newt, I think what the Red Sox proved last season was that losing Nomar and Pedro to injuries hurts a team.
   274. Alan Posted: May 30, 2002 at 01:33 AM (#118585)
Rey Ordonez sucks.
   275. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 30, 2002 at 02:47 AM (#118587)
In addition to all its other distinctions, I think this earns the title of "Most Self-Reflexive Thread"
   276. scruff Posted: May 30, 2002 at 03:11 AM (#118588)
Laughing out loud, especially at posts 626, 629 and 631. As my Nets are in the middle of turning yet another 20 point lead into a 1-point game (10:40 left right now), I needed this.
   277. scruff Posted: May 30, 2002 at 03:17 AM (#118590)
Laughing out loud, especially at posts 626, 629 and 631. As my Nets are in the middle of turning yet another 20 point lead into a 1-point game (10:40 left right now), I needed this.
   278. Joel Barrett Posted: May 30, 2002 at 08:48 AM (#118599)
"There was no NEED to trade Giambi if all Beane wanted to do was get more playing time for Piatt. All the A's would need to do is instruct Howe to start Piatt, and bench Giambi. (Why he would want to do this is another very good question.)"

Granted, wanting to play Piatt is no reason to just give Jeremy away.

But there are plenty of reasons for a team preferring Piatt over Jeremy. Piatt is younger, cheaper, better defensively, seems less injury prone, and arguably projects to be as good or better offensively. As long as Piatt avoids contracting viral meningitis every season, he should do fine. Why do you think that Jeremy is a slam-dunk choice over Piatt (ignoring "off-field" issues)?
   279. Darren Posted: June 02, 2002 at 01:06 AM (#118610)
I'd like to float a conspiracy theory if I may: Neyer and the BP guys have seen Keith Law get hired by the Blue Jays. They think, "Hey, it'd be cool to work for an actual baseball team and have a hand in the decision making of said team."

Then along comes Beane with his bad trade. And it occurs to these guys that A) there have been a couple openings in Beane's organization since Riccardi and Fuson left, and B) if anyone's going to hire a stathead, it would be Beane. So they think, it wouldn't look too bad if we gave him the benefit of the doubt, and it wouldn't hurt my chances of getting hired.

I know it's far-fetched but it's still got to rank in the top 200 posts of this thread.
   280. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: June 03, 2002 at 03:32 AM (#118623)
1-HBIP is not a good way to judge defense... Anyway, most hits are line drives and fly balls. Those tend to not be catchable and still go for hits. That is to say - most hits couldn't be prevented by a defense playing normal positions.

I am working on some hit chart analysis, but crudely, hits are mostly the hitter's skill. The fielders can't do much about most of them.

Chris, even if it is true (clearly it must be true... the predicatble variation displayed by hitters in their ability to gather H-HR/BIP, and the lack of variation in pitchers' ability to prevent H-HR/BIP mandates that it must be so) that the hitters are responsible for most hits, this does not in any way mean that H-HR/BIP is a bad measure of defense. Clearly, not all hits are the product of line drives or tweeners... there are other hits which defenses can do something about, and it is those hits which the hits per balls in play stat measures. (The fact that a defense can't do much is implied by the narrow range of these rates... as I recall they usually seem to be between .630 and .730 with very few outliers)

I'm sorry if I misunderstood you, but in fact I think it's more than a little bizarre to suggest that H-HR/BIP (or my preferred variation, H-HR/Outs on BIP) isn't a measure of a good defense. That's all that a good defense can do, is turn balls in play into outs. There are two additional things they can do, I guess : gather "baserunning outs" like CS or Baserunner Kills; and they can turn double plays. That's it. To suggest otherwise is to turn all defense into double plays and caught stealing.
   281. All you Need is Glove Posted: June 05, 2002 at 06:32 PM (#118651)
Anagram Police - I fear you have not done your job your apostrophe help is misguided...It's is the contraction of it is not of the possessive plural "its" therefore your helpful suggestion isn't to be effective try this...

"Billy Beane's trade" = "'Tis been really bad"
   282. Jason Posted: June 05, 2002 at 06:32 PM (#118652)
And folks think I won't stay dead.

   283. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 05, 2002 at 11:40 PM (#118659)
Anybody want to invoke Godwin's law here? Only the Nazis would make a thread go more than 705 posts.
   284. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: June 06, 2002 at 12:06 AM (#118660)
Can we waive the 5-year waiting period and put this thread into the Primer Hall of Fame now?
   285. Craig Calcaterra Posted: June 06, 2002 at 02:18 AM (#118665)
Ha! I use my real name!


What is Godwin's Law?

Godwin's Law
   286. Greg Franklin Posted: June 06, 2002 at 02:20 AM (#118666)
Let's go to the leaderboard. June 4 results with new club:

   287. Craig Calcaterra Posted: June 06, 2002 at 02:26 AM (#118667)
And, for the record, homsexuality was first invoked at post # 25, and Libertarianism (by yours truly) at post # 157. Given that there was no mention of either Hitler or Nazi's until 704, both Gordon's Restatement of Newman's Corollary to Godwin's Law and Sircar's Corollary were violated, and given that I posted this thing, Godwin's law itself was violated.

And I think I just went back in time.
   288. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2002 at 02:46 AM (#118668)
Lookout, Babe, here we come.
   289. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2002 at 08:37 PM (#118674)
Its been a while since I've brushed up on my Deutsch, but I think you mean "Lebensraum." Unless they really love extra space.
   290. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2002 at 09:09 PM (#118677)
Chris, this thread left the topic of the Giambi trade long ago. Please try to keep your comments in this thread off topic in the future.
   291. jameyhammock Posted: June 07, 2002 at 10:50 AM (#118681)
I think we might need a special corollary to Godwin's Law just for baseball discussions.

As an online baseball discussion grows longer, the probability approaches one that someone will 1) make a Pete Rose reference that leads the ever-popular Pete Rose/HOF discussions, 2) make a reference to the negro leagues and the validity of the statistics and anecdotal evidence we have, or 3) impersonate Peter Gammons, Syd Thrift, of Bud Selig.

That said, this discussion has, much like Pete Rose, hung on way past the point of relevance.
   292. Bud Selig Posted: June 07, 2002 at 01:52 PM (#118684)
The sad truth is, No Way Man, that for fans in small markets there is no faith, or hope either for that matter. To solve this problem, we need revenue sharing and a salary cap. And new stadiums for every team. And an automatic World Series berth for the Brewers. Until then, this thread will never dethrone Hammerin' Hank.
   293. Sharkbyte Posted: June 07, 2002 at 06:46 PM (#118694)
A HOF thread to be sure...but is it a first-ballot thread? That depends where you set the replacement level for content, since the last 200 posts or so have been AAAA-level at best.
   294. Craig Calcaterra Posted: June 07, 2002 at 09:51 PM (#118708)
I am the Home Run King
   295. Craig Calcaterra Posted: June 07, 2002 at 09:53 PM (#118709)
No backsies.
   296. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: June 07, 2002 at 11:01 PM (#118712)
Ya know, instead of typing that 10,000 times you could have been out stuffing the All-Star ballot box with all Twins and Expos.
   297. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 07, 2004 at 07:09 PM (#1003580)
For me, this thread was the moment that Primer came to life.

Remember when the size of this thread was considered "epic"?
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