Saturday, August 8, 2009

Glossary of terms

Since I'm starting to post a little bit (lot of bit), I decided to take this moment of insomnia to introduce any reader to terms I like to use, in the event they do not already know them (this list will be updated as I see fit):

Statistical terms:

WARP - Wins Above Replacement Player. Used by baseball prospectus. Some weird proprietary formula crap going on there, but generally makes sense. Good way of showing anyone with a functioning brain and a willingness to learn something new how insane 80's managers were for thinking Vince Coleman was a good leadoff hitter.

FRAA - Fielding Runs Above Average. Even more weird, even more mysterious, positionally adjusted. Still way better way to evaluate defense than Errors or Range Factor alone.

EqA - Equivalent Average. Remember when you were like 3 and thought Batting average was an awesome way to tell how a player hit, and that .260 was an "average" hitter? Well, EqA is kind of like that, except this actually does. Invented by Clay Davenport, raw EqA, as shown here, is found by:


And then a whole bunch of mathy shit I'm too lazy to describe to you right now. Then it is scaled and the average hitter gets assigned a .260. Great hitters are usually around .300, replacement level hitters tend to hover around .220, etc.

UZR - Ultimate Zone Range. Probably a better stat than FRAA, or at least less mysterious. Sum of your Range runs above average, Error runs above average, arm runs above average, and double play runs above average. Needless to say, an average fielder for the position would have a "0". Unfortunately, this metric is undeveloped with catchers, clearly a huge flaw.

Last year Chase Utley led the majors in UZR with 20.2. Needless to say, he's an awesome fielder. Carl Crawford was 2nd with 19.6. Last place was Brad Hawpe at -37.2. That's really bad. That's "trade him to an AL team ASAP" bad. So far in 2009, Vernon Wells rocks a -20.1, further living up to that awesome contract he got. Jacoby Ellsbury has a -12.6, which is either a fluke or a sign that he needs to be traded straight up for Shin Soo Choo before everyone else catches on.

OPS+ - Adjusted On Base plus Slugging. Everyone knows OPS by now. Harold Reynolds, as you know, doesn't like OPS, meaning you should use it more. All seriousness, however, it is a weird, flawed metric, and meant to be replaced by numbers like EqA. However, it is an easily calculated number that can give you a general idea of how well a player:
- Gets on base
- Hits for power
OPS+, is simply era and park adjusted. The formula for it is 100*(OBP/lgOBP + SLG/lgSLG - 1) For example, if you go .280/.400/.520 for the Padres, and someone else goes .300/.410/.530 for the Rangers, everyone thinks the Phillies player is better. But then when you remember that said Rangers player plays in a little league park and the Padres player plays on fucking Jupiter, you use this knowledge and the information to verify it to come up with an adjusted number. This is why Brian Giles has an OPS+ for his career of 136, and Mark Teixeira has one of 135.

ERA+ - Adjusted ERA. Same thing, except for pitchers. ERA+ = 100*(ERA/lgERA). Pedro Martinez, surprisingly, has the best ERA+ of any starter of all time according to (think of all those < 3 ERA years in Fenway Park in the middle of the steroid era).

K/BB - Strikeouts per walk. Simple enough.

WHIP - Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched. A way better indicator going forward of a pitcher's effectiveness than plain ole ERA, especially a reliever. Essentially, WHIP tells you that while it was cool that Dice-K went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2008, his WHIP of 1.32 kind of said it was pretty flukey and he was about to at least moderately implode. Of course, my fellow Sox fans just assumed it was him being a superclutchimo, except now he's an asshole that only cares about the WBC.

The terms:

Magic aura (or aura for short) - the presense that exudes from any great player. This presense usually alternates as said lazy journalist sees fit. For example, when Carlos Beltran played for the Astros, he was a magic man who lifted himself and his team in the biggest games. Then he went to the Mets, struck out in the 2006 NLCS, and has ever since been the antithesis of magical magic aura. It was said Ryan Howard possessed this in September 2008 when he singlehandedly carried the Phillies to the NL East title. Other notable men of magic aura are Derek Jeter, David Eckstein, and Jack Morris.

Cue the band - what happens when a writer makes a particularly awesome point about something.

Awesomo - a term I use liberally to describe many things. Among them:
Barry Zito's contract
Willy Taveras' leadoff hitting ability
Jerry Manuel/Dusty Baker's managing style
95% of sports writers

Compiler - a term coined by Jon Heyman for Bert Blyleven. A way to describe a player who "selfishly" accumulates "statistics" but doesn't deserve legendary praise. Feel free to use this term for any player you dislike.

Impact - another crappy term from his Heymanist for Jack Morris. Used when there is no real substantial argument to call player A better than player B except for WS wins or AS appearances or something.

Clogging up the bases - also known as baseclogging. A bad, bad thing men like Adam Dunn and Kevin Youkilis do, rudely getting in the way of fast guys by getting on base via walks. Many managers, like Dusty Baker, Jerry Manuel, and Tommy LaSorta for historical reference, will do what they can to avoid such incidents.

True Yankee - Real description: A man who plays for the Yankees. Crappy, insane description: A man with magic aura (as noted earlier), a man with that certain something. In other words, a man who has either played on a championship Yankee team, or a man who plays baseball well and causes IQ deprived Yankee fans to long for his sweet, sweet embrace (as you can see in one highly vomit enducing blog post here (yes I am mocking another amateur. Deal with it)).

The people:

Joe Posnanski - good writer. Very good writer. Go here.

Joe Morgan - ESPN's #1 baseball analyst. You can pretty much turn everything he says into a drinking game. A great way to solicit a crazy answer from Joe Morgan on his weekly JoeChats (Tuesdays at 11 am) would be to ask him something about any of the following topics:

Concetration (typo on purpose)
No great teams
Small ball
Billy Beane

Just go here and wonder why this man has the job he does.

Jerry Manuel - Sure, he's been housed by injuries in 2009. He's also turned David Wright into a slap hitter who's due to suck once his .424 (!!!!!) BABIP goes down, he's thrown decent players under the bus, and he hates statistics. Tells Luis Castillo and his .393 OBP to bunt regularly.

Dusty Baker - The classic. Hates OBP because he's big on "driving in runs and scoring runs", and that "sometimes you get so caught up in On base percentage that you clog up the bases" (don't believe he said this? Scroll to the bottom). For this, he continues to let Taveras and Gonzalez hit 1-2 in the lineup, as OBP machine Ryan Hanigan hits 8th, to fully prevent base clogging on his team. In addition, he sends a regular cliental list to Dr. James Andrews, which includes Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Edinson Volquez (and soon Johnny Cueto).

Jon Heyman - possibly my least favorite writer. What's wrong with SI. Broke Bonds signing with the Giants and has rested on that since (cause you know, calling the SF Front Office is so HARD!!!!11!ONE!!). Hates VORP, will handpick his MVP by simply browsing the standings and picking whoever has a lot of Home Runs, rendering the seasons of any player not lucky enough to play on a 90 win season useless. Hates Bert Blyleven, loves Jack Morris, has invented terms just for them (compiler and impact, as shown above).

Bill Plaschke - ever need to vomit so you can get a sick day from work? Allow Billy P here to wax poetic for you. Loves Ned Colletti, yet hates the one thing he's really done right as Dodgers GM, which is sign Manny Ramirez (actually Colletti did work on getting Ethier, I will admit, but I digress). Will still credit Colletti anyway, despite the fact that most of the team's current core is either the work of Dan Evans and Paul DePodesta (Kemp, Billingsley, Kershaw, Martin, Loney), way overpaid (Pierre, Furcal), or way overrated (Blake, Hudson). Winners are champions, losers are chokers, etc.

Colin Cowherd - the namesake. Somehow gets his snotty looking face on TV now (albeit at 4 pm). No good opinions on anything, loud, and covered the Sean Taylor shooting with about as much class as OJ Simpson handled his ex-wife's possible relationship. ESPN's genius idea: give him more on-air time.

Stephen A. Smith - former terrible NBA analyst on ESPN, turned terrible political commentator on MSNBC. Next time someone bashes Fox News, remember, Screamin' A is on MSNBC.

Max Kellerman - someone actually worth listening to. Went to genius High School, graduated from Columbia, married a lawyer, now does boxing for HBO. Used to do Friday Night Fights with Brian Kenny, which ironically would've been a way, way, way better duo on Baseball Tonight than anything that ESPN throws out there right now.

Karl Ravech - tortured soul host of Baseball Tonight. There to ask his ex-jock co-workers the simpliest of baseball questions, and watch as they go on a 3 minute mangling. A local guy from Needham, MA.

Steve Phillips - former Mets GM turned terrible baseball analyst. Told Brian Kenny, as I recently highlighted, that OBP is "not the most important thing" when evaluating a hitter, something Brian Kenny repeats at least 2-3 times in fact is. Somehow turned the 2nd highest payroll in MLB into players like Mo Vaughn, old Robby Alomar, old Rickey Henderson, Bobby Bonilla, and traded Jason Bay for this and this. Even shopped Jose Reyes. Obviously this is a man you can learn a lot about baseball from.

Juan Pierre - a nice guy who tries hard, likeable. For this reason, he earned a $44,000,000 contract from crazyballs Colletti. Had one good, high-BABIP induced month in 2009 and now no one can get enough of him again.

Tim Raines - A great player who will probably miss out on the Hall of Fame for a variety of reasons. These include:

- using cocaine (for a year, when he was like 20. Paul Molitor did too, but he's white so it's ok)
- not being as good as Rickey Henderson (a standard that everyone in the HoF has obviously been held to, like this man, or this guy, or for a recent example, this guy).
- "similar to guys like Vince Coleman and I don't think he's a Hall of Famer"
How these two are "similar"
.294/.386/.425, 170 HR, 811 SB, 84.74% success rate, 232 FRAR/6 FRAA, .309 EqA, 94.2 WARP-3
.264/.324/.345, 28 HR, 752 SB, 80.94% success rate, 7 FRAR(!!)/-133 FRAA(!!!!), .266 EqA, 7.2 WARP-3 (want to know Dustin Pedroia's in 2008 alone? 8.6).
- doesn't pass the "gut check". Obviously the most important factor in HoF voting.

David Eckstein: Scrappy, gritty, mutation of True Yankeeism. Probably more likely to make the Hall of Fame than Tim Raines.

Brian Kenny's Awesome

Seriously, watch the first 1:36 of this video for 3 things
1) How much better Brian Kenny is as this than Steve Phillips
2) How straw grasping Steve Phillips gets
3) How much Brian Kenny wants to just call him an idiot and storm off the set

Monday, August 3, 2009

MVP talk? LOVE IT!

Been an interesting year in the AL. Mauer started hurt, but heated up, good God did he heat up. Derek Jeter's arguably having one of his best years ever (at what, 35?). Ben Zobrist has come out of m-fletching nowhere to be one of the best players in MLB this year. Evan Longoria continues to be awesome, and Kevin Youkilis has officially gone from the "Greek God of Walks" to a full out slugger. Needless to say, it's a pretty good 5 horse race for the AL MVP.

But I digress. Lyle Spencer of, who do YOU think is the AL MVP?

Abreu making case for AL MVP honors

Oh. Um, that's...original thinking. Abreu, who's, like, not even on the first page of player value on fangraphs. Bobby Abreu, 13th in VORP in the AL. Bobby Abreu, who is 23rd in WARP in the AL.

Let's dive further into this, shall we?

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bobby Abreu, Most Valuable Player candidate.

Okay, well, at least he's not saying the MVP. But like, is he really?

Entering Sunday's series finale against the Twins, the Angels' free-agent bargain of the decade is found all over the American League offensive leaderboard.

'talics mine.
Come on, Lyle Spencer, you know that's wrong. The DECADE?
You think this ranks higher than David Ortiz (even though I heard he may have done something, any info?), or maybe Shin-Soo Choo and his peanuts contract? Russell Branyan? Anyone on the Oakland A's from 2001-2006? Little hyperbolic?

He is tied for sixth in batting average at .320 and sixth in RBIs with 73. He is third in on-base percentage at .415. He is first in hitting with runners in scoring position at .429. He is tied for fifth in walks with 61.

Okay, baseball arguments, I'm with you here. He's probably not even the best right fielder in his division, though, since some guy with a funny sounding first name plays in that place Nirvana's from.

His impact runs even deeper internally. The Angels, feeling the Abreu effect through his actions and his words, have advanced from ninth in the American League in runs scored (4.72) to first in the Majors (5.66).

Holy shitnuts this is crazy tits.

2008 Angels:
.268/.330/.413/94 OPS+ (with 2 months of Teixeira)

2009 Angels:
.290(!)/.353(!!)/.451(!!!)/108 OPS+ (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

It isn't Mike Napoli's big season, or Kendri Morales', or Juan Rivera, or Torii Hunter, it's Bobby Abreu's magical aura k 9-wejwe0wejwe jriej9iweit ojkrtgh...

sorry, keyboard seizure. I'm back.

But jeeze, man, he's not even the MVP of LAA. Explain yourself.

The AL's best team with their 62-40 record, the Angels have gone from seventh in batting average in 2008 (.268) to first in the Majors (.289). They have gone from 11th in on-base percentage (.330) in the AL to second (.353, behind the Yankees at .358). They have advanced from ninth in slugging (.413) to third (.449) in the AL.

I just said this. Mr. Spencer clearly thinks this is from the warm fuzziness of Bobby Abreu.

Which begs the question, why did he always give Melky Cabrera wedgies? Only way I can think of Cabrera being so bad in 2008 now, thanks to Lyle Spencer.

Abreu has stolen 22 bases in 27 attempts, gone first to third like the young thoroughbreds, hit eight home runs and played solid defense in right field with Vladimir Guerrero unavailable.

Yes, you heard that right. 8 Home runs. From a corner OF. In a ballpark that's currently 3rd in HR factor. This is the MVP wagon we're hitching on.

BUT ZOMG 22 FOR 27 STEALS!!!!!!!!1ONE!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!!! HNEFUIHEHJWE(W

If these aren't the credentials of an MVP candidate, somebody isn't paying attention.

Holy about these credentials:
365 PA, .301/.409/.578, 19 HR, 12/15 SB, +12.8 UZR, primarily 2nd baseman.

This is Ben Zobrist. He is having a far better season than Abreu.
Sure, Abreu's OBP is even more excellent than Zobrist's already excellent .409, but by 6 points. Takes a lot more than 6 points of OBP for an average defensive RF to bridge the gap to a very good defensive middle infielder with a 117 POINT EDGE IN SLUGGING HJER*(HWWEEHH.

Seizure again.

Abreu has had a lot of help, of course, but there's no denying his profound influence on this team.

"Bobby's been huge," Chone Figgins said. "You can learn a lot about hitting just by watching him. And if you want some details, he'll give you what you need to know."

Mentoring notorious hackers: MVP.

Abreu takes this, as with everything in his life, in smooth stride. He loves his new team, its aggressive style, its collection of athletes, the freedom that manager Mike Scioscia not only gives his players but demands that they take with relish.

"Mike only gets upset if you don't try to take the extra base," Abreu said...

Yes, please Mike Scioscia, run your team into more outs. Red Sox fans have loved it in the postseason.

grinning. "I really like this team, everything about it. We have a great chemistry here."

Abreu has heard how Figgins, Torii Hunter, Erick Aybar and pretty much everyone else in the cast have attributed much of their success, and the team's, to his style and approach, on and off the field.

Good guy, takes the team to TGI Fridays. Not like that asshole Joe Mauer in Minnesota who probably slashes their tires and bangs their wives.

Actually I'd let him get away with that if I were the Twins.

"I feel good to see Aybar, Maicer [Izturis], [Howard] Kendrick getting better," Abreu said. "They've got such good talent. They're starting to learn how to use it. You can see the progress they're having in being more patient, having good at-bats.

"Everybody feels the same here and works hard. Freedom -- that's the word. The way I share with my teammates, how they are [responding], that comes from the freedom we get from the manager. They're special guys who really enjoy the game.

"As a player, it's all you can ask for, what we have here."

He likes his team, cool, non-contentious point. Except when you're trying to discuss ACTUAL BASEBALLING ABILITIES, LYLE SPENCER.

The Angels are not expected to try to re-sign Abreu until after the season...

This strengthens Spencer's case, in Spencer's mind.

but they are fully aware of the impact he has had and how he has upgraded his value at age 35.

God I hope the Angels give him a 4 year / $45,000,000 deal now, and trot out on OF of Gary Matthews Jr, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu for like $40,000,000 / year in 2011 when they're old and miserable fielders.

"Bobby has been everything we could have wanted," Scioscia said. "He's performed at a consistently high level all season."

Like the fine Argentine reds he'll occasionally sample, Abreu is aging gracefully, with a full-bodied excellence.

MVP candidate? Absolutely.

I have no issue with Abreu as a guy, but if he wins the MVP, I give up. I give up everything. His OPS+ is 127. Morneau's in his questionable winning year was 140, and he had a defensive reputation that Abreu lacks. Dustin Pedroia was a 122, but he was an excellent fielder at 2B and gets bonus points for being the size of a garden gnome and being fully bald at 25.

OPS+'s of various MVP candidates:

Zobrist: 154
Mauer: 173 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) as a catcher (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Jeter: 124 (as a SS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Youkilis: 153
Cabrera: 142 (and probably doesn't belong on this list)
Morneau: 162 (and 28 HR)

So yeah, if you think Bobby Abreu stacks up to this, well, God bless ya. I'm just happy provides so much good analysis.

In the "Saw this coming from a mile away department":

Edinson Volquez to have Tommy John surgery

Only one song perfectly describes another young pitcher under Dusty Baker getting injured:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Trade deadline thoughts:

  • Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman: WTF
  • Victor Martinez to the Red Sox. Cool, Ortiz and Lowell are about to become the most expensive DH platoon of all time.
  • O-Cab to Minnesota. Apparently giving teams SS prospects for a .250 EqA'ing, .6 WARP'ing, 34 year old is all the rage these days.
  • Scott Rolen to Cincinnati. Anyone think that 200 games of Rolen and his salary for a mediocre team is worth 2 pitching prospects? I don't care if Rolen is Brooks Robinson with a bat, he's 34 and hurt a lot and the Reds still have a crazy person that's going to bat Taveras leadoff.
  • Suddenly Peavy accepts a trade to Chicago. Enjoy not pitching in an airport hangar, Jake.
  • (FWIW, career .735 OPS against, 3.84 ERA, 1.299 WHIP on the road).
  • Nationals apparently are set for the future.
  • Washburn to Detroit. Hope they enjoy losing their good pitching prospect for a guy who strikes out 5.35 per 9 innings and gives up lots of fly balls.
Now I sit back and wait for the insane praising of some of these trades to happen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm sure plenty of people frequent here.

Former FJM favorite Bruce Jenkins, evidently, does not...

If the A's have any legitimate hitting prospects on the way up from their farm system, it will be a surprise to anyone who has followed the team in recent years. Just as the Giants struggled in this category for far too long, the A's can't develop a consistently hard-hitting position player to save their lives. As the Giants celebrate Pablo Sandoval, prepare for Buster Posey and carry hope for one or two others, they're pulling way ahead in the cross-bay competition.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey guys? Like Jon Heyman and Free Agents?

You'll love this.

Three months into the season, the best and worst free agents emerge

Yes, agreed. Among them has to be some pretty noteable people. Dunn's defense stinks, but he's killing the ball at the dish. Teixeira's been great. Trevor Hoffman's done work. But of course, who can forget Russell Branyan, and the .325 EqA he's producing for $1,400,000 this season, and one of the keys as to why the M's are shocking everyone by still being in the race. Has to be #1 for the value, at least top 3...

Best Free Agents

1. Raul Ibanez, Phillies OF. Before going on the disabled list, he was outperforming by so much that he spawned an Internet debate about whether he might be doing the juice. He has 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .656 slugging percentage, a bargain for $31.5 million and three years, or any price really. Here's my explanation: He's playing in a better ballpark for hitting (no letters please about his current home-road splits -- not playing in Safeco still is a plus), he's with a better team, he works hard and he's good. As for the Internet stories, I think they're unfair without a spec of hard evidence. And no, doing well is not evidence enough.

Oh, okay. Yeah, this makes sense I guess. He's kind of old, though, hurt, and paying him 8 figures when he's 39 and a terrible defender is probably not exactly super great. Whatever, though, he's been good. Bet ya Branyan's next, right?

2. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers closer. He took the chance leaving Southern California (he had an offer to go with the Dodgers) to go for beer and brats, and he hasn't missed a beat. For a bargain $6 million, his 17 saves are only three off the NL lead, and he missed the first three weeks of the season.

3. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets closer. The Mets solved their relief woes by signing one of the very best for $37 million over three years. Worries about him losing his stuff appear wholly unfounded, as he has 20 saves in 22 tries and has allowed just 19 hits in 35 2/3 innings. Plus, he's hit as high as 96 mph on the gun lately. One of only two blown saves came when Luis Castillo dropped a pop fly on the last out.

Oh, okay, going that route with the closers. Sure, both fix a hole, I guess it works. Hoffman was a pretty good deal. K-Rod's fine, but $37,000,000 for a guy who'll pitch like 210 innings over the life of the contract seems like a lot. Seems like a bunch of safe choices so far, but I'm sure you have someone awesome in mind at #4...

Orlando Hudson, Dodgers 2B.


Inexplicably ignored this winter, he's provided excellent two-way play for baseball's best team at a bargain rate $3.38 million (plus incentives). He's batting .307 with five homers and 41 RBIs. Great personality, too. If asked, he'll say he isn't upset about his low deal, at all, that he understands teams were concerned about last year's wrist injury.

All well and awesome. O-Dawg has been good. He's having his best offensive season ever, with a .281 EqA. Pretty good for a 2B making under $3.4 bills. Also does seem like good people.

But he's not the elite defender he used to be. These fine people have Hudson at -4 FRAA. 3.9 WARP-3 projected. Pretty good. But Branyan's making like 40% what Hudson is, and his WARP-3 is 5.3. So he must be next, right?

Mark Teixeira, Yankees 1B.


OK, $180 million for eight years isn't exactly a bargain basement price. But it's all good so far. The best thing isn't that he's second in the American League with 20 home runs after the notoriously slow starter turned in his usual putrid April. Nor is that he's helped the entire Yankees infield, which spent the past several years worrying about Jason Giambi's defensive deficiencies. It has to be that the signing still gets under the skin of the Red Sox higherups -- though Boston has won all its games against the Yankees thus far this year, Red Sox owner John Henry showed he hasn't forgotten, writing on his twitter page, "MT curse.'' That ill-advised tweet may in itself be its own curse.

Okay, sure, Teix is awesome. Rocking a .307 EqA. 21 Homers. WARP-3 of 6.5. But like literally 16x the price per year that the M's are paying Branyan, how about some love?

6. Brad Penny, Red Sox starter. He may not be drawing big attention on the trade market. But he's been a big plus for Boston in the rotation thus far. For $5 million, he's well worth it.

His ERA+ is 99. That's pretty average-ish. Granted he's a starter, and is on pace for 180+ innings, and has been pretty effective recently. But still, this is better than Branyan?

But maybe Heyman will finally mention him now...

7. CC Sabathia, Yankees starter. Some thought the Yankees crazy to pay $161 million over seven years for the heavy lefty. But except for his nervous debut in Baltimore, he's been well worth it. Beyond that, they absolutely had to have him. Without him, their ace is probably Joba Chamberlain, who should be in the bullpen (but that's a debate for another day).

He's going to earn $23,000,000 when he's 35. The Yankees have pretty much hinged their bets on a guy with a DERA about the same as Tim Wakefield. Wakefield earns less than 20% what CC earns.

Now Heyman, you've listed the stars, let's use some actual analysis...

8. Ivan Rodriguez, Astros C.

Oh my Christ.

Before they signed him, the Astros were practically guaranteed to get nothing offensively out of the catching position. He's hitting .254 with six homers and 29 RBIs, but consider the alternative. Rodriguez has hit better than he did with the Yankees last year. Plus, he brought a couple big moments, when he tied and broke the other Pudge's record for games caught.

His EqA is .233 right now. That guy he replaced is currently sporting a .249 in LA in 60 PA's (aren't small sample sizes fun?). But let's go through Heyman's perfectly infallable reasons:

1) He's hitting better than he did with the Yankees.

By this logic, grabbing a rattlesnake by the tail is less dangerous than wrestling a hungry grizzly, therefore, grabbing the rattlesnake is good judgment.

2) Big moments.

Just like it was probably epic when Jesse Orosco broke the record for most games pitched in a career. Wouldn't know about it, though, never watched baseball.

But I'm sure Branyan's coming, right?

9. Brian Fuentes, Angels closer. "He doesn't have closer stuff,'' one NL scout said. Well, who cares? He does have 20 saves to lead the American League. While he isn't K-Rod, he's good enough. Plus, the rest of the Angels' pen has been so awful, without him they'd be done by now.

New criticism of Heyman...WHY ISN'T THIS GUY HIGHER? First off, that NL scout probably needs a head exam, given Fuentes posted a 3.38 ERA and a 1.238 WHIP over 400+ career IP's in Colorado. The same Colorado that normally eats the careers of pitchers for dinner. His ERA+ was a sweet 143. His K rate was 10.3 in Colorado. As of right now, he's 25 for 28, so his save rate's about the same as Heyman's 2008 MVP K-Rod's was. His pay structure is a bit weird, but right now he's giving you almost everything K-Rod gave you for about 1/2 the money. Seems like a sweet sign to me.

Just like Branyan was, who I'm sure is about to appear...

10. Randy Johnson, Giants starter.


Back in his hometown, he's throwing better than he did a year ago. Amazingly effective (7-5, 4.68) at close to 46.

Ironic I'm writing this hours after Sanchez's no no - should've been perfecto. Yeah, it's amazing how he's still rolling at 46. But his ERA+ is 90. And he's earning $8,000,000. Or double what Wakefield's earning for a 112 ERA+. Technically the Red Sox "sign" Wakefield every year, why isn't he on here? Same with Tek, technically a Free Agent signing.

But of course, where's Branyan? Sure he's coming...

11. Adam Everett, Tigers SS. For $1 million guaranteed, he solidified the Tigers' infield. It's true he's not much of a hitter (though his .267 average threatens his career high of .273). But his defense has enabled the Tigers' pitching staff to get off to a great start.

BP has Everett at -8 FRAA / -0.3 WARP-1 (Fangraphs has him at +3.4 UZR / 0.9 WAR. Got to love fielding stats!). Depending on what you look at, this is either a really overrated or underrated deal.

But Branyan's earning just $400,000 more and playing way better. He must be next...

12. Randy Wolf, Dodgers starter. For $5 million, he's a bargain. He's only 3-3 but has 3.64 ERA. Jeff Weaver's an even bigger bargain, and he's 4-2 with a 3.68 ERA.

4 things wrong with this.

1) Wolf's numbers are all better than Johnson's. His ERA now is 3.45, a cool 121 ERA+ He makes $3,000,000 less. He's still just 32. Somehow RJ's deal is better. What?

2) Saying Jeff Weaver's a bigger bargain, aka a better contract/signing, in the same list where he doesn't appear. What the f***?

3) Really want to hang your hat on a 40 2/3 inning sample size to say Weaver's the man?

4) His WARP, usually inflated for a pitcher (though not so much NL ones) is 1.2. He only strikes out 6.67 per 9. Walks 2.6. Gives up 1.2 HR/9. Fangraphs has him outperforming his projected ERA by almost 3/4ths a run. Going forward, that's kind of dicey. Still forgetting Branyan, too...

13. David Eckstein, Padres 2B. Always inspirational, at least the rebuilding Padres have had moments. Hitting .268 and making just $850,000.

14. Adam Dunn, Nationals OF. He can't play the outfield. But he's providing exactly what he's paid ($20 million, two years) to do. Has 18 home runs and 50 RBIs with .258 batting average. Very consistent at bat, year to year.

Oh Christ, it's like he did this one on purpose.

Dunn is a miserable fielder. One can argue that's a bit trivial with a .315 EqA. He has 22 HR now, and a .931 OPS. He's having a great season.

Sure, you can argue I'd rather have Eckstein and his middle infielding, slightly albinoful .251 EqA for $850,000 than Dunn for $10,000,000 / year, but that's not been the rules of these evaluations. Why change it up now?

Okay, I'm sure Branyan is next, what with all the mediocre players no one cares about already listed...

15. Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks 2B. Arizona's awful start isn't his fault. Is hitting .304.

I can't even tell you who he played for in 2008.

Cardinals, I guess.

Okay, sure. Slightly above average offense (.264 EqA) plus slightly above average defense (+1 FRAA) plus slightly above average difficulty in position (2B) makes him at $3,500,000 not too bad. But I must state again:

Lopez: WARP-1 of 1.6, $3,500,000
Branyan: WARP-1 of 2.7, $1,400,000

So, who's next, Branyan? Oh, wait, you're on to the bad, no mention of him...

Worst Free Agents

1. Bradley, Cubs OF. Who else? He doesn't always count outs. Of course, if he did, he'd know he's made plenty of them, way more than his share. An absolute train wreck, he showed his ability to get hurt in spring training, and since then, he's showed all the other myriad issues. No one should give this man a three-year deal. One good thing, if he doesn't reach 75 games, the third year is wiped off the books and the $30-million, three-year contract is only a $20-million, two-year deal (still too much for him, though).

2. Oliver Perez, Mets starter. If Mets fans look at that 9.97 ERA, their reaction would be: he's pitched that well? He's also being hit at a .315 clip. Omar Minaya liked the fact that he's young, lefthanded and talented. He's also a bit of a head case with a knee problem.

Fine. I'd argue Perez is hopeless and Bradley looked like a star after last season so they should be reversed, but yeah, they've been terrible in so many ways in 2009. If Bradley starts hitting again, though, this kind of looks stupid.

#3 was Burrell, he's been blah, too. Now take a guess who #4 is. Keep in mind #4 has an EqA of .382. Now analyze it.

4. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers OF.


That $25-million deal may still pay off big if the Man-child does anything big in the postseason (good chance of that, considering his history). But at the moment, despite the .348 start, it doesn't look too good with him working way back from 50-game suspension. Currently, a 66er.

Yeah, that much bills for Manny is pretty obscene. The 50 game suspension makes him lose appeal. But here's the thing, the Dodgers are still, like, dominating the NL. They are heads and shoulders the best in the league right now. I can assure you no one will call Manny's deal "bad" when he goes .375/.480/.700 in the NLDS and NLCS. It's cool if you don't like him. But his presense isn't exactly killing the Dodgers.

5. Kerry Wood, Indians closer. Poor ERA (5.68) and WHIP (1.62) are par for the course in Cleveland's disastrous start. Thus, both "Manny'' and "Wood'' make the list.

Just posting to ask why this disaster is behind Manny? Anyone know?

#6 is Farnsworth. Skipping #7 for now, you'll see why later.

8. Jason Giambi, A's 1B. He's a lot of fun to have around. And unlike some other ballplayers (ahem), if he ever gets called into a grand jury room, he will tell the truth. Does have 10 home runs and .343 on-base percentage, but that .204 batting average sticks out. A lot to like, just not on a ballfield right now.

Giambi has stunk, sure. Down to .195 right now, too. .258 EqA. Amazing dropoff from 2008. Seems like this list went about 5 guys too long, though; Giambi's getting $5.25 million this year in a one and done try before the A's start calling up their loaded farm system to run at the West. Didn't work. Oh well.

9. Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners OF. It's been a nice reunion. And he's beloved on the team as well as the community. But that .222 batting average isn't great. Is this the swan song?

And I am about to stun every person that reads this (approximately a dozen people, mom included).

The kid is only earning $2,000,000 in 2009. That's it. His slash stats are .215/.338/.402, EqA of .268. Not exactly superstar DH, but he's not exactly embarassing himself out there. He's a big upgrade from Vidro, too.

But more importantly, are the things that aren't showing up in the stats.

Yes, I know. I said it.
People care about the Mariners a little more now. A city that's been absolutely miserable with sports in recent history had a fan base that needed some energy. What better way to do it than bringing Griffey back? For just 2 bills, too. Improve the team a bit while you're at it.
Also, all reports say that Ichiro is, like, way happier now that he has a guy he's actually good friends with on the team. Ichiro, in case you don't watch ESPN ever, is having a wicked good year (.307 EqA, 4 WARP-1, already higher than the whole 2008 campaign). Maybe it's coincidence, since Ichiro's style lends itself to streaks and variance, but maybe there is some causation there.
Griffey's been fine in Seattle. Paid him a small ball to help the team a bit and make the fans smile. He's 2 for 2 in that. He should not be on this list.

So now I will return you to #7

7. Orlando Cabrera, A's SS. He said it himself. "I suck.'' So far, he does. A very good player at what seems like a bargain rate $4 million. Yet, he isn't playing like himself. That .612 OPS is ugly. Maybe he's depressed over what happened to the free agent market.

Jon Heyman...citing...OPS?
Folks, this means one of two things.

1) Heyman's brain actually is capable of processing new knowledge, and understanding its meaning.
2) The end of the world really is coming in 2012.

I will be sure to keep you posted, as this is a very serious, newsworthy event.