Friday, January 21, 2005

Pinstriped Poop

Today on his pinstriped blog, Steve Goldman asserts in response to a reader question, that the Red Sox trade of Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs had nothing to do with 'moneyball principals' and was consummated because Nomar was a problem in the clubhouse. He goes on to give examples of people in the workplace being disruptive and therefore bringing down productivity.

While I often agree with Goldman and think that he backs up his ideas well, on this point I disagree. I don't disagree that Nomar was a problem in the clubhouse. He may well have been, but a problem in the clubhouse who hits .333 with 30 homers will stay a problem in the clubhouse, i.e. not be traded. Nomar was traded because his defense was not up to snuff anymore due mostly to his injury. The fact that he was a negative in the clubhouse might have played a small role, as did the fact that the Sox would lose him to free agency at the end of the year.

As far as the whole moneyball thing, people often misread moneyball as a treatise on on-base percentage and patience at the plate. Moneyball is bigger than that. Its about value, and more specifically reading the market to determine what is undervalued at any one time, in order that someone (or some team) with limited resources can in effect buy low and have success.

How does this relate to the Nomar trade? Theo realized that he had to upgrade the Red Sox defense, and in this case, he was able to get two undervalued players that played key roles for the Sox down the stretch last season, for one over-valued player who would not have. Thats as 'moneyball' as it gets.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Minaya's Back Page Mets

Has anyone noticed how the Mets seem to be interested only in big name players? After singing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, news comes that they're after Carlos Delgado. Delgado is a good player, but he's 33 and is looking to make about $14-15Mill a year for at least three years.  Thats waaaaay overboard for him considering his health problems in the past and potential productivity a couple years down the road.  By the time the Mets are really looking to seriously contend he'll be too old and his contract will be too much of an albatross to help the team. 
I get the idea that Fred Wilpon said to Omar, "OK, you can spend whatever you want this offseason, but I want to upstage the Yankees. And if we don't win this year then all bets are off"?  I think Wilpon really does expect immediate results, though logic says he probably won't get what he's looking for.  The real questions for the Mets are, 1) what will they do this trading deadline when they find themselves fifteen and a half games behind Atlanta, and 2) will they spend money next offseason as well in order to compliment the players they just bought, or will Wilpon stitch the wallet closed and say "it didn't work last year so forget it this year." 

That said, I can't fault the Beltran deal too much.  They overpaid for what they'll get, but he's a quality player and they probably won't be too sorry about that deal down the line, considering Beltran's age.  Pedro is another story.  I'd love to read what the NY papers are saying about pedro in three years going into the last year of his deal.  Fire up the ol' flex capacitor, because this is gonna be hilarious. 
I've heard about the Met's TV deal which, the theory goes, has caused/allowed them to spend like crazy, but the thing that gets me is the Mets changing GMs this off season. Spending a ton of money isn't difficult for anyone who can sign their own name.  Figuring out that you want Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez on your team also isn't difficult. The team captains on any playground could figure that out.  Fixing the bullpen, which is a hole, is much more difficult and takes a bit more skill. 

It doesn't take a genius to out-bid the other guy for a name player, but unless you are the Yankees you can't have a name player at every position, which is where some subtly and intelligent analysis comes into the picture.  Minaya hasn't shown that he can handle that.  Contrary to popular belief he didn't do it in Montreal, and he hasn't done it in NY.  I'm not saying he was delt a fair hand in Montreal, because he clearly was not, but that team got worse and worse each year he was there, and there wasn't much he did to stop it.  That team is basically a shell now, with no marketable talent, no up and coming rookies, and very little in the farm system to pin future hopes on.  They're going to suck this year, and a large part of that has to be laid at Minaya's feet. I think this is an indictment of Minaya as a GM, which doesn't bode well for his tenure as Mets GM.

So, what am I saying? I guess what I'm saying is that the Mets are the darlings of the back pages in NYC right now, which is what Wilpon and Minaya clearly wanted, but I'm guessing somewhere around mid July things won't be as rosey as they seem now in Queens. I'm curious to see how Minaya and Wilpon react to that adversity. If the past is any indicator, I wouldn't be too optimistic.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Trips & Marky Mark

Wow, off season really can make you sick! I've had the flu for the past week, and let me tell you, it ain't no fun. But now I'm back! And only about half sick!

Let me throw something out there: I'm planning to go on a multi-park binge this summer, and I was wondering if anyone out there in cyberland has ever done something like that before and has any suggestions. I have a tenative schedule worked up which I might share here later on once it becomes a bit more finalized.

Anyway, anyone, anything?

BELLHORN: back in the fold

Theo has resigned two contributors to last season's World Championship run (did I mention that the Red Sox won the World Series last year? Its true, they beat the Yankees and everything). As a huge Mark Bellhorn fan, I have to say that I'm happy that the inevitable has indeed finally happened, and I don't mean that my cat has shoved her claws into my leg, though she has. Also, I think, with no statistical analysis to support this what so ever, that Arroyo is poised to have a great season for Our Sox.

Well, off to dinner. More later. I'm hoping to work up a lineup comparison between Our Sox and the Evil Empire's nine this weekend. Look for that. Thanks for reading. I apreciate it.