Matt Holliday, the overpaid, but good LF.

Holliday finally inked a deal

Maybe I am in the minority here, but I just cannot see a conceivable
situation where I would have signed Holliday to this deal.  Put me as
GM of any team, with any payroll, and assume they have a need in left
field.  I just couldn’t bring myself to commit this kind of money to
Matt Holliday, over this amount of time.

I know that I expressed this already, but Holliday just has to many question marks to be payed like one of the best in the game.

Now, he could play like one of the best, and in hindsight, this
contract may be fine.  But as of now, even if I was the Yankees and
committed to spending this season (And needed a LF), I just wouldn’t
have brought in Holliday.

But maybe that’s just me…

Hall of Fame standards?

I have been looking through the ‘WAR’ leaderboards lately, the
all-time ones.  And I have come to a half-conclusion that between 55-69
career ‘WAR’ is a very debatable player.  Anything 70 or greater seems
like a shoe-in.

For example, Trammell, Raines, Dawson, Edgar, Larkin, Olerud, they
all have more than 55 ‘Wins’ but fewer than 70.  And all can be debated
in my opinion, although eventually all should probably get in, with the
exception of the one that just got inducted (Dawson).

Remember, stats aren’t everything, and ‘WAR’ is only one metric, but it gives a great reference to start.

If one were to say, “Hey, maybe Harold Baines was good enough.”  You know, based on that “feeling” every fan has.

They then can go and check his career ‘WAR’ and see that he
accumulated only 37 “wins.”  You quickly realize that he isn’t even a
borderline candidate.  He becomes a solid player, but far from
Cooperstown material.

Poz erroneous on one account

Joe Posnanski is one of, if not the best writer of baseball.

But voting for Dale Murphy really is kind of contradictory, don’t you think?

This is a guy that doesn’t necessarily rip apart undeserving
candidates, but points out why they shouldn’t be inducted to the Hall.

And Dale Murphy most likely doesn’t deserve.  He posted a 44 ‘WAR,’ which by my standards fall shorts.

If he is going to dismiss Rice’s worthiness, then he can’t really be an advocate for Murphy, can he?

I don’t know, but Murphy just wasn’t good enough, for long enough.

Dan Shaughnessy gets paid to be a writer?

Seriously?  Someone pays this guy money?

They actually allow him to cast a Hall of Fame vote?  Baseball players lives are actually affected by this guy?

Look, you don’t have to have played baseball at the highest level to understand baseball.  But that doesn’t mean anyone should be allowed to act like they know something about the game.

Anyway, if you haven’t read already, here is Danny boy’s article regarding his Hall of Fame ballot.

Excerpts below are in italics:

“Morris won 254 games in 18 seasons and pitched one of the
greatest World Series games of all time, a 10-inning, 1-0 Game 7
victory over the Braves in 1991. There’s already support for Boston
blowhard Curt Schilling, who won’t be on the ballot for another three years, but Morris has to get in before Schilling gets in. Morris was better.”

Let me start with the fact that he says that Jack Morris was a
better pitcher than Curt Schilling.  That made the least sense to me. 
I don’t know if he and Schilling didn’t see eye to eye during
Schilling’s tenure in Boston, or what.  But Schilling is and was
clearly a better pitcher than Morris.

Maybe it is the 3o extra “wins” (WAR based) that Schilling added. 
Or possibly the ERA+ of 127 to Morris’ 105.  Or the fact that with all
of Morris’ supposed postseason success, Schilling was clearly, CLEARLY
much better come playoff time.

Schilling was better than Morris.  And I want that to sound as
factual as Shaughnessy made it sound, but the other way around of
course.

“For me, it’s the same with Hall of Famers. Some guys just strike
you as Cooperstown-worthy and others do not. Edgar Martinez was a very
fine hitter, but I never said to myself, “The Mariners are coming to
Fenway this weekend. I wonder how the Sox are going to pitch to Edgar
Martinez?”

It was different with players like Eddie Murray and Jim Rice. They were feared.”

Now, as far as Edgar Martinez is concerned, I don’t mind if Dan
doesn’t want to vote for someone who spent almost all his time on the
bench while the rest of his teammates were out preventing runs.

But I do mind him using that feared argument.

I remember my Dad once saying that he (Edgar) was a great hitter. 
And me — being a huge Griffey fan– replied, “Not as good as
Griffey.”  My Dad then said, “Griffey is the better player, but
Martinez might be the better hitter.”

So someone obviously feared the ability of Edgar Martinez.  And it couldn’t only have been my Dad that felt this way, right?

Could it be, Dan, that maybe the Boston media had something to do
with Jim Rice being labeled as “feared” while no one outside of the
game seemed to “fear” Edgar quite as much?

Edgar was not only a better hitter than Rice, he was much better.  And having never set foot on defense, seemingly, Edgar is still a better player than Rice.

I hate to bring in the intentional walk as a measure, because there
are so many variables as to why a player may have been walked.  But
Edgar was walked intentionally 43 more times during his career, and an
average of 3 more times a season (projected over 162 games).

Shaughnessy’s argument really lacks anything substantial, he seems to be just writing things that only he believes.

And this isn’t to say that Rice wasn’t “feared” to an extent.  Maybe
for that four or five year period, he was.  But this is all way
overblown media nonsense coming out of Boston.

“The stat geeks, those get-a-lifers who are sucking all the joy
out of our national pastime, no doubt will be able to demonstrate that
Edgar was better than Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. I’m not buying. Stats don’t tell the whole story. A man can drown in three feet of water.”

Dan uses what we would call “hyperbole” here.  Obviously, no one –stat-geek or not — thinks that Edgar was better than Gehrig or Hornsby.  And I don’t think Dan believes that any of us “stat geeks” actually hold that as our own.

But he does take a shot at people that rely, and believe in the numbers.

Now one thing I agree on, is that the numbers can get a little
boring at times.  People used to watch the games, and that is how they
found out who the best players were.  Now, one only has to look at the
‘WAR’ leader-board to get a good understanding of who the are the best
players.

With that being said, the numbers mean a lot, A LOT.  And while they
may not mean as much as some think, they probably mean much more than
others believe.

And, my friends, Dan just doesn’t value stats quite as much as he should.

But I am going to go “get a life” now…

2010 Cooperstown candidates (The ones that are seriously worth considering).

Andre Dawson: Dawson was ferocious for a four-year period,
posting a ‘WAR’ of 6 or more in each year.  And if you want to read a
really good article, check out Kurkjian’s take over at ESPN.  His enthusiasm — and the word “breathtaking” in reference to watching the Hawk — are why the column attracts.

But do I agree with Kurkjians ultimate destination?  That Dawson is a Hall of Famer?

No.  Because as you all know, I value ‘WAR,’ alot.  Maybe more than I should…

But he had four great years, and I feel that great players often
exceed that.  Which would mean that I don’t feel that Dawson was quite
as good as he needed to be, to be in the Hall at least.

Had he had been able to man center field his entire career, then his
case would have heightened.  But his knees wore, and the turf in
Montreal was blamed.

Injuries happen.  But people have been hurt before, and not made it
to the Hall because of it.  It sucks, but that is the way it is.

And Dawson reached base less than the average hitter.  Less. 
Meaning that he made more outs than Coco Crisp probably would have.

Many suggest that Dawson was the center of a team, and needed to
drive in runs.  In fact, Tony Gwynn suggested that very thing.  So
maybe if someone told him to be more patient, make fewer outs, than he
might have responded.  After all, the game was different.

But an out is bad.  There are two outcomes that are possible when a
batter steps in, he either makes an out, or he doesn’t.  And Dawson did
the latter too often for my taste.

Keith Law always says something like this, “Are you telling me that they didn’t know that making outs was bad back then.”

And he says it kind of sarcastically.  I actually dislike it.

Because, Keith, they didn’t emphasize it the same way back then.  It
wasn’t recognized like it is now.  They sacrificed a few more outs, at
times, in order for the opportunity to drive in a few more runs.

But either way, we look at OBP as the most important statistic when
referencing run scoring.  And whether or not Dawson knew or not, it
hindered that ability.

So Dawson is a no in my mind.

Barry Larkin: The stat guys love Larkin.  His talent was
apparently through the roof.  I wouldn’t know, for I cannot even recall
if I kept his baseball cards in a binder — rather than in several
shoe-boxes that were stacked upon each other.

But Larkin was roughly the same, offensively, that Dawson was (maybe
more valuable because he had a much higher OBP, however less power). 
And he was a good defensive shortstop as well.  The problem was that he
too, wasn’t a model of health.

He basically had three seasons of 6 or greater ‘WAR’ (one being 5.9
out of those three).  Albert Pujols has nine seasons of roughly six or
more (and several way more).  So while we shouldn’t compare all Hall of
Fame candidates to Pujols, we should show a measure of greatness.  And
Pujols is great, historically so.

Larkin did rack up 63 total wins though, which is more than Dawson
did.  But it wasn’t as if he was a dominant player for any period of
time.  His seasons fluctuated; good, great, good, good, good, hurt,
great, great, hurt, good, good, good.  Or something like that anyway.

But even now is he really as sure a thing as some of these “experts” believe?

I will say no for now, but only because he is someone that I
need more time to look at.  If of course, I was getting paid for this,
then I would have invested plenty of time and come up with a conclusion.

Ultimately I feel that I would help send Larkin in, but I am still undecided.

Bert Blyleven: Sure doesn’t feel like a Hall of Famer.  Zero cy youngs.  But his ERA+ sits at 118, and he pitched a ton of innings.  A ton.

Now maybe he wasn’t as dominating as Pedro, or Bob Gibson.  But he sure did pitch significantly well over many years.

Blyleven deserves it.

Mark McGwire: Let us ignore PED’s for a second.  McGwire is a Hall of Famer.  Then take into account that he might have used PED’s.

The picture starts to fade…

But I am not sure he used, nor do I know the effects.  I vote him in.  But I don’t blame others for leaving him out

But he is one of the greatest home run hitters of all time *

Tim Raines: The thing that bugs me about Raines is that he
was a corner outfielder with an OPS+ of 123, and some in the stat
community believe he is a shoe-in.

Now, the guy was a better player than Jim Rice.  But he wasn’t too
far off from a player like Dwight Evans.  And Evans simply isn’t a Hall
of Famer.

I guess it all depends on one’s definition of dominant.  Was Raines
dominant?  I know it isn’t easy to “dominate” in baseball like it is in
say, basketball.  But, in comparison, was Raines seriously great?

He’s a borderline candidate for me, but maybe that is because my standards are a little too high.

Undecided still, which makes me say no.

Roberto Alomar: In, no doubt in my mind.  One of the
greatest middle infielders ever, who reached base well above the
league-average, and flashed more power than most second baseman.

He isn’t Joe Morgan, but then again, who is?

Dave Parker: No, not even close.

Parker had a three year period where he was very dominant.  But that is where his dominance stayed, within three years.

An OPS+ of 121 for a right fielder, need to do better than that. 
And his OBP was only .339.  He wasn’t any better than Jim Rice, and we
all know how I feel about Rice’s induction

Alan Trammell: Give me a shortstop with four seasons of WAR
greater than six any day of the week.  But was he a Hall of Famer? 
Sure is close.  He like Larkin are debatable for me.

But I will say yes on Trammell.

Edgar:  Yep.

Even if he was a DH, his bat produced more runs than Dawson’s entire repertoire.

Fred McGriff:  No, a 50 ‘WAR’ for a position player is simply
not enough.  He had a few really great years, but he played way too
long for only 50 wins.

Don Mattingly: For four years, he was as good as it gets. 
But Mattingly didn’t tally enough of the couting stats, particularly
wins, to get my imaginary vote.  He sure was great for that four-year
stretch, and is my bro’s all-time favorite player.

No for Donnie Baseball.

Lee Smith:  No way.  If you are a reliever, and your case is debatable, then you probably won’t get my vote.

Although, he was a very good arm out of the pen.

Jack Morris: I don’t even know why I am addressing this to be
honest.  The guy isn’t close to being in Cooperstown.  His legacy was
made off of one playoff start.  I have seen several pitchers make great
starts in the postseason that simply do not deserve to be in
Cooperstown.  M0rris is no different.

So no.

Harold Baines: Baines’ baseball cards definitely never saw
“plastic” in my collection.  But that doesn’t necessarily leave him out
of the Hall.  However, his ‘WAR’ does.

Baines was never even worth four wins.  I think of six as a nice
standard for truly great seasons, and Baines fell more than two wins
short of this every year of his career.

He has less of a case than Jack Morris.

No.

Dale Murphy: Sorry, Peter, Murphy too is a no for me 🙂

Red Sox find gem in the bargain bin.

To be honest, I am stunned that a player like Adrian Beltre was even
in the bargain bin to begin with.  He seemed to be destined for a three
year, $30 million dollar deal.  And I was okay with that.  Okay. 

Four years would have been too many, and any less, in terms of years, would have been a good deal for the Red Sox.

Well, they got that good deal.  One year, $9 million, with a player option of $5 million for 2011. 

Talk about a steal. 

Look,
Beltre is far from a great player.  But he is an instant upgrade over
the declining Lowell, and his swing is built for the “Monster.” 

Lowell
may have bounced back, and he MIGHT have found a little more of his
range.  But he is older, and that is not something one should expect. 

The
Red Sox fixed that problem, they signed someone who is regarded as one
of the best defenders at the Hot Corner, and who is a decent offensive
player as well. 

Great deal for the Red Sox. 

The next Mariano Rivera?

Tim Wakefield–assuming he begins the year in the bullpen–might
actually be better, rate wise, coming into games after they begin (I
know relievers typically fair better rate wise, but Wakefield cannot
dial it up like many others).

The next Rivera?  Of course not.

But I got your attention, didn’t I?

Wake has a career ERA of 4.39 starting ball games.  But that statistic takes a pitcher friendly fall to 3.75 as a reliever.

Granted, 271 innings in relief is not nearly the sample that 2,660
innings is.  And the latter number is of course the amount of innings
Wakefield has logged as a starter.

But something might be up.

Imagine this.  Opposing team X gets ready for Josh Beckett.  Beckett
of course features two breaking balls, both good when he is on.  A
four-seamer, full of velocity.  And a two-seamer gleaming with life.

The team reads the scouting reports, think about their approach
against the “Ace” righty, and of course try their best to apply it.

But after 6 innings, the Red Sox lead 6-1, and Beckett is at 108
pitches–not as efficient as he would have liked to have been, but
obviously the result is still very good.

So out of the bullpen trots none other than Tim Wakefield.

Hitters have to experience–even to a minor degree–some transition time, benefiting the Red Sox pitcher.

Sure, they are professionals.  They know how to stay back on a pitch, they know how to adjust.

But I would have to think that, had they not been given the time to
prepare (If Wake had been starting), then they may have a slight
decrease in productivity off the knuckleballer.

Wakefield, as a reliever, has more strikeouts, fewer walks, and a
lower WHIP.  And sorry, there is no FIP available in his splits for all
of you Sabermetricians.

And with five legitimate starters manning the Sox rotation as the
season begins, Wake may be better, on a rate basis, out of the bullpen.

Seriously.

In high leverage situations, maybe Francona will shy away from Wakefield because of, well, Aaron Boone.

One knuckler doesn’t knuckle, and a season ends…

But not only are this guy’s numbers better, he is also indefatigable, seemingly.

So he can come in and pitch five innings in a lopsided loss to suck
up innings and keep the pen fresh.  Or he can finish off a game where
the offense “differentiated” themselves from their opponent rather
easily.

And what is even greater about Timmy boy?

He can spot start whenever needed.

Though he is 43, and has had some health problems.  There is little reason to think that he won’t be able to log 100+ innings.

Maybe the sample size is too small.  Maybe hitters experience no ill
effect seeing Wakefield out of the bullpen, rather than as a starter.

But maybe, just maybe, it does matter.

And regardless, Wakefield should be able to soak up many meaningless
innings, in turn allowing others to pitch meaningful ones later on.

I think a minnow dove in the ocean.

Cubs make a “splash”

Byrd is a nice little player to have.  An okay player who apparently
can man center field.  And manning center field is kind of important
when a team, well, needs a center fielder.

Is Byrd going to bull anyone over with his talents?

No.  But he has some value.  I don’t necessarily like the 3 year
deal aspect of it, for he is a player that has been significantly
better at home than on the road.

Weaker league, and a hitter friendly park should still allow him to
look half-decent at the plate.  But Byrd is simply the definition of a
complementary piece of the puzzle..

A’s ink Justin Duchscherer

To be honest, I was thinking a lot about these kinds of deals being
made by the Pirates this season.  Maybe it is just me, but doesn’t
something need to be done in Pittsburgh?

I mean, they must have some money to spend over there, as they
traded away anyone that was making anything that mattered (Jason Bay,
etc).

But couldn’t they get the fans excited and sign a bunch of non-type A free agents to one and two year deals?

The short term would be much more exciting, and since they wouldn’t
lose a first round pick, then they wouldn’t compromise the future, not
too any significant degree.

Seriously…

What about Escobar, Duchscherer, Nick Johnson, maybe Erik Bedard, maybe an Andruw Jones.

Sure, the plan is destined to fail, but the people will care a
little more.  And who knows, maybe with a little luck they could finish
5 or 6 games out with some of the right moves.

Of course, the players would have to want to play in a dreadful situation.

But I hear the city is pretty nice…

The price too steep for Adrian Beltre?

Worth $15 million?

According to Fangraphs,
Adrian Beltre is worth between $10-$15 million to the Red Sox.  $15
mill is too high for me personally.  But three years, $30-$33 million
seems about right for a player that will be 34 when that hypothetical
contract retires.

It is not that I dislike Beltre, he has value.  He is a pull hitter
that would benefit greatly with a move from Safeco to Fenway.  And his
defense is very good, at worst.  So if the Red Sox did agree to sign a
deal–bringing in the defensive wiz–it would give them a lineup
looking something like this (The way I would do it anyway):

Ellsbury

Pedroia

V-Mart

Youkilis

Drew

Beltre

Ortiz

Cameron

Scutaro

Ellsbury would of course leadoff, even though I would much rather
have Pedroia doing that job.  But Pedroia does not feel comfortable
being the first to bat, so what are you gonna do?

Ortiz needs to earn his spot in the lineup back.  Believe me, I hope
he hits 50 home runs and gets on base as much as anyone in the game.

But he won’t.

So until then, I think he must show signs of what he used to be before Francona wastes at bats on him.

This lineup is not great.  There are flaws, definitely.  But with
the Green Monster lingering for all to play pepper with, the team could
potentially, and very realistically, have nine hitters that equal or
exceed the league average in OBP.  And since all of them would be
contributing nicely in that area, the team would once again finish in
the top few teams in the statistic overall.

Sure, Miguel Cabrera would be great.  A guy that can hit any pitch
coming at him, and can get freaky hot come playoff time–possibly
anyway.

But as Rob Neyer always says, “A run saved is as good as a run scored.”  Or something like that.

And preventing runs would be a serious strength, allowing the offense to need fewer runs.

Simple as that.  🙂

How to fix the Royals.

The Royals might be baseball’s worst run franchise.  Money may be an
excuse, but signing the likes of Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth is
not going to help at all.  In fact, bad management is much more
hindering to a club than lack of money.  “Lack of money” means it is
more likely that the club experiences downs along with the ups–more
difficult to sustain ones winning ways.  But bad management will not
only put an organization down, it will also keep it down.

The Royals are exactly what a poor run organization is.

So here are a few ways to fix them, most are obvious, maybe a few that aren’t…

  • Goodbye, Guillen: Simple enough.  Player x sucks, release
    him or trade him and absorb his salary.  Roster spots are valuable. 
    The signing was ludicrous the day the deal was inked.  And it is even
    more ludicrous now seeing that Jose Guillen has been quite putrid for a
    corner outfielder.  Among right fielders that qualify the past three
    seasons, Guillen has the absolute worst ‘WAR’ (keep in mind he has
    played 49 games in left too).  And has been worth exactly $1 million
    dollars over that time, according to Fangraphs anyway–which should be
    taken with a grain of salt (if that is the right cliche phrase to be
    used).  But seriously, this guy is a horrible baseball player.  Rid of
    him, let someone younger play, and chalk it up as a sunk cost.  Because
    whether or not he plays in 2010, it will be “lost” money.  Bad teammate
    + bad player + listed on the Mitchell Report = not worth $12 million. 
    At least according to my calculations.
  • Trade Gil Meche: The difference between Meche and Guillen is
    not salary.  They make the same amount.  The difference is that one
    player sucks, and the other is actually of quality.  Meche has been a
    blessing for the Mariners.  Not just because he has pitched fairly
    well–after all he should for $12 million.  But because he has given
    the fans one of only a few good players to care about.  But
    Meche–unlike “albatross”–has trade value–maybe the Royals get a
    little in return as well…  Meche has been worth every penny since
    signing.  And the Royals could probably swing him to a contender come
    the trade deadline and pick up a decent piece PLUS, they may not have
    to pick up any of his salary.  The Yankees may happily pick up Meche if
    their “back-end of the rotation” flails out mid-season ( I know they
    say they are intent on cutting back, but if needed, will they decline
    based on money?–s0mething in which they have tons of).  And of course,
    a few other teams may pick up the tab for Meche as well…
  • Do something, anything with Yuni: This trade was ridiculed,
    and rightfully so.  Not only did they go and get the worst shortstop in
    baseball, they agreed to pay him for two more seasons.  The Mariners
    are picking up 33 percent of the tab in 2010, and 25 percent in 2011. 
    So the Royals are only paying him $2 million and $3 million in the
    years he is under contract.  Then, they must buy him out for $2 mill in
    2012.  So, okay, Yuni won’t prevent them from doing anything really. 
    And releasing him wouldn’t hurt their pockets too much if they chose to
    find another outside alternative.  They could simply keep him, but if I
    were running the team, I would probably outright release him.  But I
    guess they need someone to play each position, as there are only so
    many players they can be paying at one time.
  • Keep Jason Kendall as the backup: Kendall is believed to have the ability to mentor and help players, younger players, develop.  I wouldn’t have signed him–probably not
    anyway.  But now that they have him, then let him do his thing.  As
    long as he is the backup, maybe he can help tutor the less experienced
    ballplayers.  The Royals might believe in this sort of thing, and I
    cannot say that it doesn’t exist.  I don’t like paying money for
    intangibles, but a small amount of money seems like it won’t hurt too
    much.
  • And to the controversial: Explore a trade of Joakim Soria. 
    Soria is a live arm, a very talented closer.  But the Royals have
    placed him in a position where they seemingly only want him to close. 
    I would have given starting another shot seeing how they aren’t going
    to win anyway.  But that was their choice.  Now they have a known
    commodity–a very good closer.  But solid starter would make more
    sense, to me anyway, and would have more value.  They could explore a
    trade now, or wait until near the deadline.  but Soria has value, and
    some team desperate for someone to shut down the ninth inning may take
    a chance on him.  Especially if they are in contention, in a big
    market, and saves are being blown near the deadline.  We all know how
    overblown the combination of those three things can be.  If the Royals
    can pick up an everyday player or two, for the future, then they should
    try and make it happen–assuming they feel the “return” is worth
    surrendering one of baseball’s top closers.  And I know I suggested
    that Papelbon be traded too, but I am just not a fan of relief pitchers
    I guess 🙂 (On that note, I am less of an advocate on trading Pap now,
    as the Red Sox don’t have quite as many options in the pen.  But still
    not opposed).
  • Find a new GM: Or find a new philosophy.  One thing
    stat-guys do well is point out idiocy.  And since they do it
    collectively, their point is emphasized exponentially.  And acquiring
    Yuni–and inking Jose Guillen–well, those were both idiotic moves. 
    Something needs to change, and fast, otherwise the Royals only hopes of
    winning anything lies in the hands of whether or not the division can
    be won with a total of 81 victories.

A colossal mistake?

Matt Holliday might be a great player.  But he might also be just an
“above-average” player.  And when you pay someone 100 million + you
better be damn sure that he is, in fact, a great player.

And apparently that is what the Cardinals may have on the table.

It isn’t that I dislike Holliday, it’s just that his home/road
splits have always left me, among others, very leery of his actual
talent.  And what am I supposed to do?  Ignore those ridiculous splits?

And let’s be real, this isn’t the Yankees.  This is a Cardinals team
that spent $88 million on talent last season.  And what have we learned
from the Toronto Blue Jays?  It is that middle of the road teams, in
terms of payroll, need to be much more restrained, financially, when
this sort of thing arises.  More “restrained” than large market teams,
obviously.

A team like the Cardinals can sign someone for about $20 or so
million dollars.  But that “someone” is all but guaranteed to be their
stud first baseman, the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols.  How
they could afford to be paying both in 2012, the salaries they will
demand, while insuring that the rest of the team is good enough to win, is simply beyond me.

Now maybe this is a different direction.  Maybe the Cardinals are
all of a sudden willing to go north of $100 million.  If that is the
case, then I would be willing to secede my current take on the whole
situation.

But I have serious doubts about the club wanting to go in that direction.

Which leads me to…Joe Mauer.

I have heard several say that it would be crazy not to lock up Joe
Mauer long term.  He’s the hometown kid, best catcher in baseball, only
26, three batting titles, etc.

But crazy?  You telling me that it would be CRAZY for a small market team not to invest roughly $20 million into a single player?

Because I must say that I fully disagree.  Sure, they could lock him
up.  But they could invest that $20 million into the draft, and in
several other free agents.

Of course, that is the way small market teams function.  They don’t
function when all of their money is tied up into a player, or two. 
They work well when the money is spread around to several players that
overachieve what their salaries indicate.

So back to the topic at hand.  Matt Holliday for a potential $100
mill, or more?  Take a pass, St. Louis.  Be sure that they are great
before you pay them like they are great.

A statistical annoyance.

I am a stat guy.  I believe in the numbers, and I value
objectivity.  I really do.  And I have seen what the subjective does in
the valuation of players from a fans standpoint.  That doesn’t mean
numbers are everything.  But I would prefer someone say so and so is
good because he gets on base a ton and plays defense, rather than
because he had a key hit in a “high leverage” situation, a situation
where each and every player will come through multiple times throughout
their career, to varying degrees.

But sometimes this “objective” look at players sometimes feels to be an all out agreement amongst the statistical minds.

Take for example the current crop of potential Hall of Famers on the
ballot this season.  It seems that every well known stat guy thinks the
following players are worthy:

Bert Blyleven

Tim Raines

Barry Larkin

Alan Trammell

Edgar Martinez

Roberto Alomar

And you know what?  I don’t think that any of them should end up out of Cooperstown.  Not with any authoritative opinion anyway.

Each and every one has a very strong case, and each and every one might deserve enshrinement.

But does any of that make it less annoying when all of these
sabermetricians pencil in the same hypothetical ballot?  Not really,
not to me.

The numbers game has become meaningful, and incredibly accurate. 
But also somewhat annoying.  If they all think the same way, doesn’t
the entertainment in their writing become less, well, entertaining?

Maybe I am the same way…I would probably vote for all of the players listed above, and would vote for McGwire too.

But if I did that, then I would understand if you became bored with me too.

🙂