Short post...hoping to get more work tonight and then I can post some new articles. I'm partnering with others on a new direction for a site that bvtn will be a part of. I'm working on another general manager at the moment and this new direction will be taken quickly so watch for that. I've had some requests to examine different GMs andwill do so.
Aside from that not much in news...
The Jays have signed a minor league free agent with a good arm. LINK
ESPN has their HOT STOVE REPORT
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Short post...hoping to get more work tonight and then I can post some new articles. I'm partnering with others on a new direction for a site that bvtn will be a part of. I'm working on another general manager at the moment and this new direction will be taken quickly so watch for that. I've had some requests to examine different GMs andwill do so.
Monday, October 30, 2006
The second part of the Ricciardi Project is being posted as we speak, analyzing his free agent decisions during his tenure as GM. The first couple years aren't so interesting since there was no money to spend but we get into some interesting decisions with Batista, Koskie and what not. Read on and find out who I compared to pam anderson. There's more to come as I'll look at releases, players unsigned, the draft, waiver claims and Rule 5. I'm just working on a side project on Billy Beane that was requested.
Ricciardi Project - Free Agents
Also, there's an article in the star that brings excitment to any Jays fan as Ricciardi states there is $12.5 million to spend!!! Click on Article to read on!
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:37 AM
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Hello ladies and gents
Well I've posted the Ricciardi Project on the right side in it's entirity. Just an overview statistics wise to tell the whole story.
In making trades, the Blue Jays staff since Ricciardi became GM lost 150 Runs in VORP. However, they traded away over $62 million in FIRST YEAR salaries while receiving only a bit over $25 million in FIRST YEAR salries. By First Year, I mean in the first season for that player following the trade or the season he was traded in. So these savings increase when you think of the bigger deals that were traded away such as Mondesi, Koskie, AGon and so on. Unfortunately in these numbers I did not include the subsidies given by the Jays or teams trading with them to pay these contracts.
Of the 23 deals, here's how I rank them:
Baseball Deals: 7
Salary Dumps: 9
Role Player Acqusition: 3
Key Player Acquistion: 2
Role Player Dump: 2
Of the 7 baseball deals, Ricciardi added almost $3.5 in salaries and lost 23 VORP runs.
So in essense, Ricciardi & co. did not help the team when looking at the totality of trades, however the effect it had on payroll is immense when thinking about the payroll having to be cut as well as the players that have been brought in to big free agent contracts. Speaking of which, the free agent part of the project will be up shortly...probably Monday night.
The off-season has begun and I will be all over it, anything that comes across will be posted here. Stay tuned!
BTW...Which player did I compare to Pamela Anderson? Any thoughts? Anyone?
P.S. The Jays tentative schedule for next season is up
Posted by Dan Julien at 5:19 PM
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Also known as the off-season that made Ricciardi earn every penny of his pay. This is the final part of the project, this hasn't been as much of an evaluation as a walk-through for you to make your own judgement. I hope everyone has enjoyed it, soon there will be a posting discussing JP's free agent signings.
The 2005-2006 off-season saw Blue Jays management add on to payroll in attempt to be more competitive in the tough American League East. The trades made were completed in an attempt to upgrade at specific positions and create roster spots for incoming free agents Bengie Molina, BJ Ryan and AJ Burnett. It is much too early to fully judge these trades, however it's never too early to pass over these deals with a critical eye.
19th trade: to Oakland: Chad Gaudin, Received Dustin Majewski
Gaudin, acquired for Kevin Cash a year previously, had not impressed the Blue Jays brass enough to keep a spot on the 25 man roster. Needing roster spots, Ricciardi returned past favors to his former boss and traded Gaudin to Oakland for Dustin Majewski. Gaudin impressed coming out of the bullpen, establishing a VORP of 19.6 and Win Shares of 9 in 55 appearances. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for a pitcher that was rushed to the Majors much too early by Devil Ray management. Majewski, a former third round pick of the A's, split his time between A and AA last season, but wasn't able to hit in AA. He's a corner outfield prospect that should be watched but he may never be much more than a reserve outfielder.
20th trade: to Milwaukee: David Bush, Gabe Gross, Zach Jackson, Received Lyle Overbay and Ty Taubenheim
This trade was made to solidify the first base position for the Blue Jays for many years to come by acquiring the 29 year old Overbay. The Jays gave up three talented young players in this deal, and in the first season following this deal, they are outperforming the returns. David Bush had a good season in the National League, establishing a VORP of 30.1 and Gabe Gross proved to be a solid player with a VORP of 16, Win Shares of 11 and hitting 9 home runs in just over 200 at bats. Zach Jackson got a couple cup of coffees in the Majors but should develop into an effective left-handed pitcher. Overbay was the second best hitter, according to VORP, on the Blue Jays as his line of .312/.372/.508 gave him a value of 36.0. He proved to be a consistent hitter and a great defensive player at first base. Taubenheim started seven games and was just above replacement level for these seven games. It's difficult to judge this trade after only one season, however it does seem that although the players the Brewers received had a higher combined VORP than the players received by the Jays, the old adage of whoever received the best player may be in use here. Overbay as of yet has been the better player and who knows if the Jays could have even kept Gross on the 25 man roster instead of losing him on waivers. The only real question is whether the Jays would have been better with Bush after the injuries to Chacin and Burnett and Towers' blow up.
21st trade: to Arizona: Miguel Batista, Orlando Hudson, Received Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos
This may be one of the most pure baseball trades made by Ricciardi as it was a two for two deal where it can be argued that the Jays received the better player while giving up two established major leaguers. The fact that Hudson's VORP was better than Glaus' during 2006 is hopefully a deviation from the norm, however as previously discussed on this page, Hudson's defensive statistics actually decreased during his first season as a Diamondback, to the point where he was actually costing his team defensively. The impact of a Troy Glaus on a line-up can be simply measured by his statistics however, as the players around him will receive better pitches because of his presence. The season had by Vernon Wells could very much be partly attributed to the impact of having Glaus hit behind him in the line-up. Let's look at the stats for the three main players in this deal to further evaluate:
Name VORP WS Salary Age
Orlando Hudson 31.5 19 $2,300,000 28
Miguel Batista 24.6 9 $4,750,000 35
Troy Glaus 29.0 16 $9,000,000 29
So the two players were able to be better produces than Glaus when combined and at a lower cost. The impact of Glaus on the lineup can be only measured when looking at the career season that Vernon Wells had in front of him. Considering Glaus had 20 some more home runs than Hudson and 40 some more RBIs, his lineup impact is quite heavy. Unfortunately he also grounded out into 25 double plays which is an extraordinarly high number. Hudson usually has a big defensive impact but as discussed previously he actully cost his team runs according to certain statistics. All in all, I think it's just a good baseball deal on both sides although with the struggles of Russ Adams, Hudson was missed at 2b.
22nd trade: to Milwaukee : Corey Koskie, Received Brian Wolfe
Pure salary dump by Ricciardi and co. Koskie no longer had room on the team after the acquisitions of Glaus and Overbay and his contract would have been burdensome. Koskie established a low VORP of 9.8 while playing in only 76 games. The Jays covered $7 million of Koskie's remaining contract to get him out of town, allowing the Brewers to only pay him about $2.25 million per year. Wolfe, a former sixth round pick, spent most of his time in AA New Hampshire last year making 24 appearances with an ERA of 5.74. Not a great trade, it was mostly Ricciardi admitting he had made a mistake by signing Koskie to the contract he was signed to.
23rd trade: to Cleveland : Bubbie Buzachero, Received Brian Tallet
This trade was made to add some depth to the left-handed pitching in the Majors and it worked out well for the Blue Jays. Tallet had an incredibly good season with the Jays and should have a big place as a left-hander out of the pen. This trade will be better observed as the years go on and the two players progress.
What an incredibly busy off-season with trades alone! The Blue Jays traded 7 players who would spend significant time on a Major League roster in 2006 and received 4 players who would spend time on their Major League roster. Management decided for quality instead of quantity, focusing on improving their corner infield positions at the same time as adding some pop to the lineup. They dealt out of a position of depth with their pitching staff, 4 of the 7 players traded were starting pitchers. This trading of depth may have been something management regretted when Josh Towers imploded and both Burnett and Chacin spent significant time on the disabled list.
So there you have it, every trade ever made by J.P. Ricciardi up until the beginning of the 2006 season. The trades made during the 2006 season are not included because quite frankly it is WAY too early to judge any of them. I hope you enjoyed the read, the entire document will soon be posted(with nicer tables). I'm moving onto other parts and other projects. Stay tuned!
Posted by Dan Julien at 4:33 PM
Good ending last night, see my post a little lower for the Cardinals evaluation.
Just a quick link, the GMs are going to discuss making it harder for the Wild Card to win it all.
17th trade: to Tampa Bay: Kevin Cash, Received Chad Gaudin
With too many no-hit, all catch catchers Ricciardi decided to ship one of them to Tampa Bay for young pitcher Chad Gaudin. Both players made near the minimum salary so this was essentially one of those baseball trades. Unfortunately, Gaudin completely faltered as a Blue Jay, establishing a VORP of -10.6 during his only season before being traded to Oakland . Cash did not perform much better in his season as a D-Ray, establishing a VORP of -0.9 but at the very least he performed better than Gaudin. The true value of this trade will depend on the player acquired for Gaudin, Dustin Majewski.
18th trade: to Arizona: Adam Peterson, Received Shea Hillenbrand
Needing someone to stabilize the designated hitter position and someone to help add some pop after letting Delgado walk, the Jays targeted Hillenbrand who had become expendable in Arizona. To do so, Ricciardi traded young reliever Adam Peterson who unfortunately hasn't had as much as a cup of tea since in the Majors since joining the Diamondbacks and was selected off waivers by the Tigers. Hillenbrand played well for the Blue Jays in 2005 and until his trade in 2006 while playing both corner positions and DHing a whole lot. Not known for his glove, he was often solid at either corner position. His VORPs during his two seasons with the Blue Jays was of 32.5 and 11.3 along with Win Shares of 15 and 5. Unfortunately for Jays fan, Hillenbrand left a bitter taste in their mouths on their way out by engaging in a locker room incident that has yet to be fully disclosed. He was subsequently traded along with Vinnie Chulk for Jeremy Accardo. All in all, this was a good trade by Jays management, acquiring a valuable bat while not giving up any player of consequence. Unfortunately, Hillenbrand will be remembered for his off the field actions instead of for his great bat that he brought to the team..
Last part of the Project comes later today!
Posted by Dan Julien at 8:00 AM
Friday, October 27, 2006
Well we have a new World Series Champion! Congratulations to one of the greatest managers in the game; Tony Larussa and one of the greatest if not the greatest player in the game; Albert Pujols. With the forgotten and thrown away Jeff Weaver, Most Valuable Player scrappy David Eckstein and one of the more underrated GMs Walt Jocketty!
On a GM side, how was this team built? Here's the 25 man World Series roster composition:
11 free agents
6 draft picks
7 trades (including two in-season, one in 2000(Jim Edmonds), one in 2002(Scott Rolen)
No players were acquired through waivers or the Rule V draft.
So they bought their team through free agency right?
Wrong, check out these free agent signings and their first season salary:
Randy Flores...minor league deal
Scott Spiezio...minor league deal
Preston Wilson...minimum deal in-season 2006
So 7 of the 11 free agents were signed to deals paying them $1 million or less in their first year. Taguchi I'm not sure of but it seems he was paid $1.2 million in his first year. This leaves big money signings David Eckstein, Jeff Suppan and Juan Encarnacion. Not exactly buying a team there. How the Cardinals were built was to build loyalty, they signed guys who were down and almost out and waited it out for them to get to a position to make an impact. They traded for Rolen and Edmonds who signed lucrative extensions to stay trhere because they felt the love from the fans and the organization. That's something to be proud of!
On a more important note...the off-season has started :) I'll post the final two parts of the Ricciardi project tomorrow. I've had some e-mails asking me why I haven't really given grades or anything...because that's not my job. I want to inform using statistics, I have no expertise in judging general manager's moves because I'm not there for every conversation and I don't know what goes on in their offices.
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:38 PM
Part 8: ‘There's nothing wrong with Ohio , except the snow and the rain. I really like Drew Carey and I'd love to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.'
15 th trade: to Cleveland: Josh Phelps, Received: Eric Crozier
Another pretty inconsequential trade, Cleveland utilized Phelps as a DH for half a season where he established a VORP of 7.5 while the Jays received a minor leaguer who never amounted to much. The Jays wanted the roster spot and were probably going to DFA Phelps in the off-season. Still the Jays gave up a useful asset for pretty much nothing in return.
16 th trade: to Cleveland: Tom Mastny, Received John McDonald
Utility infielder John McDonald has been a defensive staple with the Blue Jays since being acquired in this trade. Offensively, he has performed worse than a replacement player. As much as I like offensive statistics, I like McDonald and the impact his glove can have in the late innings. There's no measuring the psychological impact of bringing in McDonald behind a ground ball pitcher and that pitcher knowing that he will swallow up any ball hit near him. Because of that, his value I believe is immeasurable defensively. Mastny was recently brought up by the Indians and was given the role of closer where he performed adequately. I obviously had to pick a picture of McDonald where he was making a defensive play.
BTW the title comes from a Bowling for Soup song called Come Back to Texas...check them out.
Posted by Dan Julien at 5:15 PM
What a game last night!! Wow, the Cards seem to have the Tigers by the tail but we can't really discount them until they're done. Can the Tigers keep making mistakes like this? It's really incredible how a team in the World Series can make this many errors..Once the World Series ends, the off-season starts :)
The Giants have hired Bruce Bochy as their manager
here's another part of the Ricciardi Project...really REALLY short but I'll add another part around 5:15 I promise.
14 th trade, to Boston : Terry Adams, Received John Hattig
The Terry Adams years in Toronto lasted…well less than a year. Acquired during the off-season as a free agent, Adams was shipped to Boston for infielder John Hattig. Adams actually performed worse than a replacement player during his time in Boston , establishing a VORP of -1.2. The 26 year old Hattig recently had his first taste of Major League ball with the Blue Jays, playing solidly and establishing a VORP of 1.8 in 24 at bats. Who knows what the future holds for him but it seems like a solid trade by Ricciardi.
Posted by Dan Julien at 8:25 AM
Thursday, October 26, 2006
12 th trade, to Tampa Bay: Mark Hendrickson, minor league Sandy Nin, Received Justin Speier
This three way trade was the first of two trades during the off-season that helped solidify the Blue Jay bullpen. The tall left-handed Hendrickson had shown flashes of talent during his stint with the Jays but was seen as expendable with the acquisition of Lilly. Speier came in and was immediately solid for the Jays, becoming the setup man for the next three seasons. This is a trade where Ricciardi got a great deal for a position of which he had good depth. Speier vastly outperformed Hendrickson, establishing a VORP 33.6 runs higher than Hendrickson's during his tenure as a Blue Jay. Hendrickson has additional value since he was traded to the Dodgers while Speier's future with the Jays is currently in the air as he is an unrestricted free agent.
Total VORP: 55.2
Total WS: 20
Total VORP: 21.6
Total WS: 19
As a starter, Hendrickson had more win shares than the reliever Speier but their value can be measured in the difference in VORP. Although this trade won't be evaluated until the additional value of the Hendrickson trade and the Speier free agent situation is figured out, this seems like a trade where the Blue Jay brass was able to solidify a tough position by dealing depth in a positive fashion.
13 th trade, to LAD: Jayson Werth, Received Jason Frasor
Right before the season began, the Jays figured out that although they had no room for Werth on the roster, he had impressed enough through spring training that he would not be able to get through waivers. A deal was struck with the Dodgers for young reliever Jason Frasor. Both players were earning the minimum in their first season and both produced well with VORPs over 15. Frasor continued his solid pitching for the Jays throughout the next two seasons while Werth regressed in the following season and was not on the Dodgers last season. This is a trade where again Ricciardi was able to deal from a position of depth to acquire an asset he needed, along with getting the more productive player.
Posted by Dan Julien at 12:09 PM
The Yankees have reportedly picked up the option on Gary Sheffield for next season. He's angry about it because he wanted to test the free agent market and try to get a three year deal for himself as well as not wanting to play first base. ESPN is reporting that the Yankees may have just picked up the option to trade him with several teams interested; the Angels, Orioles, Cubs, Giants, Astros and Rangers.
Personally, I hope the Yankees don't get much return on him and I'd honestly rather see him in pinstripes next season. If the Yankees begin to get younger, it will only hurt the Jays' chances because the best hope they have is for the Yanks to keep their money tied up in older players who get injured easier and whose performance will decrease.
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:47 AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Gotta love getting home after a long day at work only to find out that there's no baseball on...oh well...taking a break from the Ricciardi project for tonight, update will be tomorrow. Got some thoughts on Billy Beane...
I know, I know you’re reading the title thinking, “of course it was planned, it’s a freaking book, how could it not be planned?” My question goes more towards whether or not Billy Beane used the Moneyball book as a strategy towards future transactions. What do I mean? Moneyball discussed how Billy Beane used unorthodox methods to beat the bigger market teams by employing players who had flaws but had certain qualities that made them attractive to the Athletics. These players were mostly high OBP machines who struck out a lot and couldn’t field worth a lick. Beane used the easiest thing to measure in baseball, the percentage of how many times a guy could reach first base and built a team that was effective at doing this. Unlike pitching statistics that are influenced by the defensive players and defensive statistics, which are hard to measure, OBP is almost fully attributable to the hitter. The toughness of pitching will even itself out through the season and every player will have hits taken away from him as he will have bloop singles that should have never been hits.
So Beane had it all figured out, beat the bigger markets by signing cheap hitters who could get on base a lot but had flaws in their games. He also had three great starters that helped the Athletics stay in many games while waiting for the runs to come. So he had a system and what did he do? He announced it to the world!!! He told everyone: this is how I’m beating you. Quickly franchises were moving to copy his style; ex-assistants Ricciardi and Deposteta were hired as general manager, the Red Sox hired sabrmetrician Bill James and Theo Epstein. Other teams now coveted the type of players who used to be coveted by only
Wrong! Sensing that he could not hold onto them, Billy Beane traded two of the three aces before they became free agents. He drafted closer
On the new CBA...Buster Olney has some great thoughts! Not good news for the Jays and Vernon Wells but apparently the signing of BJ Ryan looks even better.
And Keith Law's take
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:10 PM
This World Series is good stuff this year! What a great pitching performance last night by Carpenter: 8 IPs, 3 Hs and 6 Ks. The guy can't be beat at Busch stadium, luckily for the Tigers and their home field advantage, he won't start another game there during this series. If anyone didn't catch it, Carlos Delgado was honoured with the Roberto Clemente award yesterday, for his community service and sportsmanship.
Also, Mike Mussina's agent is talking to the Yankees about a new deal, they do have an option on him for next season for $17 million.
It's Bonderman vs. Suppan tonight! Game 4 in Busch Stadium.
Another day, another part to the Ricciardi project...Look for updates to link to any expert that dicusses the new CBA through out the day.
10 th trade: To Minnesota: Shannon Stewart and minor leaguer Dave Gassner, Received: Bobby Kielty
Stewart's $6.2 million dollar salary had made him quite expendable for the cash conscious Blue Jays and Terry Ryan was only too happy to acquire a mid-season bat for the Twins' playoff push. Stewart ended the season with a VORP of 19.1 in his half-season with Minnesota alone. Kielty was earning near the minimum but established a value just over that of a replacement player. To completely analyze this trade however it is important to consider that it was essentially a three-way deal that concluded 4 months later..
11th trade, to Oakland : Bobby Kielty, Received Ted Lilly
When Kielty was acquired by the Blue Jays, there were already rumblings that Billy Beane had always been a fan of Kielty and that Ricciardi had acquired a player previously thought untouchable. Fast forward 4 months later to see the general managers come together in a trade involving Kielty and starting pitcher Ted Lilly. Lilly was terrific during his first season as a Blue Jays, establishing a VORP of 44.6. The trade in the Blue Jays mind essentially comes down to Stewart's value vs. Lilly's value to both the teams. Stewart helped the Twins a lot during his first half-season with them, helping them make the playoffs and earning MVP consideration therefore their trade was won almost immediately. Kielty was(and still is) a somewhat productive player during his time with Oakland, establishing a VORP over 3 seasons of 16.5 and is still with the team as a valuable switch-hitting bench player.
Total VORP: 54
Total Win Shares: 39
Total Salary: $21.2 million
Total VORP: 74.2
Total Win Shares: 32
Total Salary: $9 million
Wow, I never really saw how overpaid Stewart was until I compared these two against each other. For a corner outfielder with no arm, he is vastly overpaid as compared to the inconsistent left handed starter named Ted Lilly.
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:10 AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Well MLB and MLBPA agreed to a new 5 year deal to extend their CBA. It's the longest deal in baseball labour history and will end in 2011.
here's the link:
With profits rising, this is a very good move by both sides to ensure that they keep their pieces of the pie. Here's what you essentially need to know:
-Compensation for picks has been changed slightly as teams that can't sign their first or second rounders will receive that same pick and failure to sign a third rounder will result in a sandwich pick between rounds 3 and 4
-The Rule 5 protection has been changed slightly...not exactly sure how it will affect everyone
-There are only Type A and B free agents for compensation use
-Type A is down to top 20% by position instead of 30%, Type B from 21% to 40% at each position ( used to be 32%-50%)
-Compensation for Type B free agents will be sandwich picks(MLB given) instead of direct picks(given by teams)
So a few changes that you can read about yourself, I'm sure the experts will chime in and as soon as they do I will link to the articles for your reading pleasures. How about this game tho? Another great pitching performance and this time by former Blue Jay Chris Carpenter.
Posted by Dan Julien at 10:44 PM
Monday, October 23, 2006
First of all, Yay no labor stoppage for five more years, when the details of the deal get announced, expect a breakdown here!
8th trade, to Oakland : minor leaguers Chris Mowday and Mike Rouse, Received Cory Lidle
J.P. thought that the late Cory Lidle could make a difference in the Blue Jay rotation and he acquired him from old buddy Billy Beane in exchange for two minor leaguers who would never have an impact at the major league level. Unfortunately, during his only season as a Blue Jay, Lidle received over $5 million and produced a VORP of –2.8. Not exactly what the Jays needed at that time and this comes off as a bad deal for Ricciadi although he did not give up a prospect of any consequence. It's a good time to pay our respects to Cory Lidle and his family.
9th trade: to Cincinatti: Felipe Lopez, Received: Jason Arnold
Ouch! First of all, it needs to be stated that this another of these trades where the numbers don't tell the whole story. Ricciardi has been quoted as saying that although Lopez is terrific on the field, he was not terrific off the field. But the numbers don't lie, Ricciardi had a love on for Arnold , the man a lot of us thought would be a difference maker in the Jays pitching staff. However, Arnold never made an impact at the major league level and retired from the game in 2006.
On the other hand, the middle infielder Lopez was earning near the league minimum when he was traded and after one below replacement level season put up seasons with VORPs of 8, 52.7 and then 16 in 2006 before being traded to the Nationals for what Reds' management thought were the missing pieces to their bullpen. All in all, this was a stinker of a deal for the Jays and one must wonder, what if Lopez had been the Jays' shortstop in 2006 instead of Adams/McDonald. They probably would not have been a playoff team considering Felipe Lopez had 16 Win Shares in 2006, but it could have been a step in the right direction.
Not exactly the success the new Blue Jays management wanted with these two pitching acquisitions.
Tomorrow's part will examine a three-way trade that took months to complete...
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:58 PM
6th trade: To Philadelphia: Dan Plesac, Received Cliff Politte
The Phillies needed Plesac's left arm out of the bullpen and the Jays were happy to make their bullepn younger and cheaper yet again. Politte had an oustanding 2002 with the Jays, establishing a value of 15. Politte's total Win Shares over the two seasons was of 10 while Plesac had a better value than Politte in 2003. However the total VORP advantage went to Pollitte and he was cheaper so it ended up being a good statistical trade for the Jays. If you think of it logistically, Plesac's statistics may not be the most imporant thing when judging his value. His biggest value is getting big touch left-handed hitters out in close situations. Considering the lefty out of the Jays pen in 2003 was Trever Miller (VORP of 6.3, 4 Win Shares), this trade is a debatable good deal.
7th trade: To New York Yankees: Raul Mondesi, Received Scott Wiggins
This trade was purely a salary/bad attitude dump, for a great account of how this team actually went down, read Chasing Steinbrenner . The Jays rid themselves of a player who had worn out his welcome and gladly took on some of his salary ($6 million). This trade is possibly made worse for the Jays because of the return the Yankees received for trading Mondesi to Arizona . But all in all, this was Ricciardi ridding himself of another big salary and a player he felt was a mistake made by the previous administration. The fact that Mondesi barely produced as a Yankee (VORPs of 4.4, 16.4, Win Shares of 12,11) proves how much he was overpaid. Unfortunately, this trade was a necessary evil for the Ricciardi regime since the Jays ended up saving over $12 million. So all in all, this is a trade that made the Jays lose talent but gave them more payroll flexibility. Mondesi barely established a Yankee value of 1 VORP/$ million which says a lot about his value...But as exemplified by the photo, Mondesi's bullish attitude would be missed.
Later today, more analysis when I get home from work.
Posted by Dan Julien at 8:21 PM
Before the 2002 season began, the Jays management made two more significant deals. One to bring in a hitter, the other to rid themselves of an expensive slugger...but not the one they most wanted to get rid of.
4th trade: To Oakland: Tom Wilson, Received Mike Kremblas
Dealing a career minor leaguer for a catcher making near the minimum and is more valuable than a replacement player for two seasons is always a good trade. I need to make more of a comment you say? Tom Wilson had Win Shares of 7 and 3 in his two seasons for the Jays while making under $400,000 each year, he didn't slow anyone's development because let's face it, when's the last time the Jays had a catching prospect that was worth a lick and played catcher in the Majors for a good time period? I added that last part so no one would name Delgado...All in all this trade was a small steal for Ricciardi or maybe a gift from Billy for all his years of good service.
5th trade: To Anaheim: Brad Fullmer, Received Brain Cooper
Trimming fat and trading a very productive designated hitter for a career minor leaguer however is not always a good trade. The Jays did not want to pay Fullmer's $4 million salary anymore and had young Josh Phelps ready to step into the spot, Phelps by the way because of his designated hitter status does not count towards the decent prospect catcher who became a good major league catcher. It ended up being good savings for the Jays as Fullmer had VORPs and Win Shares of 33.5 (13) and 17.2 (8) in 2002, 2003 while Phelps' VORPs and Win Shares were 25.1 (10) and 20.5(10). Fullmer ended up being slightly more productive than Phelps but at a higher salary cost. The Jays also saved money on busted jerseys; no longer would they have Fullmer's over-whelming pythons breaking the seams on all those jersey sleeves.
I guess when talking about Fullmer, you can't really talk about trimming fat! Maybe trimming muscle mass...whatever, it's just not as nice a title!
Should the Jays be hiring a catcher's coach to make sure that this catching prospect downfall doesn't continue with Curtis Thigpen? Seriously, this whole catching prospect thing is kind of concerning, considering it is one of THE most important positions on the field!
Posted by Dan Julien at 7:37 PM
Today, I am a trooper! After doing the six hour drive back from the Falls area, I am posting another section of the Ricciardi Project. It is a short one, so to compensate I will post another section tomorrow.
My weekend? Awesome. Drove down to the Toronto/Falls area to visit friends, family and hit some stores in Buffalo. Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday night, to the Casino for funding part of my trip and thanks to Ruffles for inventing those wonderful fat free chips(only available in the United States!)
I will not comment on Kenny Rogers, I do not have the facts and I am not naive enough to think that every baseball player tries to have some sort of competitive advantage. I just feel it's sad that this story will take away from one of the greatest playoff pitching performances of all time. I sincerely hope he did not cheat, but again am not naive.
Posted by Dan Julien at 7:34 PM
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I didn't think I'd take the time to make a post on the road but I read this tidbit this morning and it's huge
"According to Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News, draft-pick compensation for departing free agents has been eliminated as part of the new CBA set to be announced within the next couple of weeks."
This means a lot, it means whoever signs Zito, Soriano, Schmidt and so on does not have to give up a draft pick to do so. Also, on a Jays perspective, they could not receive compensation for a team signing Zaun, Cat or Speier. So not sure if this is positive or negative news but I don't like it, losing a player without compensation will hurt smaller market teams. Billy Beane is cursing somewhere right now
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:43 AM
Friday, October 20, 2006
Well here's part one for those patient people, I'm out for the weekend but will come back early next week with part two :).
J.P.'s Christmas list...Three new pitchers, two minor leagues, onnnnnnnneeeeeeeee third baseman.
Ricciardi began his General Manager career by making three trades in the span of one week. All three trades allowed the Jays to cut payroll and changed the complexion of both the middle infield and bullpen. Traded were closer Billy Koch and setup man Paul Quantrill along with middle infielders Alex Gonzalez and Cesar Iztruis. Received were career minor leaguers James Deschaine and Chad Ricketts along with INF Eric Hinske and pitchers Justin Miller, Luke Prokopec, Felix Heredia.
1st trade: To Oakland: Billy Koch, Received: Eric Hinske and Justin Miller
Ricciardi's first trade was with his former team as he traded the Jays' former closer, Billy Koch for two 24 year old players minimum wage players. The trade saved the Jays over $2 million in the first year and actully made Ricciardi look quite wise. Koch was successful in his first season as the Oakland closer and put up a VORP of 24.2. The Jays utilized former starter Kelvim Escobar as their closer for the 2002 season and he established a value of 13.2. The tradeoff between Koch and Escobar was a small value in his first year as closer. This is without considering what the difference in value from what Escobar's value could have been as a starter and whoever replace him in the starting rotation. However, Eric Hinske had an incredible season at third base, winning the Rookie of the Year award and establishing a VORP of 55.4. Justin Miller was below replacement level during his first season as a Jay.
Billy Beane traded Koch during the 2002-2003 off-season, acquiring Keith Foulke in the process. Hinske put up above replacement level numbers for 3 of his next 4 seasons with the Jays but was given a multi-year contract that went undeserved and was finally dealt for a Player to be Named Later in 2006. Even with the drop in Hinske's performance, Ricciardi wins this trade when it comes to VORP, but when it comes to total value, it must be accepted that Koch along with Neil Cotts was traded for Keith Foulke(essentially although it was a six player deal). This table presents the data of Koch's one year in Oakland along with Foulke's one year and seems to make this trade not just more even but also I would say gives the advantage to Oakland. Foulke was signed by Boston as a free agent which gave the A's a compensatory draft pick utilized to draft Huston Street, although this is offset by the fact that the Sox got Neil Cotts in the Koch deal.
Name Total VORP VORP/year Win Shares WS/Year
Billy Koch 24.2 24.2* 19 19*
Keith Foulke 37.0 37.0* 21 21*
Eric Hinske 70.2 14.04* 58 11.6*
Justin Miller -3.4 -1.7
*Value added for the addition of players through trades/draft pick compensation
2nd trade: To Chicago Cubs: Alex Gonzalez, Received: James Deschaine and Felix Heredia
Gonzalez was always better known for his defense than his offense and Ricciardi felt that his lack of offensive performance made his salary unsuitable for the team. The 29 year old was shipped to the Cubs for leftie reliever Heredia and career minor leaguer Deschaine. The trade saved the Jays over $2 million for the one season alone, but Gonzalez performed better than Heredia by over 10 VORP in the first season and unlike Heredia, he played a second season with the Cubs(although at a VORP of 9.5). Alex S. Gonzalez had Win Shares of 13 and 16 in his two seasons with the Cubs while Heredia had 3 win shares in his season with the Blue Jays. Although Ricciardi lost the trade when it came to VORP and Win Shares, the salaries seem to offset the gain in VORP for the Cubs. This trade is made more successful by the play of Chris Woodward, the player who replaced Gonzalez at SS for the Jays and established a better VORP by more than a run during the two seasons Alex played for the Cubs. However, he only established Win Shares of 10 and 9 in those same two seasons.
*Editor's Note...Alex Gonzalez had $12 million left on his contract, therefore the Jays saved closer to $10 million because of this deal.
3rd trade: To Los Angeles Dodgers: Paul Quantrill, Cesar Izturis, Received Luke Prokopec and Chad Ricketts
This is probably not a trade that Ricciardi enjoys re-visiting. Prokopec was expected to be a major part of the rotation for the Blue Jays but never materialized(one season, VORP of -9.4) while Ricketts did not have an impact. Quantrill had two excellent seasons in Los Angeles, establishing VORPs and Wins Shares of 18.8, 8 WS and 30.3, 11 WS and after two below average years, Izturis broke out in 2004 with a VORP of 29.7, only to return to averageness until his trade to Chicago in exchange for Greg Maddux. The positive thing about the trade is that the Jays did save over $2 million per year because of this trade. However, this is not a deal that allows much confidence in Ricciardi's trading expertise and it took a long time for the Blue Jays to find someone to perform as well as Quantrill as a setup man.
Posted by Dan Julien at 6:53 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Well you asked for it and here it is folks. What is the Ricciardi project? A complete examination of every transaction ever completed by the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays up to this point. How will it be done? Statistics of course. The first part that will be posted soon is an examination of the trades J.P. made during his tenure to examine whether his trading has helped or hurt the team.
J.P. Ricciardi was hired in 2001 as the Toronto Blue Jays' General Manager. Since then he has made almost 28 trades that have had some consequence to the Blue Jays or to the team the trade was completed with. The question on everyone's minds is how to decide whether or not Ricciardi has done a good job on the trade market? Well in this Part 1 of the Ricciardi Project we will investigate J.P.'s trades through a pretty simple method, utilizing VORP returns, Win Shares and salary.
"You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold 'em..." Kenny Rogers The Gambler
Posted by Dan Julien at 10:19 AM
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Nothing much going on in the baseball world today leading up to Game 5 tonight.
However, did anyone catch the Monday Night Football game? How incredible was that comeback without an offensive touchdown. I feel bad for Leinart already, it's not exactly how you want to begin your career. He played well but Arizona is just snake bitten...
The Ricciardi project is coming along great and a preview will be posted SHORTLY. I have a job interview Thursday I need to get ready for but aside from that...
Look at this transaction from a few years back, very appropriate since Bonderman will take the hill in the World Series...
In a three-way deal; the Oakland Athletics traded Carlos Pena, Franklyn German and a player to be named later (Jeremy Bonderman) to the Detroit Tigers, the Tigers traded Jeff Weaver to the New York Yankees, the Yankees traded Ted Lilly, Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin to the Athletics.
All three of the players the Athletics received in this trade became Blue Jays later on. Do you think Ricciardi had something to do with this three-way deal while he was in Oakland?
*Project prospect has a ranking of the top three prospects for each of the AL East teams..no surprise in Snider, Lind, Romero..
Top 3 prospects
Posted by Dan Julien at 7:11 PM
Well game 5 was rained out last night, leading to a more rested Mets staff being able to go today. It will be interesting to see if all the rest the Tigers are getting is going to affect them positively or negatively. With a young team like that you may have wanted to use the energy and get them back on the field as quick as possible.
Two management decisions yesterday..Lou Pinella found a job with the Cubs and Ken Macha was fired. I have actully very much enjoyed Pinella's work on FOX and was hoping he'd decide that broadcasting was a bit less stresfful and therefore worth it. OH And Pinella wants ARod on his team..who doesn't, except the Yankees. I'm not sure why Macha was fired after Oakland gave him that three year deal, I don't see Beane bringing in someone with lots of experience to replace him but we'll see.
Posted by Dan Julien at 8:06 AM
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Well nothing better after a ten hour shift then a beer and a ball game PLUS, the Habs vs Sens on the split screen. Oakland is at least making this last game competitive, poor guys deserve a better fate but maybe this is Detroit's year!
*The Jays have completed their Scott Schowenweis trade with Cincinatti, receving infielder Trevor Lawhorn. Click on the name for statistics.
Posted by Dan Julien at 7:28 PM
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sad news out of
Jeff Weaver starting Game 1 of the Championship Series! Could anyone have imagined this at the start of the season? Weaver’s always been one of those pitchers who gets by on his enormous potential for being a great pitcher and hopefully for the Cards he can get it done for them as he will be trusted to throw at least twice in this series.
Somebody asked me the other night which free agent I thought would have a bigger impact if he signed with the Jays: Alfonso Soriano or Barry Zito. I obviously said I’d have to check the stats before giving him my answer, but he told me to go blind by instinct. It all depends was my answer. If Wells is traded away then Soriano perfectly slots in as a 3rd batter and hopefully 2nd baseman. Zito is tremendously important if no other pitcher is signed or acquired through trade because right now the Jays rotation is a bunch of maybes after Halladay/Burnett/Chacin and that top three is very injury prone. Of course, my final answer was Zito. If the top four consists of those four men…who even cares who the fifth starter is. I think we need a more patient hitter than Soriano at this point such as Loretta, certainly if Cat is not brought back.
Tigers are for real..
The Yankees held onto Torre…and say they will hold onto Arod. Good luck with that, now that he’s on the market, teams are going to come out with good offers. An impact hitter of Arod’s caliber is worth his weight in gold and he may never come at a smaller price. Remember in any trade that his salary is only $14 million per year because Texas covers the rest. I don’t think Cashman can honestly bring him back to New York and that a change in scenery would help all involved. The Jeter trade rumors and rumblings are just that, it would be STUPID to trade Derek, he is their captain and heart and soul. You don’t trade a Derek Jeter, just like you don’t trade Michael Jordan.
Posted by Dan Julien at 10:32 PM
Well I didn't expect to come home from work and the Tigers having a commanding lead in the game. I was pretty dissapointed that I had to watch pretty meaningless baseball. However, I have been busy lately with some side projects and job opportunities so time is going by fast. The Ricciardi project is coming along well but I just figured out that I'd be better off completing the off-season plan first so I'm back to work on that. Tonight there's two games on for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully one will still be close when I finish my late shift. Did Barry Zito's performance last night negate his performance from the ALDS? Will it cost him in free agency?
Posted by Dan Julien at 12:12 PM
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Tonight's the night...Game 1 is 8pm
Zito (16-10, 3.83 ERA) vs. Robertson (13-13, 3.84 ERA)
It will be two lefties starting Game 1 for the ALCS representatives.
I'd be proud of either of these teams representing the American League but I'm hoping Billy Beane can finally prove that his "shit" DOES work in the playoffs.
It seems as though cooler heads will prevail with the Yankees and that Torre will stick around. With all their MASSIVE contracts, it's tough to see how the Yankees will make major changes, but it shall be interesting. There's a press conference at 1pm to announce...something?
Wish I didn't have to work today, but alas the bills need to be paid. At least I'll catch the end of the game tonight and get to work on the Ricciardi project and the off-season plan.
Posted by Dan Julien at 12:32 PM
Monday, October 09, 2006
Some good news on the off-season front as Julio Lugo has come out and said that he is interested in playing for the Blue Jays. Jeff Blair has the scoop: Lugo likes Jays
The American League Chamionship series will feature the American League West champion facing off against the Wild Card Winner. Both teams finished the season on a down note as the Tigers lost their last 5 and Oakland went 4-6 in their last ten. Oakland swept the Twins in the first round, using only three relievers and being led by Frank Thomas, whose OPS for the three game set was an incredible 1.783. The Tigers made quick work of the Yankees in four games, using a pretty complete attack on offense and good pitching performances by both Jeremy Bonderman and Kenny Rogers. They utilized four bullpen arms in the process. Click on the team logos to be taken to the ESPN stats page.
*Oakland will go with Zito, Loaiza and Haren in games 1-3...I don't know how Harden will fit in
The New Yort Mets were picked by many experts to easily take the National League title. However, this was before they lost Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez to injury. John Maine got the start in game 1 and threw a good game, Glavine shutout the opposition to take game two and Steve Trachsel did enough to put him team in a position to win to help the Mets sweep the series. The Mets had to utilize six bullpen arms to help clinch the series with mixed results(Darren Oliver anyone?). "King" Carlos Delgado performed well in his first post-season experience and he will be asked to once again lead this offense. The Cardinals almost had a free-fall right out of the playoffs late in the season but managed to survive and then eliminate the Padres in the first round. There's no doubt that the heart and soul of this team is Albert Pujols. Chris Carpenter started two games in the first series and pitched very well, unfortunately he may not be able to pitch in Game 1 because he was just used. This will leave either Jeff Suppan or Jeff Weaver as the game 1 starter. The Cards used 7 relievers in their first round series.
Yankee fans are selling ARod on ebay! Anyone that wants one of the best players of our generation can make a bid. Click on the logo to see..
Posted by Dan Julien at 10:41 AM
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Wow...I'm in shock this morning as I read ESPN.Com to learn that Joe Torre will be asked to resign by the Yankees and be replaced by Lou Pinella. Torre's been a class act and has managed to keep egos in check for years in that clubhouse. He may not be the greatest manager of all time but he did his job well. If you don't win the big one, you're not good enough for Big George..
Torre's NYY Record : 1079-699, 3 World Series
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:36 AM
Saturday, October 07, 2006
*The offense for the Yankees badly outperformed the Blue Jays by over a hundred runs.
*The biggest difference was .015 in OBP along with a better average with RISP of .011
*The Yankees added over 20 runs with their use of the stolen base while the Jays actually lost 0.3 runs because of their stolen base mistakes
*The Jays had an offensive advantage at 1B and with their platoon in LF
*The Yankees had an advantage in the middle infield, mostly at SS where Jeter largely outpaced the duo of Adams/McDonald
*The steady Giambi beat out whoever the Jays threw in at DH
*The Jays pitchers allowed 13 less runs than the Yankees
*The teams were pretty even in WHIP and OBP
*The Jays allowed more extra base hits including home runs
*The Jays were able to strand more base runners
*B.J. Ryan had a much higher Adjusted Runs Prevented from Scoring value than Mariano Rivera, ranking 1st in MLB amongst relievers
*Both teams ranked in the top three in defensive efficiency rating, with the Yankees coming in slightly better than the Jays
*The Yankees were able to get more starts from their top 4 pitchers (125 vs 102) than the Jays
*Although Halladay was the best pitcher according to VORP and Win Shares of the bunch, the duo of Wang and Mussina had a higher VORP value than Halladay and Lilly
*Josh Towers cost the game over one win all by himself.
*The closer’s VORPs came very close with Ryan edging out Rivera slightly, however Ryan added a whole win more to his team than Rivera
*The pitching staffs came in very even in both VORP and Win Shares
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:30 PM
The Evil Empire has fallen again! The Oakland Athletics will meet the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS for the chacne to play in the World Series. This is probably bad news for all Jays fans as it may precipitate some big moves in New York. You know they'll probably have a new third baseman, and I don't know how many new starting pitchers. But it will be an exciting ALCS and a young team willrepresent the American League no matter which team wins.
*Just a note that Keith Ginter will probably be added to the Oakland roster because of the Ellis injury. Also, the debate is whether Zito or Harden starts game 1 so we should see Harden early in the season.
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:44 PM
Gotta love missing all the games cause of work this weekend but wow these playoffs are great. Oakland FINALLY gets over the hump and finishes off an opponent to move into the ALCS. Their opponent? Unknown, however the Tigers have taken a somewhat surprising 2-1 lead in their series against the Yankees behind the pitching of Kenny Rogers. Over in the NLCS, both series could end today with the Mets and Cards both leading 2-0.
Most interesting will be the status of Rich Harden and if the Dodgers can come back, Nomar(comeback player of the year for the NL. Harden didn't throw a pitch in the ALDS and struggled during his comeback outing from the injury before the playoffs. The A's should have him penciled in for a start this series but where would you put him? 4th starter? It should be interesting. Oakland has only used six pitchers in that three game series so they will have a lot of rested arms when the ALCS starts.
Anyway, tune in soon for the last part of the division battle along with the off-season checklist.
Posted by Dan Julien at 3:12 PM
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
J.P. has already announced that Adams will start next season with Syracuse to work on, well, everything. So what does this mean for the middle infield? Obviously there will have to be one acquisition. Who's out there and who fits this team? Soriano? Lugo? Bellhorn? Counsell? Anyone else?
Posted by Dan Julien at 8:53 AM
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
So today was an awesome day for playoff action. Even though one game was rained out tonight...there was so much during the first two games.
*The inside the park home run to take the lead after back to back jacks by the Twins to tie the game
*The two outs at the plate on one play for the Dodgers. Could that be the series turning play this early? Who knows how that inning could have turned out for them. Kent should have never gone and Drew SHOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF IT. Bases loaded and 0 outs, or even with Kent's out, 2nd and 3rd with 1 outs.
*The work of Steve Phillips in the booth. I really enjoyed him during the LAD/NYM game
*Bradley's blow up on the bench and the entire coffee incident
Did I miss anything? What a day! I love playoff baseball. So are the A's for real? Can they sweep and allow themselves to rest Harden some more? Are they in a position to finally take the Yanks? And what about the NL? Who will come out of there now that the Mets are missing half their starters?
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:27 PM
Well earlier than expected because the game's not on! Here is the fourth and final(kind of) part. Read it, discuss it, bash me, help me...do whatever you want. I will do a recap of the four parts and lead that into the off-season checklist. So stay tuned, there will be lots of action on the site.
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:21 PM
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Well the statistical inquiry into why the Jays finished second and not first continues today with a team wide investigation of pitching and defensive statistics, something really basic but something that could lead to some answers. Part 3 should come later today...stay tuned ball fans! Enjoy the games today. The links for the Division battle investigation are now on the right bar for your viewing pleasure
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:29 AM
ESPN.Com has some comments from J.P. regarding off-season plans..
About Wells: "I can tell you this: If it is a Beltran type deal then it's something we wouldn't be able to handle."
About Lilly: "We have a number that we feel comfortable that we would go after [pitcher] Ted [Lilly] with. But if somebody goes out and just blows that number out of the water we're obviously not going to get involved."
About Glaus: "Every player gets to a point in their career where they decide I'd better start working out a little harder and I think Troy is at that point now" WOW!
About Molina/Zaun: He can only bring one back and has rejected Molina's option for next year.
And finally "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we popped champagne for finishing in second place, but it's something we haven't done here in a long time. We finished ahead of the Red Sox. It's just a nice stepping stone. I know the guys were really driven to get to that spot. We're closer to where we think we can be."
Here's the full article J.P. Article
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:43 AM
Monday, October 02, 2006
So what’s the difference between 2nd place and 1st place? According to the standings, it’s ten wins. According to Run Differential, it’s 108 runs. But really when you look into it some more what is it exactly? Well this four part investigation will attempt to answer the questions, what IS the difference? The first part is a team wide investigation of offensive statistics, something really basic but something that could lead to some answers.
Part 2 will come tomorrow morning, part 3 will come tomorrow night hopefully with Part 4 on Wednesday morning. The stats are complete, look for a new HTML design for them shortly, I've been working out some kinks. The Ricciardi project is advancing as well as the off-season battle plan. So check in early and often
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:15 PM
Sunday, October 01, 2006
So the season was somewhat dissapointing but it ended on a high. Second place for the first time in a VERY LONG time. There are so many positives going into next season and there are obvious holes that need to be filled(oh I don't know, middle infield anyone?). I will present some season ending packages in the next few days that you can read during the playoff ads. Hopefully, they will answer some of the questions as to why the Jays will be packing their bags on Monday. Adam Lind's first 65 at bats make him look like a future superstar, hopefully he starts next year at Syracuse to help his growth instead of throwing him to the lions too early. Well Jays fans thanks for the great year..Just wait 'til next year !
*Hardball Times have put up some defensive awards. Both Hill and Rios get some recognition for all their great work and the LF tandem again gets attention
Posted by Dan Julien at 9:24 PM
Wasn't it just yesterday we were sitting at opening day? So much hope...Bengie hitting that home run...the entire stadium chanting B.J. B.J. B.J. to our new closer! There was so much hope and you know what everyone? We took a step in the right direction this year because at worse we'll end up tied with the Red Sox. Take away the inter-league records and we'd be well ahead of them. There are positive signs for next year with the top duo of Halladay/Burnett and hopefully the lefties Lilly and Chacin. Joe Torre said the other day that the Jays are the team he'd least like to face in the playoffs because of our devastating top three starters. It sucks that the season has to end yet again without a playoff berth but we had some good times this year..just wait 'til next year :)
*On a side note, I'm hoping Houston can tie St. Louis today just for that great one game playoff.
Posted by Dan Julien at 11:09 AM