Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Well not too much news heading into the new year but there was one signing yesterday...

Baltimore continued to load up their roster by signing corner infielder/outfielder Aubrey Huff to a 3 year, $20 million contact. I believe this means that they won't be looking at trading Brian Roberts for Laroche anymore. This gives them great depth though, and it gives them another above average hitter who can play many different positions. Huff combined for a 106 OPS+ last year and has hig over 20 home runs in each of the last five seasons. He will give the Orioles many options because of his right handed bat and his ability to play 4 different positions along with DHing. So as previously discussed, the Orioles rebuilt their bullpen, and now they have added two offensive players (Huff + Payton) who can play multiple positions. They also haven't traded anyone of consequence except Chris Britton while doing this. I think that today, the Orioles are in a better position to contend in the AL East than the Blue Jays. Huff is the kind of guy, that the Jays should have taken a look at, he plays all the positions they needed backed up and didn't cost an excessive amount.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Morning and there's no cartoons on

First things first...welcome to BVtN Version 2.0...hope you all like the re-design...onto the day's news.

It seems that the D'Backs are close to acquiring the Big Unit and that "a deal may be done before next week" yanks get rid of another old man and pick up more pitching prospects. I never thought I'd say this...but Brian Cashman is doing an incredible job at stockpiling the farm system this off-season

  • On a side note, the article mentions that Doug Mientkiewicz would be the Yanks' first baseman and that they badly want Mark Loretta as a utility infielder.
  • That article about rotations from BBTF I posted yesterday? seems that the Jays problems in the last two seasons has been their 4th and 5th starters being badly below average in both ERA+ and innings per start. Last season, the pitchers who combined for these two sports cost the team at least two wins. So what does JP do? Lose the number three starter and not replace him...this could be a long season. Oddly, Hardball Times has posted a similar article that I will recap tomorrow.
  • So the ride to Toronto and back gave me plenty of time to read and although I'm not sure I suggest Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, I do suggest Dealing: The Cleveland Indians New Ballgame for any baseball fan. It's the story of Mark Shapiro's reign as the Indians GM up to 2006. It's an easy read and goes through many of the climatic events during his time as GM, beginning with the purchase of the team by the Dolans. It's an interesting period of time where they had to rebuild and let players leave through free agency such as Thome and Ramirez while trading players such as Alomar and Colon. There's an entire chapter on the Alomar trade, it's failure and what the Indians management staff learnt from it for future trades. It's a great read, certainly for anyone interesting in seeing how one GM rebuilt a team so well by using shrewd moves.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Zito, Rotations, 'ask dan'

I love when a big signing many different stats thrown out and so many different let's go through them...oh btw if you don't know we're speaking of Barry Zito joining the San Francisco Giants for a reported 7 year deal worth $126 million, it's the biggest signing for a pitcher of all time. So first the stats...

  • Zito has spent 7 seasons in Major League Baseball, winning 102 games and losing 63 (.618 winning percentage).
  • He's consistently thrown over 200 innings for the last 6 seasons.
  • His best season was in 2002 when he won 23 games, lost 5 and had an ERA of 2.75 along with an ERA+ of 169, he was rewarded with the Cy Young Award that season and won his only playoff start that season.
  • He's 7-7 in the playoffs with an ERA of 3.25, those stats are swayed by his awful start against Detroit last season
  • He threw over 220 innings in the last two seasons and had an ERA+ of 116 both seasons
  • VORP (2004-2006): 31.5, 41.8, 49.9 Wells (2004-2006): 30.8, 32.0, 58.9

So why put the Wells comps? Because, they were given the exact same amount of money over the same number of years. While Zito did not progress as much in 2005, he had a bigger jump in 2006. Why am I mentioning this? Because, Zito would look good between Halladay and Burnett right now and Wells could be playing on his contract year in the outfield...
Ok so what do the 'experts' think about it?

  • Crasnick has no opinion apparently but breaks down the signing...points out Zito's durability and the fact that he's less of an injury risk because he's not a hard thrower. Also, his fit as a flyball pitcher in the cavernous SF park seems positive
  • Keith Law...hates it! Three big reasons: length, declining fastball, 'overratedness'
  • Ratto seems confused about his own opinion...'bold, insane, needed'
  • Jacob Luft thinks they'll still finish 4th
  • More opinions to come I'm sure

So what do I think? People are desperate for pitching and the Giants paid for an overrated yet quite good pitcher. This is only $25 million than the Red Sox paid to sign an unproven asian pitcher for 6 seasons.

So moving on...there's an excellent article on BBTF about rotations! Read it today, I will use it soon to analyze certain rotations.

Finally, another segment of 'ask dan':

Who's the next GM you're doing? I nominate Ash to compare him with Ricciardi!

Actually, Ash is the one I was thinking of doing, then I thought about Mark Shapiro and Brian Cashman. So it will be one of the three...not sure which one yet but most probably Ash.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2nd update of the day...Zito signs, Big Unit rumors

It seems that Barry Zito has finally found a home, as a report has him signing with the Giants for the identical contract that Vernon Wells just signed (7 year, $126 million). His VORP was 49.9 and his ERA+ was 116 last season. When Burnett signed his contract with Toronto last year, his ERA+ had been 117 the year before and his VORP had been 33.1. More comparisons later...

It seems that the Yanks are asking for three young pitchers from the D'backs for the
Big Unit. Brandon Medders interests them although Arizona would rather give up Luis Vizcaino

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On the road again....

Well I'm currently on the road, so here's a first update for the day, I'm unsure whether I'll get another on in but I should.
The Yankees have finally signed Kei Igawa on the eve of the deadline. He is set to join a rotation with Wang, Mussina and Pettitte. This allows them to deal Johnson with a bit more ease because Pavano and Hughes will battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Keith Law also does not like the Hillenbrand signing citing that it will take away playing time from their young players, as I stated yesterday and that they didn't need another player who doesn't walk much and can't work players.

Finally, I'll answer questions if you post them, for the people who've e-mailed me, they know that I'll answer quickly...So the first installment of 'ask Dan'...

What'd you think of that Barfield trade? Obviously signing Giles changes the
dynamics but what'd you think before that happened?

I actually liked the trade as a baseball deal when I saw it. Barfield filled a big hole for the Indians at the time and Kouzmanoff is a good hitter who just mashes at every level. He struggled last year but with the low amount of at-bats, you can't exactly make conclusions from that season. He also filled a hole for the Padres in being a third baseman and being a righty power bat. He's battled injuries however so there's a warning flag. As for Brown, he's a power reliever who lacks control so it will be whether or not he accepts to drop a lil velocity in exchange for higher control. The Padres make away like bandits in this deal however with the signing of Giles, something they may have been thinking about when making this deal (knowing the Braves may non-tender him and they'd have an advantage because of his brother)

wednesday news

It seems that Keith Foulke will join the Cleveland Indians next season. Foulke has struggled because of injuries but in 2006 his ERA+ was of 106 in 49 innings. The AL Central may quickly be taking over as the dominant division of the American League. They have the past two ALCS winners and have four legitimate contenders. They've lost Brown and Kouzmanoff in the trade for Josh Barfield, and they've also signed four above average relievers Joe Borowski (2006: 115 ERA+), Aaron Fultz (2006: 102 ERA+) and Roberto Hernandez (2006: 143 ERA+) . They added 3 relievers with closing experience to help out a bullpen that had to suffer through 3 blown saves (and 4 losses) from Fausto Carmona in one week after trading Bob Wickman.

The other addition they made to their offense, along with 2B Barfield, was outfielder David Dellucci, who is a left-handed hitter who specializes against righties and last year had an OPS+ of 125+. It looks like they'll live with Victor Martinez's defensive deficiencies at catcher to make room for Ryan Garko at 1st base. I actully received Dealing: The Cleveland Indians New Ballgame for Christmas to read all about Mark Shapiro, I'll let everyone know how good it is.

The Angels may be pulling out of the Helton negotiations now that they've agreed to a deal with Shea Hillenbrand, possibly for $6.5 million. This guy put up a total VORP of 5.1 last season! 5.1! And he's mostly a DH! He had an OPS+ of 93! If you look at last year's stats it easily makes him one of the worse signings of an already bad off-season, but at least it's only a one year commitment. Remember when I mentioned the bad luck of Juan Rivera's injury? Well, they mention that it's one of the reasons they picked up Hillenbrand. Not sure how this works out though because they're essentially taking at-bats away from some good young players like Quinlan and Kotchman and giving them to Hillenbrand. And of course, the clubhouse chemistry will be so much better now...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Epstein Trade Analysis + Tidbits

So the Epstein Trade Analysis was posted as previously mentioned, there were 17 trades analyzed and of those 17, according to my humble opinion:

  • 5 were Player Acquisition deals meant to improve the team without giving up Major League talent. He added 155.8 runs more than he gave up while taking on approxamitely $16.5 million in first year salaries
  • 5 were baseball deals were the players traded were pretty even except for positions
  • 5 were Role Player Acquisitions meant to slighlty improve the team without giving up Major League talent where he added approxamitely $3 million added 17 runs
  • 1 was a player dump (Kim)
  • 1 was a role player dump (Mientkiewicz's $3.75 million, his VORP was only 4.8 that season)
Now what's interesting is comparing his "baseball deals" to the other GMs that have been researched. The five deals I qualified for this section werethe deals involving: Giambi, Hillenbrand, Garciaparra, Roberts/Payton and Payton/Bradford. Of the trades in these categories...Theo "lost" every one! He added $5 million to his first year salary base in the process while giving up an incredible 151 runs according to VORP. Hillenbrand and Roberts were both much better than the players received in production and Matt Murton has turned out to be a good player as of yet. The other GMs studied:
  • Depodesta made 5 of these types of deals where he rid himself of over $6 million of first year salaries while adding 29 runs to his team above replacement level
  • Beane made 9 trades of this type and he added 250 runs of VORP while adding only $8 million in payroll...and that's without adding the value of players received in trades for players originally received in these types of deals (Long, Lilly, 1st round picks)
  • Ricciardi didn't fare as well...Of the 7 baseball deals made , Ricciardi added almost $3.5 in salaries and lost 23 VORP runs. But that's still better than Theo...
So what am I saying? Well nothing, I'm just pointing out the stats. But it seems for all the good pub that Epstein received for being a great general manager, he made several mistakes when making trades. However, he has a ring and none of the other three GMs studied do, so maybe stats don't tell the whole story! Again, if you want to read even more about Epstein's reign as Red Sox GM, pick up Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin. There's also an article over at ESPN Page 2 about how the Sox are the new "evil empire".

Little bit of news:
The Yanks are in talks to trade the Big Unit back to Arizona? Interesting, and most probably a shame for Jays fans, RJ is old and the Yankees would just get younger again. The New York Daily News reports that a trade to San Diego may be most likely. It seems that the Orioles are staying busy and are interested in Shannon Stewart.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Trade for the holidays

Merry Christmas everyone, in case you haven't noticed, the Theo Epstein trade analysis is up, when I come back from holidays I'll analyze it a bit further here and work on some past ones. The White Sox and Rangers have agreed to a five player deal that will see Brandon McCarthy become a Ranger. Interesting deal, has anyone benefitted from having a surplus of pitching more than the White Sox? McCarthy has performed well out of the pen for Chicago, last season he had an ERA+ of 100 in 84.7 innings, the previous year he mostly started and had an ERA+ of 110. The 6'7 23 year old is a former 17th round pick and was traded to Texas with 18 year old outfielder David Paisano. In exchange, Chicago receives three pitchers; lefty, and former first round pick, John Danks along with righties Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner. Danks was ranked as the number one Texas prospect by baseball america, while Masset was 8th on their list. Jay Mariotti, for one, doesn't like the trade. It seems the White Sox are constantly trying to build from within and as Mariotti states this is two pitchers that are traded for prospects. This would make a lot of sense if the White Sox didn't have such a strong team.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Feeding the Monster book review

Before I get to the review, let's scan the news from across the league...not much going on. The Globe and Mail has a report that salaries were up 9% last season to an average of $2,699,292 US. Can't wait to see the figures next year... Interesting that amongst the teams with the 12 lowest average salaries, only one finished with a winning record...the 2006 Toronto Blue Jays. The Mets met with Jeff Suppan yesterday and the Cubs seem close to another free agent deal, this time with Cliff Floyd. Finally, everyone's favorite catcher Rod Barajas seems to have found a home with the Phillies for less money, but we're not reporting this until he takes the physical.

So I picked up Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin and I found it to be a tremendous book. It is an amazing chronicle of the journey that led to the Red Sox becoming World Champions. It begins with the introduction to the ownership group and all their trials and tribulations in trying to acquire ANY Major League team. In this part, there were A LOT of stories that I had not heard previously which made it absolutely fascinating. They also go through the near hiring of Billy Beane, the hiring of Epstein and all the subsequent moves and near moves. The near-trades of Manny Ramirez are all discussed pretty openly in the book as is the locker room battles between different players. It ends finally with the bizarre Epstein resignation and then his re-hiring. Mnookin did an incredible job of interview as many stakeholders as possible and getting all the stories from different vantage points. There's a lot in this book that had not previously been mentioned openly. The entire Nomar saga leading up to the trade and the reaction to the trade is fabulously chronicled. All in all, I think it's a great read for any baseball or sport fan.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Not too much going on in the baseball world. If there was anything, it would have been overshadowed by the big Iverson trade yesterday. How the best player in the NBA can be traded for only two first round picks and some cap filler is interesting. For Toronto fans, this makes the Carter trade look not as bad, right? Right???

Darryl Strawberry has decided to start dispensing advice, and he begins by saying that the Yankees can be fixed if only Jeter embraces ARod...In the same article, there's mention of Pete Rose backing Mark McGwire, I'm sure he appreciates it Pete. And finally, the Yanks are speaking with Mark Loretta about the opening at 1B and still trying to acquire reliever Mike Gonzalez from the Pirates. Loretta at 1B doesn't make much sense to me, he's undervalued as a second baseman...

The Mets are in Los Angeles to attempt to convince Barry Zito to sign. Rob Neyer has an interesting article about how good Zito is and how Boras is trying to sell him to teams.

I don't think I've seen something funnier than this translated video clip, turn down your speakers if you're watching it at work! This kid really doesn't like the Cubs moves...

  • And Hardball Times has an article on the free agent remaining pitchers and their potential impacts on teams that could sign them. Zito only adding 3 wins above replacement level? I'd still take it if I was the Jays and kick Towers out of the rotation.
And the new Transformers preview is out, brings me back to my childhood, except this movie looks...crazy!

I think I'm going to look into this trading of the best players in each league, see what teams got back and compare it. Look for that later today

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday reading

Well the talk is starting to go from the Wells re-signing to the "Hunt for Pitching 2006-2007". The Star has comments from Ricciardi saying that trades are getting harder to make and that at some point the young pitchers are going to have to come up and pitch for them. He says the biggest priority is to replace Lilly's innings. In quotes for the Sun he admits that there's a lot of interest in Rios but also in the young pitching that the Jays have. And finally in another article from the Sun, Paul Godfrey admits that there was initially "sticker shock" from seeing the price tag on Vernon Wells' contract offer but after seeing the market, the Jays understood it was the move to make. Buster Olney states that the Jays aren't targetting Penny, speculates that Adam Loewen could interest the Jays (there's an obvious statement) but that the two teams are probably not a fit. The most interesting rumour being reported is a 3 way between the Mets, Jays and A's involving Rios, Heilman, Milledge and Blanton.

Monday, December 18, 2006

State of the team

The press conference was pretty tame, Vernon Wells really looked appreciative of the commitment made by the Jays and seemed awestruck of the money given to him, although his agents had predicted this type of market. Ted Rogers had an interesting comment and one that I think was directed not only as a general message about Canada but also to Jays fans who think that they overpaid Wells. The comment's point was to the fact that Canada as a whole needs to start the necessary price to acquire the resources we need and to keep them around, including what the Jays did with Vernon Wells. Other interesting points during the conference:

  • The figure seems to be exactly what Wells and his agents had identified back in October
  • Ricciardi stated that there was some wiggle room to be creative for pitching
  • Rogers admitted to not being the baseball man of the organization and then went on to make comments that he felt comfortable with the pitching staff and what not.
  • The Jays are pushing this commitment thing, Godfrey went on about it, think it will be the slogan? "Committed to winning?", I would probably prefer "You know we're not winning the division but we're committed to trying"
  • No one asked about trade rumors or Rios/Johnson's status...
This move by the Jays is actully being met with positivity even with writers who aren't usually Ricciardi fans such as Dayn Perry. Dave Perkins also likes the deal but then goes on to state that the Jays have lost ground because of the starting pitching. The rumors have started to come out that Rios would be the trade bait...Buster Olney, who also liked the deal, reports that the Jays are shopping him. He mentions Penny, Blanton and an interesting Rios/something(like a young starter maybe?) for Heilman and Milledge. That would be interesting because it would be a downgrade in the OF but an upgrade with the pitching where the Jays need it.

Possibly dissapointing news as JD Drew's physical has raised a red flag and the deal may not happen with the Red Sox. I think this would kill what could have possibly been the worse deal this off-season, and that's saying a lot. And finally, I'm finishing up Feeding the Monster, and it is a great read, i'll do a review in the next few days if ever I sit down long enough.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vernon Wells is the Jays CF for the next 8 years

Well it looks like the Jays will have a press conference on Monday to announce that they have agreed to a 7 year deal with Wells for $126 million. The contract is quite backloaded...and starts for the 2008 season, includes a no trace clause and an opt-out after four season. Here are the details:

  • 2008: 0.5 million contract + 8.5 million signing bonus
  • 2009: 1.5 million contract + 8.5 million signing bonus
  • 2010: 12.5 million contract + 8.5 million signing bonus
  • 2011: $23 million
  • 2012-2014: $21 million each season
  • Bonuses of $250,000 for MVP, $200,000 for World Series MVP, $150,000 for league championship series MVP and $100,000 for receiving the most votes in his league in All-Star game balloting.

It's a massive deal but he probably would have had more if he tested the free agent market...the Jays have him locked up and now have a nice core of locked up players. TO's great...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dice-K and Vernon

  • Buster Olney has a great article on the Boston/Dice-K situation that played out over this week. I really wonder if Boston has anything left to try to go get a closer or if they're done. That pitching staff looks good up to the closer position at this point.
  • Ken Rosenthal states that it is almost a done deal with Vernon Wells. Olney also states that it looks like Wells would accept a contract extension with the Jays while Griffin says that this amount will not be enough. In the Rosenthal article it is mentioned that the Jays may trade one of their extra outfielders for some pitching. I'd advocate this move even though we might lose a very special talent simply because corner outfielders are maybe one of the easiest positions to replace AND the Jays top two prospects are outfielders.
  • It's looking more and more likely that Marcus Giles will go play with his brother in San Jays fans can stop thinking about it
  • I'm heading to Toronto this morning and luckily I have a new book in hand. I guess this will count as my weekly book recommendation for any baseball fan.
    It's Feeding the Monster : How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top, a book about the John Henry era in Boston. It's pretty interesting reading about all the crap Henry and co. had to go through to even purchase the team (or in Henry's case A team since he was selling the Marlins to Loria and trying to purchase in succession the A's, Angels and Red Sox). It's a good easy read as of yet and full of little tidbits I was not aware of so check it out.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Busy times

Well I updated the AL East off-season review. By looking at it, the Orioles become scarier although we've seen them improve like this before but the team actully looks solid from top to bottom. They've quietly been one of the most improved teams this off-season. The re-design is underway, I hope to get it done this week but who knows...In case you haven't heard the Red Sox have finally signed Dice-K. This looks like it will be another tough season for the Jays...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Colorado/Houston trade + Winter Meetings Wrap-up

Afternoon update, the Red Sox are flying with D-Mat back to Boston, which makes it seem that a deal got done today! Alright there was a big trade yesterday involving 5 players and quite possibly one of the best starters on the trade market...let's run through it. Starting with what the Astros receive

Jason Jennings: Solid, solid 27 year old starter! He has been good in Colorado and had a career year last year with an ERA+ of 127 in 212 innings, although it didn’t help his 9-13 record. Not much you can say, he was an even more valuable commodity in this market and the Rockies maximized their return.

Miguel Asencio: The 26 year-old barely pitched in the Majors last season (3 games), he’s been with 3 different organizations already and will now attempt to start for the Astros. Not exactly a prospect, i'm thinking he'll get a shot at the bullpen…

Willy Taveras: 25 year old centre fielder was made expendable by the Carlos Lee signing…I guess. The Astros don’t have THAT much so that they can give him up but to acquire a starting pitcher in this market, it might be worth it. He regressed at the plate last year (OPS+ of 72 down from 77). He’s got good speed and stole 33 bases while getting caught only 9 times last year (78.5) which added about 5 stolen base runs to his team’s total. He has no power but he’s a good leadoff type hitter if he can work on his walks. He may love the spaciousness of Coors Field.

Jason Hirsh: Apprently he is the key to this deal, he struggled last year during his first stint in the Majors. The righthander was the number one prospect for the Astros according to Baseball America last year. His ERA+ was 75 in 44 innings last season…let’s hope he isn’t intimidated by the Coors Field air.

Taylor Buchholz : A young 25 year old starter, did not pitch great last year but has good potential, he was once their top prospect back in 2003 after being part of the Billy Wagner deal. Had an ERA+ of 77 in 19 starts for 113 innings. Got some good strikeout numbers, and K/BB…maybe best suited for a relief role however the strikeout ratio will help in Colorado.

So a lot of you have were the Winter Meetings? They were cool, quite interesting to walk around. This year, the Winter Meetings were spread through two hotels that were connected at DisneyWorld called the Swan and Dolphin.
That big triangular one is the Dolphin, that hotel was where all the major league activity was along with the trade show. The farther one is the Swan where the Job Fair happened. Essentially, in the lobby of the Dolphin the media hung out and waited for scoops or for someone to walk through. It didn't happen often!!! An agent would come down to send a message through the media but the Major League staff essentially avoided traffic and stayed upstairs. When Barry Bonds came, he came QUITE early in the morning so that he would not be bothered. All in all, it was interesting to be there but I'm not sure that media outlets will keep sending the amount of journalists that were sent because in this new modern age, they don't gain much by being there.

I have three items from the winter meetings that I'm thinking of putting up for a contest or if someone gets me a job with a Major League team, I'm willing to trade them for that. Any thoughts on contests or anything? It's a hat, ball and a luggage card...should be updates through out the day depending...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Free Agency

night update: there's lots going on so why wait till the morning
first and foremost: This article claims that Wells has been offered a monster(!!!) 7 year package by the Blue Jays that would pretty much keep him around for life.

  • The Braves have made both Marcus Giles and Chris Reitsma free agents. Giles would look good in a Jays uniform but I think it's unlikely. Reitsma could also be interesting, he's coming off surgery but if he's not too expensive he could be the setup man.
  • Eric Gagne has signed with Texas. I'm happy he'll be able to continue his career but Texas reportedly gave him a guaranteed $8 million for next season. That's a lot for a guy with his arm trouble, of course he is a Boras client.
  • The Jays signed both Matt Stairs and Jason Smith today. The interesting thing is that Stairs got a minor league deal(with $850,000 if he makes the team) and that Smith got a flat $500,000. So Stairs will have to play his way onto the team.
  • Finally, Jason Jennings has been traded to Houston after their failure to re-sign Andy Pettitte, this trade will be analyzed here tomorrow!

Well first the good news, after this second wave of signings, the avg cost per VORP for both categories has gone down! So either general managers are getting smarter or the first round of prestige signings that increase ticket sales increased their contract cost. It seems as though some guys fell through the cracks because of other reasons than their offense...Aurilia, Durham, Dellucci, Lieberthal and even the Lofton signing. Keith Law actully talks about what a bargain Lofton is as compared to Mr. Matthews. The Dodgers signing of Luis Gonzalez seems like one that could really bite them certainly when you think of the players he is blocking at this point. You can take a look at the data here.

Tuesday morning

Today should be a busy day on here, expect the free agent tracker to be updated, the AL East off-season and possibly a new GM article. Not too much action around the League but the AL East is keeping busy...

The Orioles have signed free agent outfielder Jay Payton, formerly of the A's. The contract is for two years at $9.5 million per season. It's not a bad deal, Payton plays all three outfield position and is mostly a contact guy. The Orioles seem pretty deep in the outfield now so it will be interesting what decisions they take.

The Red Sox are having a lot of fun negotiating with Scott Boras for Matsuzaka ...apparently he's refusing to counter their offers and the deadline is quickly approaching. I don't think the Sox would overpay and I seriously think they'd let him go back to Japan without a contract...Will they turn their attention to the Rocket for one last launch? Buster Olney wonders whether Matsuzaka even knows what Boston is offering or if Boras is chasing the dollars. The super-agent is quite scary when it comes down to it, it seems that Boras has too much power in his player's decisions and may be doing what's best for the players' wallets but not involve the players' full interests.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Ant Brigade

Well I'm back in beautiful Canada, I'm missing the sun already even though the ground is not white. I know that there's been a lack of updates while I was gone but I hope everyone make up for it this week should be a big week for the site. The re-design should happen this week, there will be a new GM analysis, I will update the FA sheet and the AL East moves and I'm working on getting a new domain for everything! If anyone has any requests let me know, i've enjoyed the e-mails whether they've been constructive, complimentary or critical.

  • ESPN has an article discussing the Jays wanting to keep Wells through '07. Good news for all Wells fans although Ricciardi is quite non-committal about it...
  • The news and rumors should be a bit quieter now as we enter the Christmas period...leave people time to check out the Iverson trade talk.
  • John Sickels posted his preliminary list of Top 20 Jays Prospects and it can be discussed with him before he publishes his book to help him rank the players. I like his analysis of the Jays system, two great hitters at the top followed by many flawed pitchers who have one good/great quality. I think he undervalues Chip Cannon, but that may be because he's been one of my fav prospects...

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Well it's windy here in Florida, and the winds of change have not yet stopped blowing in the Majors. The Cubs are continuing their spending spree by bringing in Jason Marquis today and the Yankees have signed Andy Pettitte and that will probably mean a Rocket Yankee comeback. Meanwhile in Jays land, the question is: how to address the pitching staff? Indications have it that they're in sign or get traded talks with Wells and if they don't get a deal done, he could very well be traded.

Two interesting articles today from the T.O. newspapers:

  • The Star has an article stating that Lilly may not have come back because he does not see eye-to-eye with Gregg Zaun. Therefore, if Wells is traded it may all lead back to Barajas backing out of his contract
  • The Sun meanwhile has comments from Buddy Bell criticizing for his honest comments about Gil Meche.

Tomorrow, I shall be back in the great white north. The mistakes on the articles will be cleaned up as I will test them with every browser and I will be posting a new GM analysis soon. There will also be a re-design of the site coming up quickly!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Morning Update

So the Jays left the Winter Meetings without a starting pitcher, although who would want to give Gil Meche the money that is being given to AJ Burnett? Steve Phillips named the Jays the losers of the Winter Meetings for not being able to acquire a starter. It hurts but I would've cringed all season if Meche was going out there for $11 million a season. The Jays don't seem to be in the Zito hunt so call me dissapointed...

At least we know that Meche chose a team where he had a chance to make the playoffs, it's not like he just jumped onto the worse team in one of the toughest divisions, if not the toughest...I love JP's comments in this article about dodging a bullet and Meche saying winning is important then going to KC.

Unfortunately, the last two spots in the Jays rotation will now go to 2 of Towers, Janssen, Taubenheim, Marcum or McGowan. Or potentially worse...there could be a trade...let's look at the rumors(and there will be plenty)

I hope that Vernon does not go, and that they can work something through Johnson and Jennings. That would however leave the team without a leadoff hitter (Rios?) and leave Lind or *gulp* Stairs in LF...Well I'm going out to enjoy the sunshine, I hear it's snowing back in Ontario...pity. Saw the Lightning win 8-0 last night in one of the most beautiful offensive displays I've ever seen.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

update from Florida

Well it was a good time at the Winter Meetings, we have now moved on to Tampa to go watch some hockey! Only a Canadian would be excited to go to Florida to watch hockey...I've been e-mailed saying that in certain browsers the Articles graphics screw up, will look into it whenever I get home. There's also a site re-design coming and most probably our own domain name!

Enough with the boreing stuff. Why the heck did the Jays sign Matt Stairs? I'm not sure he'll be a positive contributor for them and if I see him once in the outfield, I think I'll snap. I like the guy a lot but with Thomas at DH and Overbay at 1B, I don't see Stairs as much more than a late inning pinch hitter and maybe 20 starts. Hopefully he did not cost too much.

The Lilly signing with Chicago hurts but I believe JP and co. were ready for this, they will move on to Meche and if negotiations get too costly go with the trade route. Tough break tho, certainly that Lilly's compensation is only a sandwich pick.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Meetings update

Not too much to report that hasn't been reported. Spoke with Lilly's agent today who says there are more teams in the mix than just Chicago and Toronto and that they will NOT wait for Zito to sign to set the market. The lobby is crazy, with 100 journalists milling about waiting for news and surging anyone who walks through the lobby. The respect given to Peter Gammons is absolutely incredible. Lugo should sign with the Sox VERY soon and there doesn't seem to be a Manny deal. As for the Jays, same ole same ole with Lilly/Meche...if anything interesting happens, I'll let everyone know. Wish me luck, i have interviews tomorrow!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Licensing corner

McFarlane Toys are showing off their next series of figures and good news for Jays fans…Troy Glaus will be one of them. There will also be a Robinson Cano figure along with four others.

Need to do some Christmas shopping?
This Jays hat from New Era is just awesome , they have it on the Jays shop. If I didn’t already have 9 full back Jays hats, I’d be all over it!

And has anyone seen these? Baseball cuff bracelets!!! Apparently it’s for men although the model in the picture is a girl. If anyone needs to add something to my Xmas list, this would be it!

As for books, you know my sport suggestion Lewis book, my non-sport book Freakonomics and I will reccommend baseball book?

If you haven’t seen the hilarity that ensued during the Carlos Lee signing press conference, click here. Essentially the Astros had a jersey for him that was much too small and Lee struggled with it throughout the press conference. Because nothing says we value our $100 million player like not giving him a big enough jersey!

My beloved Ottawa Lynx are becoming the Lehigh Valley IronPigs next season. I know that Lynx was not the greatest name for a ball team but IronPigs? If you need to know what an IronPig is, they elaborate here

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Depodesta's reign posted, wrapped up

Oh by the way, I'm leaving Saturday for the baseball Winter Meetings so when there are updates, they'll be straight from Florida! The Paul Depodesta analysis is up and ready to go. In it there were 13 trades that were examined that came down to being categorized as 5 baseball deals, 3 player acquisitions, 2 player dumps and one role player dump. In the end, sort of surprising for a big market team but he ended up getting rid of approximately just under $8 million in first year salaries more than he took in (even when including the Shawn Green payment to Arizona). He was also successful according to VORP in his trades as he ended up acquiring about 50 runs for his team more than he gave up.

He was successful when making baseball deals; in those 5 deals he rid himself of over $6 million of first year salaries while adding 29 runs to his team above replacement level. The 3 trades he made to acquire players while giving up minor league types were successful as they added 68.9 in VORP while adding just over $7 million in salaries. Meanwhile, the two player dump salaries he made rid himself of just over $7 million in salaries also while only losing 33.8 in VORP.

  • I have another book suggestion for everyone, Blind Side. It's Moneyball author Michael Lewis' new book about football that explores the workings of the sport while following the incredible story of a malnourished deserted kid who was taken in by a Christian family. The kid's story is absolutely incredible, Lewis was on Jim Rome today and the kid was deserted by his mom as one of 13 kids (from 6 different fathers) and left to fend for himself. He was taken in by someone and given all the opportunities in the world to succeed and has become a top football prospect. I picked it up today and I already enjoy it

Friday, December 01, 2006

AL East Review

Not much going on in Jays land for once is a lie...they've re-signed Jason Phillips for $500,000. The great Royce Clayton debate rages on the internet meanwhile Jays opponents have taken steps to get better. You can click on any player's name to see their statistics:

The Sox apparently got a great deal on one of their Asian pitchers, Hideji Okajima. They signed him to a 2 year deal for only $2.5 million. Epstein sees him as the setup man and occasional LOOGY. Who's their closer gonna be tho? Apparently, Papelbon will be in the rotation so there's a situation worth watching. As of yet, this is the only move by the Red Sox aside from re-signing Alex Cora for two years. They will be busy before too long though with the Manny trade possibility, signing Daisuke and Drew and whatever else they can get their hands into.

The Yanks have been really quiet since making a couple trades. As of yet they've lost Sheffield and Wright in trades along with Crosby as a free agent. They've added two relievers Chris Britton and Humberto Sanchez and re-signed Mike Mussina. They also won the rights to Japanese lefty Kei Igawa for $26 million. Rumors had them linked to Hillenbrand but the Yanks keep their cards close to his chest.

We know that they know the off-season started because they acquired the negotiation rights for Japanese slugger Akinori Iwamura. That is all...

They've been busiest. They spent over $40 million to rebuild their bullpen (Bradford, Williamson, Baez and Walker), re-signed 1B Kevin Millar and signed backup catcher Paul Bako. They also completed a trade with the Yankees trading bullpen arm Chris Britton for Jaret Wright.

  • Here's an article about the sad state of the Pirates and how they got to this point.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

News from here and...there

Well well well...lots of differing opinions about yesterday's signing but encouraging signs that JP is trying to completely stock his pitching staff. If he gets two starting pitchers, the rotation would look like Halladay-Burnett-SP1-SP2-Chacin, leaving a whole lot of young pitchers out of a job. Let's see if he signs both what he would do. I think a trade involving Chacin or a couple of the young arms may be coming, hopefully for some impact position prospects (hopefully in the middle infield). In this article, it is mentioned that Russ will start the season at AAA as I expected. I did some more work on the free agent database to add the latest signings, I found some interesting tidbits offensively...

  • Clayton and Counsell both had negative VORP years last season, have very similar 3 year VORP avgs and are relatively the same age. Counsell got two years, $6 million while Clayton got a one year commitment from the Jays for $1.5 million. The difference may come in Counsell's better defensive numbers last season...but still looks like JP got a relative bargain in this market, Clayton's $/3 year avg VORP is the 3rd lowest of all free agent signings
  • Zaun is another terrific bargain when looking at both last year's VORP and the 3 year avg VORP, he's under $250,000 per run for each category.
  • Adam Kennedy is an amazing bargain in this market, as was talked about when he signed that contract

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the Jays have a new Shortstop

Well I thought I wouldn't miss too much if I took a personal day but the Jays decided to sign another free agent: Royce Clayton! Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a done deal, 1 year, $1.5 million. Clayton is not the most impressive signing but comes cheaply and has great hair! Seriously though the guy brings a good glove but not much of a bat as you can tell by looking at his OPS+ of 66 last year and his total VORP of -1.9. It will allow the Jays to keep Adams at AAA to help him find whatever he lost while they carry McDonald and Clayton as 2nd and 3rd middle infielders. Clayton is a pure SS while McDonald can play both middle infield positions and has played SOME 3b. I wouldn't be surprised to see McDonald practice a bit more at 3B to make him Glaus' backup.

  • Bigger news may be in this article, where it is stated that the Clayton signing is to allow money to go to TWO starters, not just one...Lilly and Meche? WOW!
  • The full story on Barajas
  • The Jays heavily courted Meche yesterday and would love to end up with him. Hentgen and Thomas entertained him as well as the staff
  • In this article, it is stated that Wells is not being used in 2007 promotional material, just in case
  • The Yanks have won the rights to the second Japanese pitcher to hit the market, paying $25 million. This should decrease their interest in one Theodore Lilly.
  • Kevin Millar will rejoin the Orioles who have spent a lot of money in free agency as of yet on their bullpen, 1b and backup catcher. Rosenthal speaks of the bullpen "upgrade".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Book Corner: Freakonomics

I've decided that I will start a bi-weekly(or-so) column about different litterature that I recommend, mostly baseball books that you may have skipped over or that people don't know about yet. This time however I am starting with a book which isn't about baseball *gasp*. It's a book I recently completed and it's called freakonomics. I know the name sounds strange, however the book is written by an award winning economist who uses his knowledge to explore social issues instead of the same old economics issues.
It's a great read and written simply (because of the influence of a co-writer), and surprisingly not as dryly as I was expecting. In one chapter, the book explores the inside workings of a drug dealing gang and finds out that their inner workings are very much like that of a big company with a board of directors, 'district managers' and then the underpaid grunts. I found this chapter to be absolutely fascinating. In another, he examines a conspiracy of match fixing in sumo wrestling along with cheating teachers who help their students perform well on state exams to keep their positions. Throughout the book, there is a heavy usage of statistics which is one reason I recommend it to readers of this page. But it is an absolutely fascinating read and I truly recommend it to everyone to read something entertaining and that may make you explore new ways of thinking. Click on the title to be brought straight to the amazon page, i believe it's on sale for under $20...

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

  • Also, JP Ricciardi missed an interview on the FAN tonight because he was entertaining a free agent. The mystery man is Gil Meche who was at the Leafs game tonight!
  • Updates on the hat below!

A new hat!

Well the Toronto Blue Jays are unveiling a new hat today at the Frank Thomas press conference! It's a black hat with a scripted "T" in the gray/blue scheme. This hat will most probably replace the grey hat that the team stopped wearing last year. A pic of the new hat (and new DH) to the right..News from the press conference:

  • They came to terms with Gregg Zaun at "midnight last night", he "was the first choice all along"
  • Overbay gave up his number and Thomas said "he'd do something special for him". Thomas enjoyed his convo with Lyle and mentioned that Lyle was considering going back to number 11
  • No payroll yet, or at least they won't reveal it

    Now look at this jersey, it was suggested that we should compare the T's...and sure enough the T from the Toronto in the jersey does not match the T on the hat. So hopefully the hat won't be worn with the jersey that says Toronto and only with the Black 'Jays' jersey. I can't believe they did not use the same script....And confirmation from the star that the Jays will no longer wear their grey caps and will alternate between the black hats. Godfrey was quoted as saying that the fans and players like them most.

There's gotta be a morning after

Ok well...the Jays catcher next season will be....Gregg Zaun! According to Jeff Blair, the Jays have re-signed their catcher to a 2 year, $7.25 million deal that includes an option for a third season for $3.5 million based on games played. So the two sides conceded a bit of their demands to come to an agreement. It seems that Rod Barajas did not show up for the physical because there was pressure from the MLBPA to ask for more money than what he took. The deal would have paid him less annually than he made last year, something not appreciated by the rest of the Players' Association. He fired his agent and will now be looking for a new deal with a new team with a new agent. Buster Olney meanwhile suggests that maybe the Jays are covering for Barajas and that he failed his physical, unlikely but you never know. More as details break...

Monday, November 27, 2006

WTH??? Zaun on the verge of re-signing?

Apparently, Zaun is on the verge of re-signing with the Blue Jays. This is completely out of left field.... There's no word on the Barajas deal but I'm guessing it's not official yet...Could JP have used the Barajas leverage to drive Zaun's price down? Or did he just sign two FA catchers to give him incredible depth at the position? Apparently, the Jays deal with Barajas deal broke down. Barajas allegedly cancelled his trip for his physical...More as soon as more breaks honestly... Jeff Blair reports that a source told him "One of these guys is going to be the Blue Jays catcher," and Ricciardi has said that there is no deal with anyone at this time and that he hopes to have a deal with someone done this week, no comment on Barajas. Newsday in NY reports that the Jays HAVE re-signed Zaun and that he was due to fly to New York to meet the Yanks' management but that has "been put on hold".

Jeff Blair has his latest article about John Gibbons and still no further news on the signings. He does however speculate about the lineup and shares the possibility of Wells hitting second. That would be one fearsome lineup if they did that.

Something we do know is that there should be a press conference for the Thomas signing tomorrow, where JP will probably avoid all catcher questions.

Sportsnet News at 10pm reports that Rod Barajas was not signed by the Jays...and that it COULD be that Zaun is CLOSE to re-signing with Toronto.

If EVER both are's their splits over the last three seasons
Barajas : vs LHP .712 OPS, vs RHP .746 OPS
Zaun: vs LHP .809 OPS, vs RHP .752 OPS

So I believe Zaun would get all the at-bats vs LHP if both are signed with them mostly splitting time vs RHP.

Free Agent Review

As of yet in free agency, teams seem to be paying incredible amounts for hitters. Looking at Value Over Replacement Player and the salaries handed out during free agency is a good way to measure what teams are paying for the production received in free agency. Obviously, it is very basic and does not factor in defense or any personality characteristics such as leadership. The data can be found HERE. Of the 19 hitters who were given contracts worth over $1 million a season as of Sunday; teams are handing out an average of $479,680.77 per run in VORP, according to the 2006 statistics. When looking at the hitters’ VORP averaged out over the last three seasons, the amount increases to $509,906.71 although this is heavily affected by the contract given to Scott Spiezio, when this contract is removed the average team is giving out $319,312.99 per run in VORP.

It seems most teams are looking at long term statistics and not just last year’s production, as 11 of the 19 hitters signed had a worse year, according to VORP, than their 3 year average. Spiezio is one of the exceptions, he cashed in on his first positive VORP in 3 seasons (possibly because of the move to the National League) and his contract looks good if only taking in only last season’s numbers.

So as of yet, the worse signing according to VORP is Alex Gonzalez who was signed more so for his defense than any offensive production he could provide. Impressively Kaz Matsui and Wes Helms are the best bargains this season according to the stats. I’m honestly surprised Kaz did not get more attention for playing a difficult position and being better than the replacement player.

The Cubs *GASP* overpaid for their free agents except Aramis Ramirez although if you look at the 3 year average, Pierre may actually be a comparative bargain compared to the other signings. The fat contract handed out to Gary Matthews Jr. is an overpay (again in this year’s market) but only if you look at the 3 year average. If you look at only the 2006 VORP, the contract may be a comparative bargain.

Finally, Jays fans may be interested to know that Frank Catalanotto is a comparative bargain in this year’s market as he is paid less than the average per VORP for both the 2006 seasons and the three year average. Frank Thomas is a comparative bargain also as he is vastly underpaid according to alst year’s numbers and is right around the average when utilizing the three year average numbers, that includes his injury riddled 2005 season.

As for Rod Barajas, if he is signed for two years, $ six million? Well if you only look at last year’s numbers, it’s not pretty…but if you look at the three year average VORP, he’s right around the average also.

Early Morning news

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Depodesta's Reign Part 2: Trade Deadline Fun

Here's part two for your reading pleasure, the article will most probably be posted Tuesday if not earlier. I'm also working on a free agent review for the hitters as of yet utilizing *gasp* sabrmetric statistics.

9: Traded Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion to Florida for Hee Seop Choi, Brad Penny and minor leaguer Bill Murphy

This was THE trade completed by Depo. In the end, people will point to this trade as the most significant deal he made. He traded lifetime Dodger and catcher Lo Duca, a fan favorite however overrated he was, along with fire-baller Mota and outfielder Encarnacion to a Marlin team that was very much in the race for the NL East title. In return he acquired a player that, for critics, would come to represent the fault in sabrmertic logic; walk machine Choi along with starting pitcher Brad Penny and a minor league player. Unfortunately, Depodesta didn't factor in his manager's feelings about the trade, and Jim Tracy often took his anger out on Choi, even benching him in favor of Jason Phillips. Choi was lost on waivers to Boston after the Nomar signing, but for a minimum salary for parts of two seasons, he provided the Dodgers with a total Value Over Replacement Player of 10.1 and an OPS+ in his first full Dodger season of 110. Penny meanwhile is the gem of this trade, he is the only player still playing for one of the teams and has performed well for the Dodgers. In the past two seasons he's won a combined 23 games and has posted ERA+ of 104 and 106 with VORPs over 30 in both seasons. However, he was injured in 2004; barely threw for the Dodgers during their playoff run, and threw only one inning in the playoffs.

LoDuca performed well for the Marlins until his trade to the Mets before the 2006 season. He's a below average hitter (OPS+ of 82 and 92) but brings a better value than a replacement player (VORPs of 4.2 and 21.5) along with leadership for pitchers. Mota regressed upon his arrival to Florida ; after a 2003 ERA+ of 204 (with an ERA of 1.97 in 105 innings) and an ERA+ of 193 in his 63 innings with the Dodgers in 2004, he posted an ERA+ of 85 with Florida after the trade. The following season, he threw 67 innings and managed only an ERA+ of 85 before being traded to the Red Sox. Encarnacion would not help the playoff chase either with an OPS+ of 85 and VORP of 1.9 but would perform well the following season with an OPS+ of 113 and a VORP of 28.3 before leaving Florida as a free agent.

As previously stated, this is the trade that critics will point to when talking about Depo. The sabrmetric beauty that was Choi did not work out as planned (although he did give good production for his salary) and pundits say Depo was stupid to trade so much for him. But, he acquired a starting pitcher who has been effective for the Dodgers and is still on the team without giving up anyone with a larger statistical value. It can also be argued that Choi almost played as well as Encarnacion in the season following the trade!

10: Traded Koyie Hill, Reggie Abercombie and minor leaguer Bill Murphy to Arizona for Steve Finley and Brent Mayne
Originally, according to some sources, the deal with Florida was to pick up pieces in order for the Dodgers to acquire Randy Johnson. Obviously that trade did not happen and instead the Dodgers acquired Finley and Mayne from the D'backs to help improve their playoff bound team. Both would only spend the remainder of the season as Dodgers with very different productions during this time. Finely would perform well as evidenced by his VORP of 12.2 and his OPS+ of 112 and helped the Dodgers fill a void in centre field in their playoff chase. Mayne would bring some experience at catcher after the loss of Lo Duca but horribly at the plate (-6.3 VORP, OPS+ of 29). Both Hill and Abercrombie would be plucked off waivers from the D'backs with Hill only getting 114 at bats in Arizona and Abercrombie getting none. Murphy has not made the Majors to this date and is not ranked as a top prospect from any list I've seen.

11: Traded Tom Martin to Atlanta, Received minor leaguer Matt Merricks
*Yawn* Tom Martin threw 19.3 total innings for the Braves before being released in 2005, although he did post a VORP of 3.8 in his short time there in 2004, while Merricks hasn't made the Majors.

12: Traded Dave Roberts to the Red Sox, Received minor leaguer Henri Stanley
I can't quite remember if Roberts had an impact on the Red Sox during the 2004 season…it's really just not coming up! OH WAIT. Roberts would perform well in his partial season with the Red Sox with a VORP of 1.7, OPS+ of 94 and 5 stolen bases. He will be forever remembered for the steal in the ALCS that changed the Red Sox' fortune and being traded for a loot including Jay Payton immediately after the World Series. Legend has it, that the trade involving Roberts and Payton was actually negotiated during the World Series. Stanley has not made the Majors and is not a top prospect to my knowledge.

the Milwaukee/Arizona trade

So if you haven't heard of it there was a trade yesterday involving Milwauke and Arizona, a six player deal that is quite interesting and may be one of those trades where both sides win...

To Milwaukee:
Johnny Estrada: A 31 year old catcher who last season had an 91 OPS+ in over 100 games and had asked to be traded by Arizona when they wouldn't sign him long term. He had a VORP of 14.3 last season and will replace the aging Damian Miller as the everyday catcher.
Greg Aquino: A 29 year old reliever who last season had a 107 ERA+ in 48.3 IPs after horrible 2005 along with a VORP of 6.2.
Claudio Vargas: A 29 year old starting pitcher who last season had his highest ERA+ since his rookie year: 99 ERA+. He also had a career high 167.7 IP along with a VORP of 13.4.

To Arizona:
Doug Davis: A 31 year old starter who last season had a 91 ERA+ (lowest since first full season in Majors). He has pitched over 200 innings for 3 straight years, had a VORP of 18.8 and will be a free agent after this season.
Dana Eveland: A 23 year old LHP with a 55 ERA+ in 27.7 IPs in the Majors. He was much better in AAA with 2.73 ERA, 110 Ks in 105 IPs.
Dave Kryznel: A 26 year old CF, currently playing in AAA where he had a line of .213/.314/.359 with 23 stolen bases

I think there's a better chance that Milwaukee would get the better end of this deal than Arizona. Davis has been a good pitcher and they badly needed someone behind Brandon Webb but Vargas comes off a career season. Hopefully for them it's buy low (Davis), sell high (Vargas), however they could lose Davis after this season. Meanwhile, Estrada will be replaced by 25 year old Chris Snyder and a prospect. The prospects acquired in this deal weren't found in any top ten lists although Eveland seems interesting as a LOOGY and possibly more. This seems like a good baseball deal on all sides, the future will determine it...

  • JD Drew is close to being a Red Sox according to some sources
  • Look below for the first part of the Depodesta article about his trades in his 2 years as general manager. The second part should be posted tomorrow.

Depodesta's Reign Part 1: One busy off-season!

As promised Part 1 of the Article on Depo...enjoy!

Hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2004, Paul DePodesta was viewed as the next great young General Manager in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, it did not work out and he was fired in October of the next season. During that time period he completed 17 trades, a number that is even more impressive with the knowledge that all these transactions were completed in a year's span between March 29, 2004 and March 31, 2005. So was he that bad a General Manager to be fired after his second season? Was it a problem with management that led to his firing? In this article, we will examine his trades with a closer look to attempt to identify why the prodigal son was fired so quickly.

1: Traded Jason Frasor to Toronto in exchange for Jayson Werth
Just before the season, 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. The Dodgers were interested and willing to give up young reliever Jason Frasor in what would be DePo's first trade as General Manager. Both players were earning the minimum in their first season and produced well with VORPs over 15. Frasor continued his solid pitching for the Jays throughout the next two seasons while Werth was not on the Dodgers roster in 2006. The Dodgers were able to get a good reserve outfielder for a reliever that they didn't feel they had much use for, although he has been quite solid as a Blue Jay.

2: Traded Steve Colyer to Detroit for Cody Ross
Cody Ross barely got a chance to play for the Dodgers (39 at bats) before being shipped to Cincinnati in 2006. The left-handed Colyer came out of the Detroit bullpen 41 times, even winning a game while establishing an ERA+ of 70 and a VORP of -1.7. Pretty inconsequential trade all around.

3: Traded Andrew Brown and Franklin Gutierrez to Cleveland for Milton Bradley
The slap hitting Gutierrez had 137 at bats with Cleveland in 2006 with an OPS+ of 69 while slugging only .360 and achieving a VORP of -3.6. Andrew Brown, 23 years old, threw 10 innings for Cleveland in 2006. Bradley had two good seasons with the Dodgers, with OPS+ of 108 and 121, a total VORP of 49.2 along with 29 total win shares. He was traded to Oakland before the 2005 season with Antonio Perez for outfield prospect Andre Ethier.

4: Traded Jolbert Cabrera to Seattle for Aaron Looper and Ryan Ketchner
* Traded Aaron Looper to Seattle for Glenn Bott
Looper was designated for assignment to make room for Bradley, Seattle was interested and he was traded back to Seattle soon after for Glenn Bott. Unfortunately, neither player would ever play in the Majors again; actually Jolbert Cabrera was the only player involved that would following the transaction. He would play 7 different positions for Seattle in 2004 while achieving an OPS+ of 87, a VORP of 7.5 and driving in 47 runs.

5: Traded Jason Romano to Tampa Bay in exchange for Antonio Perez
Jason Romano's stay in Tampa Bay lasted only 4 games before he was plucked off waivers by Cincinatti. Perez had a solid 2005 with an OPS+ of 104, VORP of 15.7 in 259 at bats before being traded with Milton Bradley for Andre Ethier. This is definitely one of the better trades of the off-season, acquiring a player who would help out the team in the present and was then used as a piece to acquire a good young player with a bright future.

6: Traded Rick White to Cleveland in exchange for minor leaguer Trey Dyson
After signing Rick White in the off-season, he was quickly shipped to Cleveland in exchange for a minor leaguer who would never see time in the Majors. White, meanwhile, would pitch adequately for the Indians; in 78 innings he had an ERA+ of 86 and a VORP of 2.7.

7: Traded Tanyon Sturtze to the Yankees for Brian Myrow
Mynow would barely play for the Dodgers with 20 at bats in 2005 while Sturtze became a mainstay in the Yankee bullpen although he never threw exceptionally well. His ERA+ was of 82 in 2004 and 94 in 2005 in over 150 total innings between the two seasons while establishing a total VORP of 9.1 during his three season with the Yankees.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Reported Friday Night Signings

This may be the last time I go out during a Habs game, standing at the bar I found out that the Canadiens came back and won against the best team in the division with one second left in OT, and that there were many reported signings including new info on Rod Barajas. BTW for those looking for the Beane Count wrapup, look lower and there will be a new article posted most probably tomorrow on another that didn't last two years in his job...

  • Jeff Blair has more specifics on the signing that will most probably happen on Tuesday stating that Barajas has a 2 year, $5.5-6 million contract. It seems that Zaun rejected their offer and is currently looking at offers to be a backup(?!?) and that Ricciardi wanted a catcher before showing up to the Winter Meetings. If Zaun signs with another team and is offered arbitration by the Jays, that will mean one more sandwich pick for the team.

    Barajas doesn't have a good bat (OPS+ of 78, career high of 99 the year before) but does have the potential for a bit more pop than Zaun and is 5 years younger. The Jays will lose a clubhouse presence but should improve their awful catching defense and maybe catch a few runners this season! Last season they allowed 130 steals while only catching 32 runners (19.75% rate), Barajas caught 19 of the 57 steal attempts against him last season (33.3%). If runners are scared of this arm, they will also attempt to take the extra base less often, which would be huge for the Jays pitching staff.
  • The Giants are close to signing two free agents: Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts. The Aurilia deal is said to be a 2 year deal worth $2-3 million per season while the Roberts deal is said to be 2-3 years at $5-6 million per season. Gotta say, I'm surprised that Roberts will not be making more after the ridiculous Pierre signing. If Roberts can reproduce his godly stolen base ratio of 2006 (or 2004), two seasons where he combined to be caught a total of 9 times with 79 steals, this signing is a steal...He seemed to be comfortable in San Diego also as he put up his first two seasons of OPS+ over 100 so maybe this trend can continue in the spacious AT&T park.
  • Saturday trade: Check it out, analysis tomorrow when I actually have time

Friday, November 24, 2006

Carlos Lee takes a trip to Houston...

and gets a 6 year, $100 million deal for it. Not bad at all for Carlos who had a career year last year with 37 home runs, .540 slugging and an OPS+ of 125. This is a guy who's combined VORP (47.3) was lower than Gary Matthews Jr. (50.0) last season and he'll be earning more than $16 million per year for playing a corner outfield position (and not especially well at that). I think Ricciardi really saw where the market was headed and was smart to strike on Thomas quickly so that the price would not go up, nor would he be stuck giving extra years to a player like Lee.

Night Update:
It appears the Jays may have signed Rod Barajas with this coming from ESPN Insider MLB Rumors:
"Oh, Canada!

Nov 24 - Free-agent catch Rod Barajas, formerly with Texas, is expected to sign with the Blue Jays next week, if he passes a physical early in the week."

As soon as more details break, they will be here. The good news of this signing would be that we would probably gain a sandwich pick from Zaun leaving, which would be our 5th draft pick in the first two rounds gained of the offseason.

Beane count posted, wrapped up!

Well the entire Beane Count has now been posted, hopefully it’s not another slow news day today, however the market is very much like Ricciardi predicted, quiet in between the meetings…

Of the 29 trades analyzed in the Beane Count:
12 were Player Acquisitions in which Beane gave up prospects for a more polished player

9 were baseball deals in which players of similar talent levels and contracts were traded for each other

3 were role player dumps and 3 were Dumps of bigger salaries

2 were role player acquisitions

An interesting fact is of the 3 big salary dumps, Beane actually acquired players that ended up being more productive than the players traded while ridding the A’s of over $11 million. This is mostly because of Terrence Long, however Oakland acquired a total of 13 VORP runs by means of these trades and that does not include the fact that Long was flipped for Mark Kotsay, who is still with the team. The role player dumps were not as successful as the players traded saved the team around $2 million and the loss of VORP was of 17.3. The 2 role player acquired trades made up for this however, as the players acquired cost about $2 million and the gain in VORP was of 18.3. The Ron Gant trade excluded from this observation for entertainment purposes was an acquisition of around $1 million in salary for a VORP of 4.4.

The baseball deals ended up with a BIG advantage in VORP in Oakland’s favour of almost 250 runs. The difference in salaries, from what I could find, was to Oakland’s disadvantage as they picked up around $8 million in salary (after withdrawing cash traded). But imagine, 9 trades made by Billy Beane and he added 250 runs of VORP while adding only $8 million in payroll! There’s also the added value of these trades by later trades of Terrence Long (Kenny Rogers), 4 first round picks (Izzy, Damon), and Ted Lilly (Carlos Pena). All in all, Beane seems to have dominated when making baseball deals.

Beane paid a hefty price to acquire players that could help his team win now as he ended up losing almost 100 runs in VORP in these types of trades while paying over $10 million more in first year salaries. The losses of Karsay, Bonderman and Hinske really skew these numbers but sometimes you have to pay a hefty price to win now.

In the end, it seems that Beane really did have some success with trades in his first five season, more success than Ricciardi...

So there you have it, the Beane Count in all its glory! Read it if you'd like, stay tuned, the next analysis is already being worked on. Check out the Ricciardi Project parts if you haven't already...