Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not Baseball Related, But A Must Read....

Who doesn't love Screetch aka Dustin Diamond? Well he has an autobiography and I found a page where it gives the top 11 Scandalous Saved by the Bell secrets. This must be viewed by all...
http://www.newser.com/story/79241/11-scandals-from-saved-by-the-bell-tell-all.html

Here is the number one secret, which I'm sure will grab your attention:

Dustin Diamond has a large penis and has used it to have sex with more than 2,000 women, most of whom he picked up at Disneyland.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday January 26th Free Agent Moves

This post is approximately a day late, but if you got a problem with that, well I'll take you to the candy shop. The reason I'm posting is because there were several moves that hit close to home. Besides the Cardinals signing Rich Hill (sure fire bet to become the next Jeff Suppan), the Cubs made a huge splash (actually, the opposite of a splash) by signing Xavier Nady, and the Twins signed yet another white dude. (Try to look at Justin Morneau's picture and not laugh)

Let's start with the Xavier Nady signing.

Wow, how could this be more horrible. I know the Cubs have experimented with players with no arms in the past, but they took it to a new level this time. Do you realize that Xavier Nady had not one but two Tommy John surgeries? Side note: Tommy John surgeries had never been pluralized before you Big X, you are a pioneer. Also, did anyone realize there was that many ligaments to fuck with in the human body? I thought there was like 1 maybe 2.

Big X hasn't been a horrible player over his career, just an inconsistent one. Unless you are talking about fielding, then he's been consistent. Consistently bad.

If Big X is healthy, this may not be the worst signing in the world. Granted they did pay him 3.3 million, we have to see how much Dye gets to tell how bad this deal is, but he can contribute to the Cubs team. If the Cubs use him as a fourth outfielder, or in a platoon situation, he could contribute fairly decent offensive numbers.

The next move I would like to talk about is Jim Thome going to the Twins, mainly because this absolutely crushed my father. I used to like Thome. Sure, I would scream at him while he was hitting infield flies with runners on, or striking out in big situations, but he was a nice guy. Being a nice guy is clearly all that matters in baseball. Thome does pull in fairly good OBP and SLUG numbers, but those have fallen off dramatically in the past few years. The White Sox could not afford to have him on the team. He is too much of an offensive risk in his old age. His power numbers have been shrinking (I'm a card toting member of the Jim Thome did steroids club, I may be the only member). He refuses to change his hitting philosophy (dead pull) even though teams give him the left side of the field, and he doesn't hit well enough to beat the shift.

I'm not very sad Thome is gone. He was great to watch when he first arrived with the White Sox, but Thome's career is probably over. He may have one or two sub par seasons with the Twins, but this will only tarnish the monster that Thome was on the Indians and Phillies. People are already starting to forget how absolutely dominant he was in those years. I know my father absolutely loves Thome, but I'm not sad to see him go. I'm very sad that he will have to pretend to be nice to Nick Punto. I will also be down right salty when he hits his first bomb off of the Sox... Dammit, now that I think of it, I may want to write this part over again...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Post I've Been Dreading

Ever since this offseason began, I've been writing this post in my head.

I knew since the moment the Dodgers defeated the Cards in the Division Series that my greatest man crush ever was over.  As you may have heard yesterday, Rick Ankiel signed with the Kansas City Royals.  And if you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably immediately thought of me when you heard this news.  I'm glad that you think so highly of me.

Even though I have been trying to think about what I would write when the moment of Rick's departure would happen, I really don't have much to say.  When you know that something is so inevitable, you tend to over prepare for it, well, unless you are the Cubs of 2009 convincing yourselves that Milton Bradley will work out.

And to be honest, I'm not really that sad about Rick leaving.  Yeah, my favorite player is no longer on my favorite team.  But the bonus is that I can possibly buy a sick powder blue Royals jersey

But in all seriousness, this is kind of what happens in today's day and age of the baseball business.  Players move around more often than they used to, and to fall in love with a player on a team is dumb.  Yes, Rick Ankiel is still awesome, and I'll still cheer for him (and overpay for him in my fantasy baseball draft), but it will be okay.  Plus, Colby Rasmus is pretty good, which makes this transition a little easier.

... and the possibility of Jim Edmonds coming back.

Anyways, good bye, Rick.  Good luck in KC, 'cause you will need it.  I will miss you since nothing compares to you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Best Defense: Outfield

Instead of giving you a long explanation of how beautiful it is to play outfield, I decided to make this post quick, and we can put this segment to bed.

Here is what you need to know about the Outfield (besides they have the least intimidating lead singer of all time).

You catch flies. You crow hop. You throw the ball. Preferably to the right base.

And away with Rob's picks...

LF -- Carl Crawford

Left fielders don't often win Gold Gloves, and Crawford's still waiting for his first.

Well, if we can't measure who has won the most Gold Gloves how could this ever be decided?

Oddly, though, his defense got him another award: All-Star Game MVP.

Ah, obviously the best way to announce who is the best fielder of the decade would be to give it to a guy who has played the best in one game. What's that you say, good sir? It's not even a real game? It doesn't count? Tell that to Big Bad Bud.

It happened this past summer, when Crawford went above the fence to steal a go-ahead homer from Brad Hawpe in the seventh inning of what would become yet another American League victory.

That's all the time you get Left Field. Try being a real position next time.

My pick for best Left Fielder of the decade is Carl Crawford. Shocking, but it is not for his performance in an All-Star Game. Carl has finished in the Top-2 of UZR/150 each of the past 7 seasons. Posting rediculous 20+ UZR in three of them. There is really not even a close second, unless you count Eric Byrnes as a baseball player. Which I most surely do not do.

CF -- Andruw Jones

Forget the past two seasons.

Just remember, he's on the White Sox now. Everything will be ok.

Remember instead the Andruw Jones who patrolled center field for the Braves from 1998 through 2007, and he just might have been the greatest center fielder since Willie Mays.

Bold statement, but he was quite fun to watch. This actually isn't too bad of a pick either. Mainly because guys like Corey Patterson put up ridiculous UZR/150's each year. Centerfield is by far the most sporadic position to predict fielding prowess. Each year there is a new great centerfielder.

Of course, Jones will not be remembered as the second coming of Willie Mays, who played a good center field into his late 30s; it now looks like Jones' days as an every-day center fielder ended at 30.

Au contraire. He plays for the Pale Hose now. I think that boosts his street cred a little.

But this wasn't due to a lack of ability. It was due to a surplus of weight.

And increase in steroid testing.

Between injuries and ballooning to 240 pounds, Jones simply wasn't the fielder (or the hitter) that he had been. But, oh, what a fielder he had been.

My pick for best CF of the decade... Nyjer Morgan, and not just because his name is Nyjer. Granted, he has only played a few games at center in 2008 and 2009, but look at his UZR/150! It's in the 40's. He wins. Stop arguing.

RF -- Ichiro Suzuki

He's correct here, but lets see how bad his argument is.

Ichiro's fast. He's not just fast for a right fielder. He's just flat-out fast.

Jermaine Dye is slow. He's just not slow for a right fielder. He's just flat-out slow.

Ichiro can throw.

(Crossing my fingers) Ichiro can crow hop... Ichiro can crow hop...

The most replayed throw by an outfielder in the entire decade is probably Ichiro's laser to nail Terrence Long at third base, early in Ichiro's rookie season.

I bet the crow hop was great. Also, make sure to click on the link to Terrence Long, just for a smile.

Afterward he asked, via a translator: "Why did he run when I was going to throw him out?"

Other great questions to ask: "Why did she say no, when I was going to rape her?" - Mike Tyson
"Why would people say stop drinking, when I love beer?" - John Daley
"Why would he call me out when he knew I was going to spit in his face?" - Roberto Alomar (side note: he has AIDS)

In his seventh season in the majors, he shifted from right field to center, and played there well enough to win yet another Gold Glove. Oh, and the Gold Gloves … in nine seasons, Ichiro has never not won a Gold Glove.

Didn't Neyer start this article off by saying Gold Gloves don't matter???? That he was going to use statistics???? He fucking obliged by neither!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is the Stupidest thing I have Ever Done

I am going to tell you about the most shocking, life altering thing that happened this week...

Mark McGwire took steroids. Wait, this isn't news? Everyone already knew this??? Ah, fuck it. I'll just write about it anyways. Anyways, if you missed (like myself) here is the full clip.

0:10 Costas: We have a considerable amount of time here.
Oh, shit. Maybe this wasn't a good idea. I'll just skip around to fairly interesting parts.

0:30 Mark takes 1 minutes to answer, what year did you start using. Seriously, 1 minute to answer a 3 word answer.

1:45 Mark says that he first told his dad last week. Seriously, his dad had no idea?? Note to Big Mac's Father and son: You are both douche bags. Wait, why include his son in there? Because he is a fat little twerp that I've hated for 12 years.

2:06 Big Mac starts to tear up. This will not be the last time.

3:40 Big Mac states that he could have hit 70, and that people still talk about the home runs he hit in high school. All because of the "Man upstairs". Mac is clearly in denial. Which will make this interview fantastic.

7:15 I realize that the MLB.com video can not be skipped around on. Each time you attempt to scroll through the proceedings, it takes you to the beginning. Shame on me. Most of all shame on MLB.com. From here on out, I will just provide YouTube clips of funny parts.

How much does the Hall of Fame matter to you?
... I play for ME!!!!!! FOR ME!!!!!!!
Also, how about that truth will set you free line. What a crock of shit.

Skip to the 1:30 Mark because we've covered the rest.
Big Mac talks about Jose, the Maris', and starts crying again. Awesome, what a fucking douche bag, and hilarious. That was the range of emotions. How much of a phony does Big Mac have to be to invite the Maris' then act like he is the greatest player ever. All the while, knowing he is cheating. He couldn't hold a candle to Maris' record. Fuck you Big Mac.

I can't fucking take this shit anymore. I'm going to murder 10,000 strippers if I have to hear anymore of this. He is such a scum bag. This is what Big Mac should have said:

"Yes, I took steroids. I did it because Jose was talking about how it made him better. You know what, it made me a shit ton better. You think I could have hit 70 without them?!?!?! Not only did they help me get stronger, quicker, and stronger, I could recover from all the nagging injuries that occur over a 162 game schedule faster. They were pretty fucking awesome.

Honestly, if you were me, would you have taken steroids? Of course you would! I'm a fucking millionaire. I demolished the most storied record in all of sports. Bitches wanted to fuck me. Have you seen me? I'm not a good looking man. Yet, the hoes (dramatic pause) they didn't fucking care!!!!

If I went back in time, would I have done steroids again? Of course. I have earned more money in those short years than small nations. Was taking steroids a huge risk? Of course. I was taking advice from Jose Canseco. I know you all read that book. He had an editor and still sounded like a complete moron. That's how stupid I was... I took advice from him! Look, taking steroids worked for me. I had the perfect combination of talent and roids, and they made me awesome. Most people do not have that luxury.

Another down side to the constant roid use, and the whole having Jose Canseco as my doctor thing, I'm probably going to die 15 years prematurely. Does it matter to me? Not really. Again, I banged really hot hoes, and I had acne before I started juicing. Is it a good idea for high school kids to take roids? Hell no. Look, most likely they suck at baseball, and may make it to play at some small college. Do you really want to take 15 years off your life and end up choking out your family like all those nut job wrestlers? It's really only worth it if you can make gobs of money and bang hot chicks. Which, fortunately, I was able to do."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What You've All Been Waiting For, Ain't It?

Sorry about the delay in my response to the Matt Holliday signing.  I was stuck in a blizzard in Central New York counting plastic septic tanks.  Jealous much?


I'm going to get used to seeing this.

Now, this gap in time between the day of the signing (Tuesday for those of you also buried in a blizzard) and today has given me the opportunity to read some of the reactions.  And let me summarize them for you, they aren't exactly full of praise.

One of my favorite blogs, Ump Bump, has a post that is titled quite straightforwardly.  And what's strange about that post is that it completely overlooks what most people are worried about - the length of the contract.  Others are worried about the money, which will be flowing Holliday's way until fucking 2029!  And when it comes to money, you know that Fangraphs has to chime in.  Their response to the contract is surprisingly average.  To be honest, that neither-good-nor-bad analysis from Fangraphs is probably just about the most positive one I have been able to find from people I respect.

I am here to write the first positive reaction.

What I find most interesting in the Fangraphs post, and most of their posts actually, is how they always bring up the market value for one on the market, which is currently going around $4.4 million, according to them.  By this measure, the Cardinals paid around market price for Holliday since Fangraphs is projecting him around a 4.5 WAR player next year.

But this sort of assumption only makes sense in a vacuum of baseball signings, and this is what I dislike about the Fangraphs analysis every time.

You can't actually say that each one of the wins Holliday adds is actually worth $4.4 million.  If you look at this chart from Fangraphs, you can see who sits on top.  According to them, Holliday was, in fact, the best left fielder who played last year (also keep in mind his meek start in Oakland).

Being the best player at his position makes Matt Holliday a premium product.  When it comes to premium products, the price per unit goes up; it's simple economics.  Which costs more per pound - ground chuck or filet mignon?  (I apologize in advance for that shitty comparison)

Sure, the $4.4 million per win figure works when you consider that all the players can pump out the same production.  But when a player gets beyond what an average player produces (around 1.8-2.0 WAR), the price per an additional win becomes more and more expensive.  Based on looking at the $17 million per a year in this way, Holliday is actually a steal (especially if he produces at his 5.7 WAR clip again for the next few years, hell, even a 4.5 WAR would still be worth a premium price) because he can give you more production from the spot for the time he plays.

I'm not exactly the most thrilled about the seven years that tie the Cards to Holliday, but you can see that there is another strategy behind this offer.  Obviously, if Mozeliak is able to show Pujols in 2011 that he will have a partner-in-crime for the next five years at least, one has to think he may have a little bit of an upper hand.  Especially considering that Wainwright will be around, too.  (Although, the key to keeping Pujols around will be Yadi, but that's a-whole-nother topic.)

As far as filling in the remaining spots on the roster goes, I think the Cardinals will be alright honestly.  Going into the 2009 season, lots of people had them finishing third behind Chicago and Milwaukee because there was a seeming lack of depth behind Pujols.  I mean, who ever thought that Brendan Ryan would ever step up?  For some reason, Tony has a knack for finding some role player who can step up and overproduce (Ludwick, Ryan, Aaron Miles, etc.) and ride them for the year.  I give him a 50/50 chance of being able to make this sort of move again.

And if no one steps up from nowhere, I'm still not worried.  Don't forget, but the Cards have two sandwich picks coming this year thanks to DeRosa and Pineiro (when he signs, obviously).  These picks will give them three of the roughly top forty picks.  In addition, there is Bryan Anderson (Cards' #3 prospect), who will forever be stuck behind Yadi, for decent trade bait.  If these factors don't work, then I think that the Cardinals will be able to sign some of these guys most likely for two cents on the dollar, based on this year's market.  (Oh, and as far as the future goes... don't forget that Penny and Lugo come off next year's books if needed.)

So if you see me walking around with a smile on my face, not worrying about the Cards, the way plenty of those around baseball currently are, you will know why.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Best Defense: Third Base

If you've missed any of the Best Defense articles, or have a really weak sauce memory and forgot them, click this link. I'm not sorry I tricked you right there. That was the finest acting performance in film history. Here is the real link.

This synopsis of third base shouldn't be too long. Basically, third base is a pretty simple position. With the exception of being the hardest defensive position on the diamond (yes, I'm including catcher), it's pretty easy to explain. A good third baseman has to have lightning reflexes, great instincts, soft hands, and superior hand eye coordination. Footwork at third is not a necessity because the fielder can take their time throwing over to first. A strong arm is definitely a plus for the position, but with the extra time the fielder has, they should be able to make a strong throw to first.

Mechanically, the most difficult play a third baseman makes is a run through, or a bare handed catch and throw. While those plays take a lot of athletic ability, you will see third baseman that aren't that great at them thrive at the position.

Why do these players thrive? They have super human reflexes and the fortune telling skill to read the ball off the bat. Many of the balls hit at the third baseman are scolded; forcing the fielder to react solely on instinct. The mixture of soft hands, and quickness will allow the fielder to excel. On to Neyer's Pick:

3B -- Scott Rolen

Honestly, I do not have a huge problem with the pick. You can really make a good case for about 5 guys that played this decade for the top spot.

Ripping the Gold Glove selections never really gets old

You said it buddy. How does Eric Chavez win somewhere around 72 gold gloves on his shaky, injury prone defense??? How is this possible?

… but the voters do sometimes come up with the right answers, and Rolen's six Gold Gloves in this decade line up nicely with the metrics.

Will he provide us with said metrics? Fuck no, you have to trust him.

How spectacular was he? When the Blue Jays traded Rolen to the Reds last summer, an enterprising blogger seemed to have little trouble finding 10 defensive gems that Rolen had made with Toronto in less than two seasons.

Ten defensive gems proves Rob's point. Simply stunning. Ten plays over a decade???? This is preposterous.

My selection for the spot: Adrian Beltre
. Look at his UZR/150 numbers from 2002-2009: 20.2, 11.9, 23.3, 9.4, 15.6, -3.4, 15.7, and 21.0. Can you make a real good case for Rolen, sure, but Cooly is a Cards fan and it pisses him off that I chose Beltre.

Pedro Feliz 2002-2009: 24.2, 26.9, 31.7, 20.2, 14.3, 22.3, 9.3, and 5.0. My initial selection until I looked and saw his 2002-2004 numbers were only as a utility player. Still, damn good.
Rolen's 2002-2009: 22.2, 9.8, 22.1, 21.7, 14.7, 17.9, 8.5, and 7.6. Comparable, but not as great.
Glaus' 2002-2009: -3.1, -22.1, -9.1, -13.1, -1.3, 0.9, 5.0, and -19.7 Hint for my worst of the decade


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Exploring Damon

We don't do a lot of free agent speculation here at Start Wedman, but this is too juicy of a tidbit to let go. What if Johnny Damon signs with the San Fransisco Giants?

How else could the Giants get better, you ask? Getting older. Because what makes any team better than signing yet another aging light hitting outfielder. Especially an outfielder who only started hitting homeruns when his legs completely failed him and moved into a ballpark with a wind tunnel.

The Giants needed to focus on one thing this winter, adding some power to their lineup. How do they do it? Adding Mark Derosa and courting a young Johnny Damon. Why was the Mark Derosa signing bad? This signing brought a player best known for his defensive flexibility, and stuck him at the position that he plays the worst. Often posting negative UZR/150. This is not just a bad signing defensively, but the opposite of what they need offensively. Mark Derosa is not a power hitter. Derosa has only hit 20 home runs in his last 2 seasons. Another added Giants bonus, Derosa is 35. The Giants will only play starters who are either approaching 40 or just past 20.

Why would Johnny Damon be a bad addition? For starters, Damon is 36, can't run, can't defend, hits poorly, and is not a prototypical power hitter. Damon's defense is simply laughable, posting a -12 UZR/150 in 2009, and for good measure, he has never been good. Damon posted negative UZR/150 for the most parts of his career manning CF for the Red Sox. I haven't even brought up Damon's noodle arm!

Offensively, Damon isn't even close to what the Giants need. Damon can hit the occasional home run (I don't know why, have you seen his swing); Damon has hit between 12-24 home runs each of the past 8 years. The Giants need a guy who can hit 30 home runs and protect Kung Fu Panda in the lineup. Also, is there anything that would be more comical than watching an outfield with Aaron Rowand and a gimpy Damon tracking down flies in a big left center? Would any fly balls get caught? I don't think so.

Could the Giants compete next year? Yes, but only because of their great pitching. Will their offense be equally as sucky with the additions of Derosa and Damon? Yep, and older, and worse defensively. I can not wait for this signing to happen.