Monday, February 24, 2014

Excerpt: "Have the Orioles Done Enough?"

"Cruz, like Jimenez, isn't a high-impact player. Whereas Jimenez was worth 2.7 bWAR last year and a total of 2.7 bWAR the past three years, Cruz was worth 2.2 in last year's suspension-shortened campaign and a total of 5.9 over the same three years. As with Jimenez, the lowered cash cost of the contract makes Cruz worth the risk, especially since the Orioles can keep the increasingly poor outfielder limited to a DH role. The Orioles have holes in both left field and at DH, and can now keep their wishcasting about Nolan Reimold's health and Henry Urrutia's plate discipline limited to one lineup spot. At 33 and four years removed from his last big season, Cruz probably carries more downside risk than upside, and I say that as someone who doesn't think his association with Biogenesis had anything to do with his performance. He's just another good-not-great corner outfielder reaching his mid-thirties, a class that is all downside."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Excerpt: "The Kimbrel Opportunity"

"The Braves have an opportunity here. This isn't about bringing back the fireman; it's about taking the 70 innings that Kimbrel is going to throw anyway and applying them in a way that doesn't change his job one iota, but gives the Braves a better chance to win games. It's small changes. It's looking ahead in the seventh inning at the middle of the lineup coming up in the eighth, and choosing to use Kimbrel against it, rather than saving him for the bottom of the order in the ninth. It's getting him into a tied game in the eighth inning, or on the road in the ninth, rather than holding him out for a save situation. It's bringing him in, as necessary, to apply his preternatural bat-missing ability in spots where missing bats is paramount, as opposed to when all outs are created equal."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Excerpt: "Man and Myth, Retiring"

"Jeter, through a combination of ability and context, did more of both those things than any player in the last 50 years. If he gets too much personal credit for team success in most quarters, well, he gets too little for it in stathead ones. This isn't to say that Jeter has special powers that make his teams win; it is to say that he's played more high-championship-leverage baseball than anyone in history and he's played well when doing so. That matters. Maybe Chad Mottola or Phil Nevin or B.J. Wallace -- or Felix Fermin -- would have done the same, but Jeter actually did."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Excerpt: "Henderson Alvarez"

"Like Wang, Alvarez controls the running game as well as any right-handed pitcher can. He's allowed a remarkable seven stolen-base attempts in his career -- and remember that this is a pitcher who mostly allows singles and against whom teams are incentivized to steal to stay out of double plays."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Excerpt: "The CBA Five"

"Looking ahead to the next CBA, it's time to end this practice entirely. The system holding back Santana and Cruz and Morales is borne of fears that never came true. Free-agent compensation dates to 1981 and the strike that produced a Rube Goldberg contraption of a system that, over later CBAs, morphed into this one. At its core is the fundamental fear of a free market for player talent, one that was at least understandable in the early days of free agency, but is now utterly ridiculous."

Monday, February 3, 2014

Excerpt: "Best of One"

"The Super Bowl is two weeks of hype followed by three hours of ball. The World Series is three days of hype followed by two weeks of ball. Maybe we've voted with our feet and our wallets and our gullets as to which means more to us as a nation, but the World Series is simply a better event. Sometimes you get 43-8 or the 2012 World Series, and something you get Super Bowl XL or the '11 Series. Apples to apples, a best-of-seven just brings more to the table than any one-game playoff. It is a shame that MLB itself doesn't recognize that, ginnying up one-game postseason 'series' in an attempt to create a watered-down version of the Super Bowl. Baseball needs time, and if the world has less of it, you don't pander to that -- you make yourself so attractive as to demand that time. Baseball never needs to be more like football. Baseball needs to be more like baseball."