So the team rosters for the World Baseball Classic has been announced. And I am going to just go on record right now and state that I hate the WBC. Love the idea. Hate the reality. (I am nowhere close to being alone on this.) You guys go ahead and banter back and forth on this all you want. Maybe somebody changes my mind. But as my mind stands now, the WBC sucks. It's little more than Uncle Bud flying a stiff middle finger in the general direction of the International Olympic Committee. My suggestion is to lose the World Baseball Classic completely...OR...do something insane such as every four years cancel MLB for the whole month of July, and cancel the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby and the Fan Fest and all that, and replace it all with the WBC.
There are too many games now, between MLB Spring Training, MLB regular season, post-season play, and Winter League ball in Latin countries. Really, why the heck does it require 162 games to figure out the best single team in a 5 team division in the first place?? Normally, I don't really complain because I love baseball and find "no baseball" boring. And what the heck, it ain't my body getting worn down each year. So I'm selfish, and let them play all them games.
But these guys are not part time athletes any more. I want me some 18 years of awesome Trout and I don't want him to double dog dare the risks of some exhibition games against the likes of the finest talent China has to offer. Nor do I want to hear him take it in the shorts for saying no, which is now happening. And, guess what? Those like me who focus only on the risk might, after all, have worries that are well founded. Michael Echan published an article on Fangraphs and believes that he has found evidence that the WBC has a measurably negative impact on starting pitchers, which would be a first. Maybe he is completely off base. Maybe teams and players agree with him. Either way, I would be hard pressed to believe that the extra work is beneficial to players.
Let them have AAA players. Or players recently retired. Or every Fourth July (see what I did there?) turn MLB over to International Baseball. Or, just leave the $3 billion dollars worth of MLB payroll talent alone. Leave Mike Trout alone. And get off my lawn! Just a suggestion.
- Erick Aybar - Lone LAA WBC Representative: Alden Gonzalez reports that Aybar is our lone player in the WBC.
- Albert Pujols, no WBC: In the same article (above), Alden relates that Albert Pujols' agent thinks Pujols might join Aybar. But later in the day Alden updates the news that Pujols is not going to be in the WBC.
- Trout Porn: MLB.com gets religion and takes a stand, now that all the controversy has blown past. Roger Schlueter lays out how rare and profound Trout 2012 happened to be. "Certainly, joining Mize, Kiner, Mathews and Thomas is special, and worthy of some glory. But there is another list, focused on age, that produces an equally (actually, probably more) impressive group of peers. It is one that, astonishingly, has Trout at the very top: highest OPS+ for qaualifying [sic] player in his age-20 season or younger from 1893-2012."
- Alberto Callaspo: Arbitration Season is in full swing (the words "avoid arbitration" are trending now), and Callaspo has been signed to a two year deal. Jeff Fletcher over at ocregister.com correctly points out that this will avoid arbitration AND stave off Free Agency for an additional year AND create a bridge at third base until Kaleb Cowart is ready to compete at the MLB level. That drops our remaining pack of Arb Eligible players to three: Kevin Jepsen, and the newly acquired Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson.
- Jerry Dipoto: Dipoto shuts down the weekly scribe screed needed to fill word count assignments and dismisses the idea of Kyle Lohse, even if the deal were a sweet one year parking lot so Lohse could get back into the market next year. Obviously Lohse would cost some more payroll, but he would also cost a second round pick to go with the first round pick already surrendered for signing Josh Hamilton. AND Lohse would cost Dipoto the draft pool money for a second round pick to be added to the pool money already lost with the now missing first round pick, so we wouldn't have much signing bonus money left over for whomever we do draft.
This Date In Baseball History: 1938 - the BBWAA votes in only Grover Cleveland Alexander to the HoF. Rogers Hornsby? Not even close..........1947 - the Detroit Tigers sell Hank Greenberg to the Pittsburgh Pirates immediately after Greenberg leads the AL in home runs with 44. Why? because Tiger owner Walter Briggs (senior) mistakenly thought that Greenberg had been seen wearing a Yankees uniform..........1950 - Representing Scott Boras' and Donald Fehr's worst nightmare, Bob Feller requests that his salary be cut from $65,000 to $45,000 because he thinks that his 15-14 record the previous season sucks..........1952 - After refusing to increase his salary, the Chicago White Sox accept the resignation of Charlie Comiskey, Jr. You know, the son of the guy they name their ballpark after. Charlie Junior never did like the fact that his sister Dorothy sold her (controlling) interest to Bill Veeck. You should read up on the Comiskeys. Grace Comiskey was the original Georgia Frontiere........1969 - Congress honors the late Robert Kennedy by renaming the stadium wherein the Washington Senators play. The Senators reciprocate that honor by abandoning Washington, fleeing to Texas, and becoming the Rangers two years later..........2008 - The Oakland A's avoid arbitration by signing Joe Blanton to a one year, $3.7 million contract. Yeah, THAT Joe Blanton..........2008 - Bud Selig gets a unanimous contract extension by team owners for 3 more years of Excellence In Sports Stewardship. Yes, that was snark. But note that the vote was unanimous, so it included the approval of Arte Moreno.
- Here is the latest update on expanded instant replay for MLB games: "..............". As in, nothing. Jayson Stark over at EastSPiN dives into the state of things and the reason why we won't be having any of it in 2013. His conclusion - thank heaven they got common sense and slowed everything down! "When baseball officials began seriously studying the best way to address fair/foul and trap/catch calls, they discovered something that shifted this entire discussion in a whole different direction: There are so few of those calls worth reviewing, what's the point?" Ok, Ok. So I took a cheap shout and played with the context. But I would still claim that if these guys have not figured out by now what the heck it is that needs to be reviewed, what have they been doing all this time???
- Here's one more reason to like David Price. Always on the ball. He got involved and structured his new contract in such a way that works around the coming Federal tax changes, AND enables the Rays to keep Price's future open and flexible.
Still Hungover from the Hall Of Fame Voting
In the week past of the now-infamous HoF voting, there are still some articles of aftershocks reverberating back and forth between the factions of interested experts. One rather curious artifact jumped up and bit me in the butt. I will reveal the answers and link to the inspiration AFTER showing you the data, but let's give you some information in as unbiased a manner as possible. There ARE a couple of links coming for all of this. I promise.
Here are some career numbers from two retired MLB pitchers, both of whom you know. The first set of numbers compare the season averages of each player, in terms of the most common numbers most often quoted. Looking at these numbers alone, these two pitchers appear to be pretty similar, except that player "A" averaged more complete games and, therefore, faced on average more total innings per season:
|Player "A"||18 Seasons||162 Game Avg.||16||12||3.900||33||11||242||225||105||25||88||157|
|Player "B"||17 Seasons||162 Game Avg.||14||12||3.850||32||4||219||211||94||21||91||179|
These numbers are the same two players, but less commonly referenced. Again, pretty similar, considering that these are career per season averages. You can see a slight favor towards player "A" in WHIP, hits per 9, and walks per 9. Player "B" has the edge in ERA+, and a decent edge in strikeout rates. But all in all, nothing remarkable here, either.
|Player "A"||18 Seasons||162 Game Avg.||1019||105||1.296||8.4||0.9||3.3||5.8||1.78|
|Player "B"||17 Seasons||162 Game Avg.||936||115||1.376||8.6||0.9||3.7||7.3||1.96|
Finally, let's distill a lot of metrics, some rather advanced, into one comparative counter. And, instead of looking at averages, let's look at the total - where the difference is maximized. Clearly, player "B" is holding a serious advantage, even though he played one entire season less.
|Player "A"||18 Seasons||39.3|
|Player "B"||17 Seasons||54.3|
In summary, what do we have here? Would you agree that on the surface these two players are not significantly different? Except, perhaps, for what might be buried in bWAR, where player "B" shows clear separation above player "A"? Yes? We agree? Good.
So what, you ask? Well, one of these two players is supported by a humongous campaign by baseball writers to get their peers to elect him into the Hall of Fame. The other player got so few votes by those same writers in his one and only appearance on the HoF ballot, that he dropped off altogether and has not sniffed any discussion ever since. Those two facts, when taken in the context of the comparative numbers above, should make no sense. And when you learn that player "B" is the one who was merely the "one and done", it is less understandable.
Ok, enough. Who are we talking about? Well, player "A" is Jack Morris, that darling of the Jon Heymans and Tom Verduccis of the world. Player "B" is, of all people, our very own Chuck Finley. And the article that inspired this, over at BaseballAnalytics, is here. That's right. One might get into a reasonable discussion/argument over the relative merits of Jack Morris versus Chuck Finley (ZOMG, all those innings, Those CYA votes! And the 1984 World Series!!). But nobody should be able to defend one player sticking around on the ballot so long and getting such support that his getting elected to the Hall would be considered a watershed rejection of contemporary analysis, while the other player gets completely rejected by those same voters at their earliest possible opportunity. In 2008, Chuck Finley got his one single vote. 232 less than Jack Morris that same year. Indefensible.
Mike Napoli cashes in his FA chips! Oh. Wait. That's pretty much the same money as Chris Iannetta, but without the other two years of security..........Curt Schilling is going to auction off one used sock. $100,000 extra charge for blood stain..........Fun Winter Diversion: CSI forensics applied to a baseball card..........Bad umpiring existed well before we could prove it with pitchF/X..........I hate it when one of our competitors starts to wake up to the fact that they have a fatal flaw in their decision-making process, one that has benefited the Angels for years. Don't you?
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
Friday: the Winterfest Beer & Wine Social for 2013 will be held at the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel up in Sacramento. It's a charity event, so maybe you bump into a Governor or two.
Saturday: ArcLight Cinemas in Sherman Oaks is hosting a beer tasting of Figueroa Mountain Brew. (according to the notes, flight tastings will also be held at the Hollywood and La Jolla locations, but a rep from the brewery will only be at Sherman Oaks.) Not exactly sure where there is a mountain named Figueroa, but if you have a hankering for seeing Zero Dark Thirty this weekend, you might as well have a beer or two beforehand..........The San Diego Zoo is the place for The Brewmaster Dinner featuring Iron Fist Brewing. I don't mean to put this event down, but unless it's vegan there is just something creepy about eating a meal at a zoo.