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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Pickoff Moves

Snakes Sign Glaus

The Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly signed free-agent 3B Troy Glaus, according to MSNBC. The contract terms were four years and $45M. IMO this was a remarkably stupid deal, both in years and dollars, but it does do one thing: it may force the Dodgers to overpay for Adrian Beltre even more. That said, I like Troy and wish him well in his new digs in Arizona -- unless they're playing the Dodgers, of course.

Mantei Moves To Boston

Former Arizona closer Matt Mantei signed with Boston, for a one-year, $750k contract. He will there assume a setup role for established closer Keith Foulke.

Update: Yes, Bob, you're right, it's M-a-n-t-e-i.

Closer and Closer: Hendry Targeting Danny Kolb?

If this is true, I rescind any nice things I may have ever said about Jim Hendry being an astute judge of baseball talent: the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs are hot after Milwaukee closer Danny Kolb. Kolb's 3.30 K/9 and 1.40 K/BB rates represent one of his worst years in the majors and a possible indicator of bad things to come. At best, he's a Ben Weber type who'll keep the ball on the ground, but his ERA is not indicative of ability; he's much, much worse than the 2.98 ERA he accomplished this year. IMO Hendry would be better off with LaTroy Hawkins in the closer spot; at least he can still strike 'em out.

A 40-Man Observation

Earlier in the week, I mentioned that leaving RHP Steve Andrade off the 40-man roster might have been a mistake. Who was on the 40-man roster that could have been left off? Well: Alfredo Amezega, maybe? It's not as easy a choice as I thought.

Why didn't the Angels offer Glaus arbitration so that they would at least get draft pick compensation? I know it is a gamble because then maybe he decides to stay (and they want to use a cheaper McPherson), but it seems a small gamble given how attractive a free agent he was.
Hawkins does *not* do well as a closer. He blew 9 of 34 save opportunities, and at least two in the final week of the season when he had two out in the 9th when he threw a fastball over the plate on an 0-2 count. He does not have closer stuff, in this case, that means intellegent pitch selection.

There's been extensive discussion of Kolb as a closer over on The Cub Reporter and some folks whom I respect, and who are both saber-minded and have seen Kolb pitch on a number of occasions, are optimistic about Kolb as a closer at Wrigley. He throws many, many ground balls, and he just keeps getting outs.

Hawkins career save percentage is 72. Kolb's career save percentage is 86. I know who I'd choose, but that's because of those 0-2 fastballs, which became so frequent that I could predict them. At least if Kolb gives up a hit it's not likely to leave the park.
Anon -- Courtesy to Glaus, perhaps? By failing to give him arbitration and letting other teams know they weren't going to re-sign him as early as possible in the offseason, it doesn't harm his value any as a free agent. If they do go for arbitration, not only is there the danger he might accept as you point out, but there's the danger to him if he rejects their offer out of hand that another team will pass him by because of the draft pick issue.
mmorgaine -- how many of those closes were quality closes, defined by the Elias Sports Bureau as:

* a save in a game in which the tying run was in scoring position when he entered.
* (And/or) save a game in which he protected a one-run lead for at least one inning.

45.2% of Eric Gagné's saves during his late streak were quality closes. How many of Kolb's were? How many of Hawkins' were? I would be willing to bet Kolb came to the mound with nobody on in the top of the ninth more times than Hawkins did.

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