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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peter Bourjos, A Bottom Half Defender?

Hard to believe, but that's the surprising result from David Pinto's analysis. (Pinto notes that Fangraphs rates him much higher.) Bonus if you drill through his post on team probabilistic model of range: the Retrosheet database download suitable for MySQL. I'll have to check that out later today.

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A Fairy Tale Dodger Fans Hope Comes True

Howard Cole, the Register's Dodger blogger, has a hopeful piece about Frank McCourt not retaining the team's parking lot:
Beside the most obvious reasons – buyers want every inch of Dodger Stadium included, the lots will land Frank un-spendable fortune if sold now or in the near future, and everyone (probably even including McCourt himself) wants this over once and for all – selling the team lock, stock and a few of Manny’s leftover corked barrels is the simplest and the most logical thing to do.

Plus, once upon a time from Frank McCourt, there was something like this: “I’m not selling the team, I’m not selling the team, Boston baked beans, Celtics, Patriots, get out my face, I’m not selling the team!”

True as far as it goes, but at that point he did not have an agreement that he could retain the parking lots and none else. While it might be nice to fantasize about the team retaining its historic revenue generators, there's no guarantee that the bidders won't accept buying the team without Frank McCourt attached as a landlord.

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Mike Trout's Free Agency Price

Joe Sheehan Kevin Goldstein yesterday at BPro tallied Mike Trout's likely going price at $120M/8 years if he were magically to become a free agent. (No, this is not a news report. Stand down.) One nit I have with the article is this:
“The bidding would be insane because what team would not at least check in with all three of these guys' agents?” asked a National League official. “Wouldn't twenty-plus teams make serious offers and at least half the teams make competitive ones?
No, actually, they wouldn't. How many teams have a hole at CF? That's a serious question to answer before you go around making up economic scenarios. That said, I don't see the final bid arrived at above as too far removed from reality.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bengie Molina's Retirement Party Announces His Retirement

A tweet from Bill Plunkett passes on this CSN Bay Area report indicating that Bengie Molina has retired. Good luck to him, and hope to hear back from him in Angels gear soon.

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A Field Guide To Ryan Braun Conspiracy Theories

A fun little piece I found at Sportsthodoxy the other day. Excerpt:
Conspiracy theories are dumb. They are predicated on the simultaneous notion that A)there are vast, powerful groups of people exerting their reach invisibly to alter the course of world events on a scale vast and unimaginable and B)they're doing so in such a way that every dude named Shecky with dialup access can find the clues they're leaving behind. I mean, sure, the idea that someone out there is planning all this has to be comforting on some level - more comforting than the notion that there's no one in charge and thus, no one to magically save the day should events warrant it - but as a dedicated reader of conspiracy theory material for writing-related purposes, I can safely say that one conspiracy theory is generally dumber than the next. Doctor Rich recommends taking two Michael Shermer books, chasing them with Jon Ronson's excellent treatise Them, and taking a nap.

That being said, the Braun verdict has produced any number of hare-brained analyses, ranging from the insulting to the deeply insulting. Here's a quick rundown.

Braun Got Off Because Bud Selig Used To Own The Brewers

The key term in all this, of course, is "used to". As in, "he sold the team". As in "Some other dude named Mark Attanasio owns it now." Sure, the conspiracy theorists say, but it was his team, and it's in his hometown, and they've got a statue of him out front of their park! Surely that's enough reason for Bud to ham-fistedly rig the appeals process!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brandon McCarthy's Bill James Moment

I just fell in love with this piece on ESPN The Magazine when I got it in the mail (I'm a subscriber to the print edition via Insider) because of the cover alone and the included text:
After he discovered analytics, Brandon McCarthy changed his motion, saved his career, signed the big money deal, and married this model. Score one for the nerds!
As Helen observed, his wife (who makes her money in front of the camera, but in a different way) is clearly more relaxed than McCarthy (who is all about the "meh, you're looking at her, but it's all good). Fun piece.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rick Caruso And Joe Torre Withdraw Their Bid And Why That's A Good Thing (Most Likely)

Bill Shaikin fills in the blanks for the day's big Dodgers story (assuming you don't count Rubby de la Rosa starting the season on the 60-day DL with elbow trouble, or claiming Matt Angle off waivers, or Jose Ascanio failing his physical and thus voiding his contract, or Mike MacDougal "feeling something" in his back). I'll cut to the chase, because another Dodger bidder out of the offing is not necessarily a good thing; you want the team to fetch a good price at auction (something you may recall was a bit of controversy in the Red Sox bidding with the John Henry group).

This is a suspicion — and only that — but the $1.5 billion-plus bids the team is fielding now are at least in part contingent on the team being sold along with the parking lots. And if Frank is not selling the parking lots — as he has repeatedly said he won't — along with the team, then the price will come down accordingly. As it has been my considered opinion that overpaying for the Dodgers will lead to bad teams (to make up for the overpayment), this cannot help but be a good thing in the short and long terms. My hope, anyway, is that McCourt intransigence will eventually mean he cannot recoup enough to make good with his wife. That will force him to sell the parking lots.

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Ryan Braun Cleared Of Doping Charges

All over the Interwebz, so I'll use this Craig Calcaterra piece at NBC Sports' Hardball Talk as my jumping off point about Ryan Braun being cleared of doping charges; he will not serve any suspension time. MLB "vehemently disagrees" with the decision made by a three-man panel that chain of custody issues (which MLB itself set up!) tainted the test outcome. More from Calcaterra:
Ryan Braun got off on a technicality? Bull. Major League Baseball half-assed it and failed to adhere to the standards it set up for itself. In that case I have no problem considering Braun to be the less culpable party. Anyone who says otherwise is more interested in assumptions and the casting of aspersions than they are in a rigorous and legitimate drug testing regime.
Agreed 100%.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Angels Sign Jason Isringhausen To Minor-League Deal

It's cute how they give a phonetic pronunciation guide after his name in this Angels press release. The former Oakland and St. Louis closer was last seen with the Mets in 2011, where he compiled a 3-3 record with a 4.05 ERA as a 38-year-old. He'll have his work cut out for him to make the team out of spring training.

Update: Isringhausen will become a free agent if he doesn't make the team, which is probably best for all parties concerned.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Manny Ramirez Signs With Oakland

Kind of a crazy story, given Manny's multiple brushes with banned substances, but it looks like the A's get to find out what's left in the tank at one year and $500,000. He'll still have to sit out 50 games due to his prior suspension.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Padres On The Verge Of $1 Billion/20-Year TV Deal

Per MLB.com's Barry Bloom, the Padres are about to sign a $1 billion/20-year TV deal with Fox that will create a regional sports network in San Diego. I have to wonder that, over time, these deals will instead become crippling hamstrings, especially if inflation heats up.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fear That New York Would Corner The Free Agency Market — In 1912

A great story by NBC Sports' Craig Calcaterra on the 1912 US Baseball League, which ultimately failed, but had the interesting feature that it allowed free agency and multiyear deals to its players.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Royals Sign Steve Physioc, Rex Hudler For Their TV Broadcasts

Really kind of a big surprise (and thanks to a tweet by Victor Rojas for the heads up) to see that Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler will join Ryan Lefebvre in the Fox Sports Kansas City TV booth for the 2012 broadcast season. They both have multi-year deals, terms unknown at this time. Congratulations to both.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Mark Trumbo Cleared For All Baseball Activities

Bullet dodged.
The crack in his foot is still there, but doctors told Trumbo it's very small and stable enough to resume activity. So recently, the Anaheim native has been getting some field work in with the help of bench coach Rob Picciolo and bullpen coach Steve Soliz, in preparation for a season in which the Angels hope he can at least be a part-time option at third base.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Oakland Extends GM Billy Beane Through 2019

Good thing? Dunno; it seems like the move out of the Coliseum is inevitable, but on permanent hold, and a prerequisite to getting more money to spend on players and draftees.

Dodgers Sign Kershaw To 2-Year/$19M Deal

Tweets from Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez peg what is likely to be Ned Colletti's last significant act as Dodgers GM: the signing of Clayton Kershaw for 2 years and $19M. I would have preferred a longer-term deal, but you can't have everything.

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