Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
Monthly archives: December 2003


Boomer or Bust?
2003-12-31 13:14
by Mike Carminati

California is a place in which a boom[er] mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things had better work here, because here, beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.

—Joan "Bo" Didion

It seems that David Wells' on-again/off-again relationship with the Yankees is off…again. The estimable Post reports that Wells is headed to San Diego for between $1.5 to $1.75 M, eschewing the Yankees offer of a minor-league deal with weight clauses. Word has it that Wells will be paid in donuts by the Padres. The Yankees had refused to do so.

The deal makes no sense for the floundering Padres, who cannot hope to finish any higher than third in 2004, except for the fact that they are moving into a new stadium and perhaps think they can draw a few extra fans with Wells' name.

Wells pitched well in 2003—his adjusted ERA was 6% better than the league average—until bowing out of game five of the World Series in the second inning with a back injury. Wells was made the goat in the Series, but he did pitch well in the postseason (2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 5 appearances). Wells' season started oddly when he claimed that he was drunk when he pitched his perfect game with the Yankees in 1998 in his apparently intentionally scurrilous autobiography. I guess the bow-out was the perfect way to bookend his season especially after bragging about his lack of a workout regimen the day before. It does seem odd that Wells, who's supposed to be historian of the game and tough competitor, would allow his swan song in the Big Apple be that abbreviated appearance, especially at an age when most players are trying to cozy up to the locals for the post-career career. I guess Wells felt that those bridges had been burnt already or that he didn't want to suffer the indignity of weight clauses, no matter how much he needs them.

Lefty Andy Pettitte also recently signed with Houston. This leaves the Yankees with no left-handed starters for the first time since 1947. Given the short right-field porch, it's always been assumed that a lefty or two is needed in the Yankee rotation.

Witness the following totals for Yankee left-handed pitchers. The totals are represented as a percentage of Yankee pitchers' stats and an ERA % under 100% is good (the opposite of ERA+). Also, I have the averages at the bottom for every season and then split up by the pre-Yankee Stadium era (1903-1922):

Yank Stad56.2535.90%121.9334.00%480.1734.24%3.6197.65%

Yankee lefties have fared better than righties in the Yankee Stadium era (3% better ERA). However, the latest Yankee dynasty didn't seem to benefit much from southpaws (5.23 ERA in 2000?).

Given the turnover in the Yankee rotation—just Mike Mussina remains from the 2003 rotation—they have other things to worry about than the lack of left-handers. Such as Kevin Browns' age and history of injury, Jon Leiber's rehabilitation, whether Jose Contreras is a viable major-league starter, etc. It will be odd if Felix Heredia leads all Yankee left-handers in wins next year though.

Like School on Saturday, Part II
2003-12-29 17:28
by Mike Carminati

OK, when last we left our Hall of Fame study, we saw that the players that retired in the Thirties had a ridiculously better chance of making it to the Hall than any other decade. Also, a general decline in the numbers since then has been the trend. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that we are dealing with a moving target: The Thirties classes have the advantage of being a decade more of voting than the ones from the Forties, etc. However, that doesn't explain why there are so few players from the Twenties retirement classes in the Hall.

I think clearly the bloated offensive numbers in the late Twenties and early Thirties unfairly helped the players that were at their peak during this period and unfairly hurt the players that had the best years before this period. This doesn’t bode well for veterans whose careers cam before the offensive surge of the last decade like Rice, Dawson, and Murphy.

Another phenomenon is the trend for voters to latch onto a candidate early in their eligibility and get him elected. This seemed to start with the retirement classes from the Seventies and has become the norm. It seems to be much more difficult to get in if one doesn't get elected in the first couple of elections.

What I would like to do next is segregate the Hall of Famers by the body that elected them. I will include all of the baseball writers' election in one group and the various veterans' committees in the other. And I am still basing this on retirement class. One could look at the elections over time, but I prefer grouping by retirement class. I want to know what happens to a player who retires at a certain time. If Rollie Fingers had had the longevity of Goose Gossage would he be in the Hall? I think not. If Goose Gossage had retired a few years earlier, would he have gone into the Hall? I believe so. Gary Carter gets in after a bit of a wait but Gil Hodges doesn't.

Next, I will use the writers' eligibility rules over the years to determine how many first-year inducted there were, how many were elected in their first ten years, how many were elected in their last five years, and how many were elected after their first 10 years of eligibility but prior to their last five. Eligibility for those retiring prior to 1936 starts in 1936. I want to determine how the different eras' voters reacted to first-ballot candidates, relatively new candidates, candidates in that middle period, and candidates running out of time (last five years).

I will also look at how the veterans selected players over the years. Did they select players still eligible to the writers? Did the select a lot from one era as opposed to another?

Here are the baseball writers' Hall of Famers:

Decade1st yr<=10 yrsMiddle yrsLast 5 yrsTotal

Notice that the first-year candidates have taken hold since the Seventies, but that aside from the disdain for Fifties retirees, the writers had selected between 13 and 17 players from the Forties to the Eighties retirees. Some Nineties retirees are still not eligible, so the jury's still out for them. I also found it interesting that only one player in recent memory (Duke Snider in 1980) has been elected in his last five years of eligibility.

It seems that the expectation is that Hall-worthy players go in quickly or not at all. That doesn't bode well for Bert Blyleven.

Now here are the veterans' selections (eligible players only):


(Note: Remember Addie Joss, who never played 10 seasons, is not part of this study. However, he would fall in the 1910s decade in the greater than cutoff column.)

So not only do the vets love the Thirties retirees, they haven't been too supportive of the players since.

To be continued…

The Pope Passes
2003-12-29 12:49
by Mike Carminati

…And die of nothing but a rage to live.

—Alexander "The" Pope

The Phillies have had one golden period in their 121-year history. It stretched from the mid-Seventies to the mid-Eighties and covered the team's only World Series victory, two of its five World Series appearances, its only 100-win seasons, and six of its nine postseason appearances. It was also a time that witnessed the team's greatest position player (Mike Schmidt) and arguably its best pitcher (Steve Carlton—Pete Alexander played only seven seasons in Philly).

And yet there was one man who loomed over the period for the Phils. No, I don't mean Danny "Half this game is ninety percent mental" Ozark. I mean, of course, Paul "The Pope" Owens. Owens passed away this weekend at the age of 79.

As the Phils' farm director in the early Seventies, he oversaw the development of the core of the great Phillies teams of that era: Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Dick Ruthven, and Larry Christenson .As GM of the Phillies, Owens brought Pete Rose, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, Joe Morgan, Manny Trillo, Jim Kaat, Tug McGraw, Jim Lonborg, John Denny, and Al Holland.

Everyone remembers that he relieved Pat Corrales of the manager job in 1983 with the Phils in first. But no one seems to remember that they were just one game over .500 at the time and had just lost 17 of their last 324, and that under Owens the Phils recorded a .610 winning percentage en route to their second World Series appearance in four years.

Legend has it that Owens got a bit tipsy at the 1974 winter meetings and traded Boone and Christenson to Detroit for Bill Freehan and Jim Northrup. The next day he couldn't remember a thing about the trade much to the chagrin of Tiger GM Jim Campbell.

Owens started to lose his legendary GM magic soon after the Phils' first World Series victory in 1980. First, he traded Larry Bowa and then-youngster Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. DeJesus was supposed to be Bowa's replacement at short. He was supposedly seven years younger than Bowa, but given his rapid decline and the dubious birth dates of Latin players of that era, the difference was probably much less. Whatever the reason, both DeJesus and Bowa lost their starting shortstop gigs after the 1984 season, the year that Sandberg won the NL MVP award. DeJesus also had a very poor performance in the '83 Series, committing an error that allowed the winning run in game three. DeJesus was probably selected because of his friendship and experience with then Phils' second baseman Manny Trillo. But throwing in Sandberg was at best ill-advised and at worst disastrous for a rapidly aging club (Trillo was 31 in 1982 and had just come off a season in which he missed almost 70 games). By the way, the Cubs became a Phils Midwest in the Eighties, acquiring any and every ex-Phil player apparently in attempt to duplicate the success of the Sandberg trade.

Next, was the infamous 5-for-1 trade brought newly appointed team savior Von Hayes from the Indians for Julio Franco, Trillo, George Vukovich, Jerry Willard, and Jay Baller, all of whom played for some time in the majors. Now, Hayes became a good, if not great, player for the Phils and of the players traded only Julio Franco had much of a career ahead of him. Trillo kicked around for another six seasons though he played only 83 games in Cleveland. Willard started one season at catcher and then became a journeyman for a handful more. Vukovich was the starting right fielder in Cleveland for a few years and had a good season in 1984 but quickly vanished form the scene. Baller was nothing more than a journeyman reliever. Franco, of course, is still playing at the age of 85. He will play first for the Braves until he decomposes into a mound of dust. He's also collected 2358 hits and 155 homers—not bad for a guy who came up as a shortstop.

Hayes never shook the "Five-for-one" tag even though he had many quality seasons in Philly. I guess his poor 1983 campaign set the tone. He did give the Phils seven solid to very good seasons thereafter however.

The "savior" tag didn't help either nor was it fair. Looking back at his early stats, there's no reason to think that Hayes would have been any better than he turned out to be—actually I'm surprised he was as good as he was. Despite his five-tool-edness, Hayes didn't draw too many walks as a youngster (42 walks and .310 OBP as a rookie n 1982) and didn't slug a ton (.389 in 1982). Although he had good speed, he was often caught stealing (20 stolen bases and 12 caught stealing in 1983, 32 and 13 in 1982) and grounded into a bunch of doubleplays (at least 10 a year for five of the six seasons from 1982 to 1987), doubly odd because he was a left-handed bat. Anyway, I would have doubted that he would never have received 100 walks in a season as he did twice (1987 and '89) nor had an OBP over .400 (1987).

In the final assessment, Hayes though a good player was never the franchise player that he was expected to be and the amount of young talent given up to get him was excessive. This was of course, pre-Moneyball GM'ing.

Lastly, Owens tenure as manager in 1983-84 was when the crest broke for the Phils' "Golden Age". The '83 club dubbed the "Wheeze Kids" was stocked with aging players. The 1984 club passed the baton to younger players like Hayes, Juan Samuel, Lenny Matuszek, Glenn-Bo Wilson, Ozzie Virgil, Marty Bystrom, Kevin Gross, and Charlie Hudson. Other youngsters like Don Carman, Rick Schu, Jeff Stone, John Russell, Steve Jeltz, and Mike LaValliere waited in the wings. It was the same formula that used to great success a decade earlier, they just didn't have the right players. They also didn't have Owens building the minor-league system to feed the right players.

Whatever the reason, that team ended up 81-81. Owens stepped down, turned the manager's job over to John Felske, and returned to the front office though not as GM. Aside from the lightning-in-a-bottle season of 1993, the Phils haven't been much more than a mediocre team ever since, and they have been for worse than that at times. Owens' passing comes as the Phils prepare to move into a new stadium and as they build a team that will probably be favored to win the NL East in 2004. It's too bad Owens won't be a part of it.

2003-12-29 12:47
by Mike Carminati

The Montreal Expos signed third baseman Tony Batista a few days ago. Now, the 'Spos do not have the funds to keep any of their decent younger players like Vlad Guerrero and Javier Vazquez, but GM Omar "Oh My!" Minaya can spend reportedly $1.5 M on a 30-year-old whose adjusted OPS was 76% of the league average last season.

Quoth Omar the Magnificent:

"We have added a much-needed right-handed bat to our lineup with the addition of Tony Batista. Tony's presence also provides us with a veteran glove at third base, and his right-handed bat adds balance to our lineup."

The AP article on the signing states that Montreal "added some much needed power to their lineup" and mentions that Batista has averaged 31 home runs over the last five seasons. Batista had decent pop a few years ago (slugged .518 or .519 from 1998 to 2000), but his .393 slugging average last season was 18th among the 19 third baseman who qualified for the batting title (Edgardo Alfonzo was last at .391).

It's true that Batista still can hit his share of home runs, but given that his average has not been over .245 since 2000 and that his on-base percentage has not been over .310 since 1999, they're not enough. As for his "veteran glove" at third, a) Batitsa has only been a third baseman for about three and one-half seasons. Prior to that he was a shortstop. And b) Batista's range at third has never been anything to write home about. Last year his range was well below average (his range factor was 2.53 as compared to 2.67 for the average Al third baseman).

Batista is a player rapidly losing his skills as well. His defense fell of severely last season, along with his OBP (.270, .32 points below his poor career average). His slugging average was the lowest since he was a 23-year-old role player, as was his batting average. He walked 26 times in 670 plate appearances. His performance was not that much worse than his career averages, but it was lower in just about every facet of his game.

And we are not talking about Mike Schmidt here. Batista's career-high adjusted OPS for a full season is just 12% better than the league average and that was over four years ago. Since then he has been 3% better than average, 14% worse, 2% better, and 24% worse last year. Batista's game started to erode with the inability to draw a walk probably due to his ridiculous batting stance. And a move from short to third meant that his power was marginalized.

The 'Spos can hope that 2002 was just an off year and he bounces back to being an average offensive third baseman, but given his age and his salary isn't it a bad bet? There aren't great options on the free agent market, but Shane Halter, Greg Norton, and 2003 Expo Todd Zeile are probably not much worse than Batitsta and can be had for a song. Or why not hand the job to Triple-A third sacker Scott Hodges and save a million or so? He is basically Batista minus a few homers and a few years.

Oh, but I forgot that Minaya is a genius so of course, it'll all work out as well as the man he is replacing at third, Fernando Tatis. OK, that wasn't Minaya's fault, but acquiring Hernandez brothers' salaries sure was and those helped the Expos wave bye-bye to Guerrero and Vazquez but allowed them to sign Batista. That’s how these Expos tick.

Like School on Saturday, It Sometimes Gangs Aft Agley
2003-12-22 12:23
by Mike Carminati

The best laid schemes o’ mice and men Gang aft agley;

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!

— "Sleepy" Robert Burns

I started this Hall of Fame analysis last week but found that the data in the source that I use and my interpretation of the data were problematic. I used the new historical data on the Hall's website to update the data. I also had to change my analysis to account for past voting peculiarities.

First, the five-year waiting period was not imposed to relatively recently. In the past, even active players received Hall of Fame votes. I still will be evaluating players by retirement classes, but it complicates things a bit.

Second, from the Forties to the Sixties the baseball writers would skip one or two years between Hall votes.

Third, in 1946, 1949, 1964, and 1967 the writers used a two-phase system. First all players were voted on and then a certain number of the highest vote getters would be voted on again in the second round.

In 1946, the top twenty candidates in the "Nominating Ballot" still needed 75% in the "Final Ballot" to gain entrance. No one did—Frank Chance was the top vote getter at 57% even though, or maybe because, just about everyone in the final twenty would eventually be elected to the Hall. In 1949, again the top 20 from the "First Ballot" were on the "Run-off Ballot". This time, the top vote getter was guaranteed admittance. Charlie Gehringer and his 85.03% of the vote ended up not needing the safety net. In 1964, the top 30 on the "First Ballot" went on the "Run-off Ballot". This time two players topped 75%, but only one, the top vote getter, Luke Appling (at 84%), was enshrined. Red Ruffing and his 81.78% would have to wait. The procedures were the same for the 1967 election, and this time Ruffing (86.93%) did get in, but Ducky Joe Medwick (81.05 %) would have to wait to get his plaque until the next year's election.

The Hall recognizes only the vote in the final round in each of the cases above, even though in the first round Gehringer received only 66.67%, Appling 70.64%, and Ruffing 72.60%. While neither the first or second round can be said to truly represent the voters' view of the player, I thought that taking an average of the two would do best.

Here are the updated percentages for all Hall inductees based on average voting percentage for the year they were elected. Note that they are all still over 75%:

YrNameVoting PCT
1992Tom Seaver98.84%
1999Nolan Ryan98.79%
1936Ty Cobb98.23%
1999George Brett98.19%
1982Hank Aaron97.83%
1995Mike Schmidt96.52%
1989Johnny Bench96.42%
1994Steve Carlton95.82%
1936Babe Ruth95.13%
1979Willie Mays94.68%
1989Carl Yastrzemski94.63%
1962Bob Feller93.75%
1993Reggie Jackson93.62%
1966Ted Williams93.38%
1969Stan Musial93.24%
1990Jim Palmer92.57%
1983Brooks Robinson91.98%
2002Ozzie Smith91.74%
1936Christy Mathewson90.71%
1991Rod Carew90.52%
1982Frank Robinson89.16%
1955Joe DiMaggio88.84%
1980Al Kaline88.31%
1974Mickey Mantle88.22%
1951Mel Ott87.17%
1947Carl Hubbell86.96%
1972Sandy Koufax86.87%
1976Robin Roberts86.86%
1952Harry Heilmann86.75%
1980Duke Snider86.49%
1955Ted Lyons86.45%
1939George Sisler85.77%
1987Billy Williams85.71%
1972Yogi Berra85.61%
2003Eddie Murray85.28%
1956Hank Greenberg84.97%
1968Joe Medwick84.81%
1984Luis Aparicio84.62%
1947Frankie Frisch84.47%
2001Dave Winfield84.47%
1981Bob Gibson84.04%
1977Ernie Banks83.81%
1985Hoyt Wilhelm83.80%
1983Juan Marichal83.69%
1936Honus Wagner83.63%
1936Walter Johnson83.63%
1937Nap Lajoie83.58%
1952Paul Waner83.33%
1973Warren Spahn83.16%
1984Harmon Killebrew83.13%
1954Rabbit Maranville82.94%
1988Willie Stargell82.44%
1964Luke Appling82.34%
2001Kirby Puckett82.14%
1937Tris Speaker82.09%
1990Joe Morgan81.76%
1955Dazzy Vance81.67%
1998Don Sutton81.61%
1986Willie McCovey81.41%
1992Rollie Fingers81.16%
1938Pete Alexander80.92%
1997Phil Niekro80.34%
1954Bill Dickey80.16%
1967Red Ruffing79.77%
1985Lou Brock79.75%
2000Carlton Fisk79.56%
1947Mickey Cochrane79.50%
1978Eddie Mathews79.42%
1969Roy Campanella79.41%
1951Jimmie Foxx79.20%
1953Dizzy Dean79.17%
1956Joe Cronin78.76%
1976Bob Lemon78.61%
1984Don Drysdale78.41%
1942Rogers Hornsby78.11%
2003Gary Carter78.02%
1974Whitey Ford77.81%
1939Eddie Collins77.74%
1955Gabby Hartnett77.69%
1948Herb Pennock77.69%
1962Jackie Robinson77.50%
1999Robin Yount77.46%
1954Bill Terry77.38%
1970Lou Boudreau77.33%
1991Gaylord Perry77.20%
2000Tony Perez77.15%
1948Pie Traynor76.86%
1947Lefty Grove76.40%
1987Catfish Hunter76.27%
1937Cy Young76.12%
1972Early Wynn76.01%
1949Charlie Gehringer75.85%
1939Willie Keeler75.55%
1975Ralph Kiner75.41%
1991Fergie Jenkins75.40%
1953Al Simmons75.38%

Finally, only 96 players have been voted into the Hall. The rest were selected by various veteran committees, none of who revealed their methods or madnesses to the public directly. That is, until the procedures were changed last year. So there are voting results from the Veterans' Committee for 2003 but none from any other year. Even with this anomaly I decided to keep the data in because I love numbers.

Anyway, without further ado here is the revamped version…

“Rudy, You’re like school on Saturday…no class.”

—Russell from the Fat Albert show.

I was recently reviewing this year’s Hall of Fame class and attempted to handicap each candidate’s probability of being elected. That got me to thinking about what it means to be elected to the Hall at any given time.

Is it easier to get in on the first ballot today or not? To get in within the 20 years, when his candidacy on the writers’ ballot expires and he must pass to the Veterans’ Committee? Is it easier to get in within the first five years of a player’s candidacy or the last five? Is someone more likely to get elected after, say, 10 years on the writers’ ballot or after going on the veterans’ ballot?

First, I took a look at the length of time it took a player from a given era to get into the Hall. Here are the ground rules: First, a player must have been active in the majors for at least ten years. That eliminates Addie Joss, for whom they bent the rules, as well as Monte Irvin and Satchell Paige, who were elected largely for their play in the Negro Leagues. Second, the player must have gone in as a player, not a manager, executive, or any other capacity.

One other complication is waiting period. Today, an eligible candidate must wait five full seasons after retirement to be considered. It turns into 6 years because of the timing of the voting. Paul Molitor retired in 1998 but has just become eligible for the 2004 election. Also, only players active in the previous 20 years are eligible. Therefore, there is a 15-year window.

This was not always the case, however. Originally, anyone was eligible, including active players. Active players Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, Jimmy Foxx, Frankie Frisch, Al Simmons, Lefty Grove, Gabby Hartnet, Pie Trayunor, Rogers Hornsby, and Mickey Cochrane all received votes in the first election. Babe Ruth was elected after one year of retirement. This wasn't a Minnie Minoso or Jose Rijo-type comback (both of whom received Hall of Fame votes after the five-year waiting period and then went on to play major-league baseball again). These players were still in their primes. Even though the five-year wait was instituted in 1954 , Warren Spahn received one vote in 1958. That year he won 22 games; he would go on to win 20 four more times. He is, however, still considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer, becoming be-plaqued in 1973 in the first election after his five-year wait period was up.

By the way, Joe DiMaggio was elected to the Hall in 1955, just four years after his retirement. However, he had been exempted from the waiting period. When the rule was implemented, players who had received at least 100 votes in the 1953 election were spared. DiMaggio was the sole beneficiary, the Burleigh Grimes as it were, of the 5-year rule.

Between 1946 and 1953 one-year waiting period had been the rule, yet players would still receive votes in the year in which they retired. This was the case for Bill Dickey and Ted Lyons in 1946, Dizzy Dean in 1947, in Ducky Joe Medwick in 1948, and Bucky Walters in 1950. Also, Satchel Paige received a vote in 1951 when he was still pitching for the Browns. This was the only vote he ever received in the baseball writers election.

Prior to 1946, there was no specified waiting period. The custom of voting for active players died out after the second election in 1937 (Bill Cissell—huh?—was the only active player to receive a vote in 1937). But it did have a comeback during World War II, when it was difficult to determine the playing status of players in the military and when some retired players returned to the majors. Thus, Joe DiMaggio, Pepper Martin, Babe Herman, Joe Gordon, Dizzy Dean, John Vander Meer, Hank Greenberg, Ted Lyons, and Bill Dickey all received votes during the war and then returned to action in the majors.

At the end of the eligibility spectrum, the cutoff year, which is now 20 years, has changed over the years as well. No cutoff was specified initially, making it more difficult to focus on worthy more recent players. In 1946, a cutoff of 25 years was implemented. That became 30 years in 1956, and then the current 20 in 1963.

This rule has not been enforced very stringently even as recently as five years ago. Ron Santo was allowed to stay on the ballot until 1998 even though he retired in 1998. Apparently, he remained eligible for fifteen elections not 15 years. He first went on the ballot in 1980, but did not received any votes (?) from 1981-84. The original 25-year cutoff was ignored each year from 1946 to 1955. During this period 139 players who has been retired for over 25 years received votes from the writers. 64 of these players had been retired for at least 30 years. The topper was Bill Lange, who received one vote in 1953 even though he had retired 54 years earlier (and played just 7 seasons).

It seems that the thirty-year cutoff was a bone thrown to the writers to avoid such choices as Lange. The writers did seem to follow this rule more closely, though they still couldn't refuse some candidates: Ray Schalk (1 vote in 1956 after 35 years of retirement), Fielder Jones (retired 47 years), Addie Joss (retired 50 years), Heine Groh (retired 50 years), Hans Lobert (retired 43 years).

Since implementing a 20-year cutoff, the writers have bent the rules for more players than just Santo. Curt Flood stayed on the ballot for 25 years after retirement, Vada Pinson 21, Ken Boyer 25, Harvey Kuenn 25, Roy Face 21, Don Lasen 21, and Augie Galan 21.

Anyway, everyone knows that Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente went into the Hall in their final year as a major-leaguer via special elections after they were befell by tragedy. But aside from those two, Babe Ruth, Cal Hubbell, Mel Ott, Joe DiMaggio, and Rogers Hornsby all sat for their plaque before the now-required five-year waiting period had completed. In the Thirties, Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, and Wee Willie Keeler were all enshrined well after the now-standard 20-year cutoff date.
So all of this muddies the picture a bit. It's difficult to set analysis based on nebulous eligibility ranges. I will have to take the ranges as they were established and work from there. The ranges are:

Election Yrs   Eligibility Range
1936-45 Open
1946-53 1-25 yrs
1954-55 5-25 yrs
1956-62 5-30 yrs
1963-present 5-20 yrs

Next, we shall see if the changes to ranges affected any changes in the voting over the years. I categorized players by decade in which they retired. I then banded the number of years the player had to wait: first year, by the tenth year, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-50, and greater than 50.

Ok, so here are the percentages of players elected to the Hall by retirement decade and the number of years they had to wait:

Final Yr<7 yrsEligible%7-10 yrsEligible%11-15 yrsEligible%
2000s 0.00% 0.00%0.00%
Final Yr16-20 yrsEligible%21-25 yrsEligible%26-50 yrsEligible%
Final Yr50+ yrsEligible%Total HoFEligible%Total players%
1880s 310.00%0310.00%7310.00%
1920s 1570.00%131578.28%12091.08%

To be continued…

Selig Takes Ball, Goes Home
2003-12-19 01:25
by Mike Carminati

Bud Selig ended the A-Rod-for-Manny trade talks today, probably realizing that approving deal after the players' union rejected it was an untenable position.

Even Rodriguez himself was rapidly backpedalling away from the position:

"In the spirit of cooperation, I advised the Red Sox I am willing to restructure my contract, but only within the guidelines prescribed by union officials," Rodriguez said Thursday in a statement he read to The Associated Press. "I recognize the principle involved, and fully support the need to protect the interests of my fellow players.

"If my transfer to the Red Sox is to occur, it must be done with consideration of the interests of all major league players, not just one. Any statements by club officials suggesting my position is different than stated is inaccurate and unfortunate."

So A-Rod languishes another year (apparently) with a Ranger club that is all but eliminated from the postseason already. The Red Sox either have to find a way to package Ramirez and/or Nomar Garciaparra, both of whom were tabbed to play elsewhere in 2004, or find a way to play with the now-disgruntled superstars on the roster.

It's a step back for both teams. That may not be a big deal for Texas, a team already in retrograde, but this puts a big crimp in Boston's offseason improvement plan. It's not as if flipping the second-best shortstop in baseball in order to get the best while dumping another player, who happens to be one of the best in the game, would have improved Boston. But now the Red Sox have to deal with the repurcussions while filling some gapping holes (or start Lou Merloni at second).

I can't decide if the clubs will take a PR hit over the mess. It seems like the Red Sox conspiracy theory fans will point a finger elsewhere. Ranger fans will be busily mulling over who exactly this Mr. Rod fellow is while watching their 'Boys (thank God) rapidly fade into the sunset and preparing for an exciting season of NASCAR. The players' union will apparently bear the brunt of the blame for doing their job and upholding an agreement that baseball seems to have forgotten it signed with the union a little over a year ago.

Budding In
2003-12-18 02:17
by Mike Carminati

With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out.

— William “Author” Shakespeare via “Luis” Polonius, Hamlet

What is it with Bud Selig and the Red Sox? On the day that we find out that Bud is still exploiting his conflict of interest in Milwaukee, the commissioner, and I use the term loosely, is willing to endorse the Alex Rodriguez-Manny Ramirez trade even though the players’ union has rejected the changes made to Rodriguez’s contract.

MLB’s legal mouthpiece, Rob Manfred, and I use the term loosely, had this to say:

"The basic agreement contains a rule that requires any special covenant to be an actual or potential benefit to the player. In a situation like the current situation, where there was a restructuring, where the player was getting something and the club was getting something, Gene Orza [of the players’ union] is not the final arbitrator on whether the restructuring provides an actual or potential benefit to the player. The commissioner currently is considering his legal options in consultation with the two teams."

Larry Lucchino said that the players’ union the proposed "radical changes" and that "It is a sad day when the players' association thwarts the will of its members." This is the same man who called the Yankees the “Evil Empire”. He does have a gift for the polemic. I’m surprised the Republicans haven’t scooped him up yet.
Well, let’s take a looky-look at the Collective Bargaining Agreement to see what it actually says on the matter.
Under “Schedule A—Uniform Player’s Contract”, there is a section called “Payment”. It states:

Nothing herein shall interfere with the right of the Club and the Player by special covenant herein to mutually agree upon a method of payment whereby part of the Player’s salary for the above year can be deferred to subsequent years.

So maybe Lucchino is right and Orza is overstepping his bounds.

However, later on there’s this section:

No Salary Reduction
6.(c) The amount stated in paragraph 2 [i.e., Payment] and in special covenants hereof which is payable to the Player for the period stated in paragraph 1 hereof shall not be diminished by any such assignment, except for failure to report as provided in the next subparagraph (d).

It seems pretty clear-cut to me. As long as A-Rod reports to the Red Sox, which apparently he had every intention of doing, then his salary cannot be reduced. It can be deferred but not reduced.

It’s difficult to say exactly who is in the right here because the terms have not been disclosed. However, Bud Selig is toying with endorsing the trade even though the players’ union would likely file a grievance, thereby sending it to an arbitrator.

This would be the second time that Bud bent the rules to accommodate this trade. The first was allowing the Red Sox to talk to Rodriguez without a trade in place.

I just have to ask what is it that causes Bud to be so partisan when it comes to the Red Sox. I know that Bud, as a young, unctuous used car salesman in Milwukee, was upset when his beloved Braves moved from Milwaukee and that later spurred him to wrest the Brewers from Seattle. Maybe when he harkens back to the Braves moving, it’s not the move from Milwaukee that so aggrieves him but rather the move from Boston some 13 years earlier.

Perhaps he feels that he has to give back to the Beantown community in the form of Cliff Floyd, Kevin Millar-san, extensions to finalize the Curt Schilling deal, the gentle nudge to ensure that the Red Sox acquire the best shortstop in the game since the second-best one was sticking up the field, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Either that or John Henry has a Paris Hilton video starring Bud. Take your pick.

Spare the A-Rod
2003-12-17 21:19
by Mike Carminati

ESPN reports that the players' union has rejected the changes that the Red Sox made to Alex Rodriguez's contract in their deal to acquire him from the Rangers.

This doesn't completely euthanize the deal, but it certainly disconnects the life supports.

Plugging the Gaps
2003-12-17 21:15
by Mike Carminati

Two notes of interest:

1) The Cub Reporter interviews Dave Kaval, founder of the Golden Baseball
League, where Rickey Henderson will be languishing next year.

2) The Baseball Crank has a thorough comparison between Pete "Don't Call Me Grover Cleveland" Alexander and Bob "Don't Call Me Pack" Gibson. I won't tell you his conclusions, but let's just say that Tim McCarver wouldn't be pleased. That's a good thing.

Tejada They Come
2003-12-16 14:33
by Mike Carminati

It seldom happens that any felicity comes so pure as not to be tempered and allayed by some mixture of sorrow.

--Miguel "Miggy" de Cervantes

The O's owner Peter Angelos is again in the spending mood. Since getting burned on the Albert Belle signing in 1998, aside from an odd David Segui or Marty Cordova, Baltimore has shied away from big name signees. Well, not this year.

They signed Miguel Tejada the other day and are looking to snare Vladimir Guerrero and Pudge Rodriguez. The sad thing is that even with that much talent the Orioles may still be just the fourth best team in their own division. Well, at least they've abandoned the strategy of just employing sons of famous ballplayers (Gary Matthews Jr., Tim Raines Jr., Jerry Hairston Jr., and David Segui). Maybe they were just looking for the next Cal Ripken Jr.

Tejada will be a big upgrade from last year's starter, the execrable Deivi Cruz, and is in line with Baltimore's shortstop tradition from Hughie "Ee-yah" Jennings to Luis Apiricio to Mark Belanger to Cal "Don't Call Me Billy" Ripken. However, did the O's really need to give him six years and $72 M dollars?

Even if you believe the birth date proffered by Tejada, he will be 28 next season and 34 when the contract ends. Given that the contract is reportedly as back-ended as J-Lo after a chocolate binge, there is very little reason to believe that Tejada will be worth anywhere near that much when year six, the 2009 season, rolls around.

Rob Neyer argues that Tejada has been worth (in Win Shares) as much as Jeter and Garciaparra over the last three years. Well, that's all good an well, but a) that includes a career year for Tejada (in 2002, the only year his OPS+ was over 120, his slugging was over .480, and his OBP was over .350) and b) who's to say that Jeter and Garciaparra will be worth those deals by the time they end (assuming Nomah gets the money and contract length that have been bandied about by Neyer and others).

I would also argue that Garciaparra has been a better batter each of the last three years, including Tejada's MVP year, based on adjusted OPS. Tejada gets a big boost from defensive Win Shares, which are still somewhat speculative (ask Jimmy Rollins). Also, remember that Tejada salvaged his fine 2003 campaign with a big second half (.924 OPS) after a horrific start to the season (.725 OPS, .298 OBP, .245 batting average).

One could argue that Tejada's numbers even looked good in pitching-friendly Oakland. Take a look at his road stats and he looks A-Rod-ian: .304 batting average, .361 on-base percentage, .499 slugging, and .860 OPS over te last three seasons on the road. However, note that his homers dip on the road: 43 as opposed to 49 at home over the last three years (in 26 more at-bats).

Look, I think Tejada will have a fine season in 2004. He'll probably be a one of the better shortstops in the AL for the next few seasons.

However, to think he'll be worth $12+ M in 2009 seems an extremely poor gamble to me. The problem for me isn't not how he stacks up to Jeter and Garciaparra, but rather how he stacks up against Rich Aurilia, Vern Stephens, and Travis Fryman. Jeter and Garciaparra are on-base machines though they have punch as well. Tejada of the .331 OBP even with the fine pop is not really comparable to the "Big Three".

Tejada's most similar batters among shortstops are Rich Aurilia, John Valentin, Glenn Wright, Jose Hernandez, Alex Gonzalez, and Jose Valentin. Through age 27, the most similar are: Vern Stephens, Travis Fryman, Cal Ripken Jr., Rico Petrocelli, and Travis Jackson.

Of those, Aurilia has been sub-par (according to OPS+) since turning 29, John Valentin after turning 30, Wright after 30, Gonzalez since 26, Hernandez has been sub-par after age 28 except for a career year at 32. Stephens was about average after age 30 but lost significant playing time. Fryman move from short to third after age 25 and (aside from two fluke seasons at age 29 and 31) was not the same player. Ripken, though a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, aside from a fluke season at age 38 (as a third baseman and playing only 85 games) was not the same player after turning 30. Petralli was washed up by 31 and had long been a third baseman by then. Jackson had a severe dropoff after age 27, though he did enjoy a fine season at age 31.

Jose Valentin is the odd-ball improving after age 30, but he also has played most of his time at third base as well.

Here is a list of all of the shortstops who have hit 20 homers, their age, and the on-base percentage. Note that only 15 of the 99 on the list are older than 30:

CalRipken Jr.19822821.317
CalRipken Jr.19832722.371
CalRipken Jr.19842723.374
CalRipken Jr.19852624.347
CalRipken Jr.19862525.355
CalRipken Jr.19872726.333
CalRipken Jr.19882327.372
CalRipken Jr.19892128.317
CalRipken Jr.19902129.341
CalRipken Jr.19913430.374
CalRipken Jr.19932432.329
CalRipken Jr.19962635.341
Alex S.Gonzalez20032030.295

Now, maybe Tejada will play at a high level his entire career like Joe Cronin or will even improve as he ages like Eddie Joost. Of course, those guys had on-base percentages over .360, a number Tejada as yet to meet. I doubt Tajada and his .331 OBP will be competing at the baseball age of 34, no matter what his actual age really is.

Like School on Saturday
2003-12-14 17:58
by Mike Carminati

“Rudy, You’re like school on Saturday…no class.”

—Russell from the Fat Albert show.

I was recently reviewing this year’s Hall of Fame class and attempted to handicap each candidate’s probability of being elected. That got me to thinking about what it means to be elected to the Hall at any given time.

Is it easier to get in on the first ballot today or not? To get in within the 20 years, when his candidacy on the writers’ ballot expires and he must pass to the Veterans’ Committee? Is it easier to get in within the first five years of a player’s candidacy or the last five? Is someone more likely to get elected after, say, 10 years on the writers’ ballot or after going on the veterans’ ballot?

First, I took a look at the length of time it took a player from a given era to get into the Hall. Here are the ground rules: First, a player must have been active in the majors for at least ten years. That eliminates Addie Joss, for whom they bent the rules, as well as Monte Irvin and Satchell Paige, who were elected largely for their play in the Negro Leagues. Second, the player must have gone in as a player, not a manager, executive, or any other capacity.

One other complication is that the first class was in 1936 and encompassed all players who retired before that year. The first year of eligibility for this class is 1936, but the first year thereafter is 6 years after the player retires.

Next, I categorized players by decade in which they retired. I then banded the number of years the player had to wait: first year, by the tenth year, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-50, and greater than 50.

Ok, so here are the percentages of players elected to the Hall by retirement decade and the number of years they had to wait:

Final Yr1st yrEligible%<10 yrs (not 1st yr)Eligible%11-15 yrsEligible%
2000s 0.00% 0.00%0.00%
Final Yr16-20 yrsEligible%21-25 yrsEligible%26-50 yrsEligible%
Final Yr50+ yrsEligible%Total HoFEligible%Total players%
1880s 310.00%0310.00%7310.00%
1920s 1570.00%131578.28%12091.08%

To be continued…

Behind the A-Facade
2003-12-13 02:31
by Mike Carminati

The Red Sox-Rangers deal involving the two highest paid players in baseball—Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez—either has stalled or is taking on an air of inevitability depending on your point of view.

It seems to be based on money according to all the reports merging about the deal. According to Sean McAdams, the Red Sox are adamant that they will not pay any of Ramirez remaining contract if they trade him.

Meanwhile, the second-best shortstop in baseball, Nomar Garciaparra, is publicly feuding with the Sox through his agent eliciting nasty responses from team owner John Henry. This is all while the Red Sox refuse to discuss the possibility of a trade.

And again MLB is stepping in to add GM-in-training Theo Epstein make the deal [Thanks to Chris for the article]:

The deal would be a swap of baseball's only $20 million-a-year players. In a sign of how extraordinary the situation is, commissioner Bud Selig is allowing the Red Sox to speak directly with Rodriguez. In most situations, a tentative trade must be in place before baseball grants a window for a team to speak with a player under contract to another club.

"To the extent that it happened, the commissioner has approved it," said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office.

Double-speak much, Sandy? To quote Bill Ray Valentine, "Thanks, you've been halpful."

Texas GM John Hart has requested that the deal be resolved by the end of the GM meetings on December 16:

"As long as this potentially is alive, it precludes us from having a road map of what we can do with anybody else," Hart said Sunday.

C'mon, John. Nobody wants to go to Texas anyway. The Sox should be worried about losing focus since they are ignoring at least one glaring hole (second base) and potentially creating two (add left field).

This is my basic problem with the deal for the Red Sox. The Rangers are making to lop off some of A-Rod's salary. The Sox, however, have more urgent needs than replacing the second-best shortstop in baseball with the best. Aside from losing starting second baseman, Todd Walker, and having no viable replacement, the Sox are still weak in the tail-end of the rotation and in the pen. Reports have them pursuing Keith Foulke, who would be a fine pickup if a bit pricey.

Besides, let's say the Sox make the deal. They have A-Rod at short and either flip Nomar for a starting left fielder or a second baseman. Anaheim is interested in Garciaparra but has already stated that they will not trade Garrett Anderson to obtain him.

I'm still not convinced that Theo Epstein is nothing more than a rotisserie league GM. He cornered the market on first base-left field- DH guys last year. They started the season with two starting third basemen but no viable closer.

If Epstein really were a genius and really were trying to improve the club, the one player he would divest the Sox of would be Johnn Damon in center. If he were creative, he'd find a way for the Mets to take on Damon's contract while coughing up a decent tail-end starter.

How much better is A-Rod expected to be than Garciappara? Or perhaps a better question is, how much better is A-Rod and a player-to-be-named in left than Garciaparra and Ramirez? Especially when the PTBNL probably will come in a trade for the suddenly superfluous Garciaparra, when they have no leverage.

I can see what they are thinking though: Garciaparra is reticent in dealing with the media and his contract will be up soon. Ramirez is a pain in the neck and Tim McCarver doesn't like him. This would kill both of those birds off with one A-Rod.

But the more I think about it, the more it reminds me of the Mets plans in the late Eighties to improve that proved to unravel the team. It started with swapping Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for Juas Samuel. Next, they trade five young pitchers for one veteran one, Frank Viola. The then traded the other center fielder, Mookie Wilson. Before you could say Frank Robinson, their mini-dynasty was at an end.

The Sox should learn from the Mets' troubles. Maybe Bud can help Epstein do that as well.

Stiff Com-Pettitte-ion
2003-12-12 02:32
by Mike Carminati

Well, the winter meetings haven’t even started and it's already been an interesting offseason. Today, as I'm sure you heard, longtime Yankee Andy Pettitte signed with a team a bit closer to home for reportedly less money with the Astros, heralding in the coming Armageddon according to some Yankee fans. But as quick as you can say Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner, not necessarily in that order, have swooped down and apparently liberated Kevin Brown from the Dodgers and left their own little bomb, Jeff Weaver, in his place.

But Yankee fans will protest that though Brown and Vazquez are competent starters, they can't be compared to what the Yankees lost, a 300-game winner in "retired" Roger Clemens and a two-time twenty game winner in Pettitte. Between them Clemens and Pettitte have won 20 eight times, including Pettite's 21 this past year. Brown's 14 wins in 2003 were his most since 1999. He's only won 20 once. Vazquez has never won more than 16.

Well all that's true, but I submit that not only have the Yankees backfilled those holes nicely, they have improved themselves. They have gotten younger and better (and did I mention they dumped Jeff Weaver). Pettitte is very good as a number three pitcher, but has never been a staff leader. Overall, Pettitte was a pretty good pitcher in NYC, very good occasionally. His best years were 1996-97 and 2002. He never was a "bad" pitcher, except maybe 1999.

Yes, he's a great number three pitcher, but even with 20 wins this season and the very good 2002 season, his best years seem to be behind him or at least he has been having many more poor ones. But look at it this way: Clemens' adjusted ERA for his career is 40% better than the league average. Pettitte had only one season better than Clemens' average and that was seven years ago.
I think it's a really dumb move on his part. First, because of his home-road splits for the last three years. It doesn't bode well:


The next reason is that lefties who leave the Bronx don't tend to fare as well their first season with their new team (through 2002):

Al Closter19720011.5719730014.54
Al Downing1969753.3819705133.52
Al Leiter1989126.081989004.05
Al Schulz1914134.7619149123.37
Ambrose Puttmann1905274.271906225.30
Art Schallock1955006.001955354.15
Bill Miller1954016.3519550113.50
Bill Wight1947101.0019489204.80
Billy Brewer1996109.531997124.13
Bob Kuzava1954135.451954134.18
Bob Meyer1964034.911964254.20
Bob Shirley1987104.5019870014.73
Bob Wiesler1955023.9119563126.44
Bobby Shantz1960542.791961633.32
Curt Young1992303.321993114.30
Danny McDevitt1961127.621961102.36
Dave LaPoint19907104.1119910116.20
Dave Rajsich1978004.051979133.52
Dave Righetti1990113.571991273.39
David Wells19981843.49199917104.82
Dennis Rasmussen1987974.751987413.97
Denny Neagle2000775.812001985.38
Don Hood1979313.071980463.39
Ed Lopat1955483.741955344.22
Ed Wells1932334.2619336144.20
Fred Heimach19291164.011930024.91
Fritz Peterson1974004.7019749144.36
Garland Braxton1926512.6719271092.95
George Mogridge1920594.31192118143.00
Gil Blanco1965113.981966244.70
Graeme Lloyd1998301.671999533.63
Grant Jackson1976601.691977533.86
Greg Cadaret1992484.251993324.31
Hank Thormahlen1920964.141921174.48
Harry Smythe1934027.801934115.91
Herb Pennock1933745.541934203.05
Hippo Vaughn1912285.141912432.89
Jake Wade1946212.291946004.76
Jerry Nielsen1992104.581993008.03
Jesse Tannehill190315153.27190421112.04
Jim Abbott1994984.5519951183.70
Jim Deshaies19840111.571985000.00
Jim Kaat1980017.201980873.82
Jim Roland1972015.041972008.10
Jimmy Key199612114.68199716103.43
John Candelaria1989335.141989023.31
John Cumberland1970343.941970200.82
Johnny Johnson1944024.051945304.26
Johnny Schmitz1953002.081953273.68
Ken Brett1976000.00197610123.32
Ken Holtzman1978104.081978036.11
Kenny Rogers1997675.6519981683.17
Larry Gura1975783.511976402.30
Lee Grissom1940000.001940252.81
Lee Guetterman1992119.531992345.82
Lefty Gomez1942644.281943015.79
Lefty O'Doul1922003.381923115.43
Marshall Bridges1963203.821964035.70
Mickey McDermott1956264.241957145.48
Mike Kekich1973119.201973147.02
Mike McCormick1970206.101971009.31
Mike Wallace19750014.541975002.08
Pat Clements1988006.481989413.92
Paul Assenmacher1993223.121994123.55
Paul Mirabella1979048.7919805124.34
Ray Fontenot1984893.6119856104.36
Ray Francis1925007.711925027.71
Rich Hinton1972104.861972012.38
Rick Honeycutt19950027.001996212.85
Rip Coleman1956353.671957075.93
Rob Gardner1971003.001971002.35
Rob Murphy19940016.2019951210.95
Rudy May1976433.5719761173.78
Russ Van Atta1935003.8619359165.34
Sam McDowell1974164.691975212.86
Shane Rawley1984236.2119841063.81
Slim Love191813123.071919643.01
Sparky Lyle1978933.471979583.13
Sterling Hitchcock199511104.7019961395.35
Steve Barber1968653.231969474.80
Steve Hamilton1970432.781970006.00
Steve Trout1987046.601988477.83
Stubby Overmire1951114.631952033.73
Ted Gray1955003.001955128.22
Ted Kleinhans1936115.831937122.30
Ted Lilly2002363.402002214.63
Terry Mulholland1994676.4919955135.80
Tim Lollar1980103.341981286.10
Tippy Martinez1976201.931976312.59
Tom Underwood1981144.411981323.18
Tom Zachary1930116.4819301154.58
Tommy Byrne1951216.8619514103.82
Tommy John198210103.661982423.86

The average departing southpaw maintains his ERA but has a severe dropoff in winning percentage.

Speaking of winning percentage, this is already a concern for Pettitte. What, you say, how can that be an issue for a pitcher with a .656 winning percentage.

Well, Andy Pettitte has been helped greatly by pitching for a winner in the Bronx. I made a table of the 70-odd pitchers who have won at least a 100 games and debuted after 1980. I took their winning percentage and I compared it against their teams'. Here 'tis:

Pedro Martinez17371.70914031383.504140.79%
Randy Johnson230114.66913971288.520128.50%
Curt Schilling155108.58912831404.477123.43%
Roger Clemens310160.66016091399.535123.31%
Mike Mussina182102.6411086949.534120.08%
Dwight Gooden194112.63415311331.535118.52%
Ramon Martinez13588.60511321067.515117.60%
Kevin Brown200136.59516171556.510116.80%
Bret Saberhagen167117.58814301398.506116.29%
Kenny Rogers158114.58112921235.511113.61%
Greg Maddux289163.63916011242.563113.54%
Tom Browning12390.577955921.509113.44%
Tom Glavine251157.61514611219.545112.85%
David Cone194126.60616091380.538112.62%
Pat Hentgen129103.55610111029.496112.20%
Kirk Rueter11973.6201037840.552112.18%
Jack McDowell12787.593995879.531111.77%
Jose Rijo11691.56011061095.502111.52%
Kevin Appier169136.55413361347.498111.28%
Jamie Moyer185132.58415001343.528110.61%
Mark Langston179158.53112931395.481110.42%
Frank Viola176150.54012361290.489110.33%
David Wells185121.60515471275.548110.29%
Brad Radke116110.513673764.468109.60%
Jimmy Key186117.61413251037.561109.43%
Denny Neagle12492.57412411123.525109.36%
Kevin Tapani143125.53411471199.489109.14%
Dave Burba11186.56312121135.516109.11%
Andy Pettitte14978.656865571.602108.97%
Eric Show10189.532848881.490108.38%
Mark Portugal10995.53412411268.495108.03%
Orel Hershiser204150.57615201327.534107.94%
Al Leiter145112.56414901358.523107.84%
Chuck Finley200173.53614231428.499107.43%
Pete Harnisch111103.51911441219.484107.14%
Bryn Smith10894.53510251024.500106.88%
John Smiley126103.5501053984.517106.44%
Scott Erickson140128.5229941027.492106.21%
Mike Hampton12089.574930787.542106.00%
Pedro Astacio118109.52010791121.490105.99%
Aaron Sele12288.581949768.553105.11%
Charles Nagy129103.5561078959.529105.07%
Alex Fernandez10787.552816736.526104.90%
Storm Davis11396.54112341147.518104.32%
Bob Tewksbury110102.51910981103.499104.01%
Andy Benes155139.52711981152.510103.42%
Sid Fernandez11496.54313191184.527103.02%
John Burkett166136.55013481178.534103.00%
Bobby Jones103103.50012331292.488102.39%
Tim Belcher146140.51011781182.499102.27%
Ron Darling136116.54012481112.529102.06%
John Smoltz163120.57613321026.565101.96%
Darryl Kile133119.528973906.518101.92%
Mike Witt117116.50210241030.499100.72%
Doug Drabek155134.5361086952.533100.65%
Ken Hill117109.51813781291.516100.27%
Shane Reynolds11495.5451023856.544100.19%
Tom Gordon113107.51412971228.51499.99%
Bud Black121116.51113501285.51299.65%
Greg Swindell123122.50215331479.50998.64%
Todd Stottlemyre138121.53312811084.54298.37%
Tom Candiotti151164.47913911458.48898.18%
Tim Wakefield116101.535961802.54598.07%
Jaime Navarro116126.4799991040.49097.84%
Mike Moore161176.47810771125.48997.68%
Jeff Fassero113108.51112421120.52697.24%
Mark Gubicza132136.49311161084.50797.10%
Terry Mulholland116127.47717631734.50494.69%
Kirk McCaskill106108.495984893.52494.48%
Bobby Witt142157.47515051487.50394.42%
Kevin Gross142158.47311861176.50294.27%
Greg Harris119154.43619502184.47292.41%
Walt Terrell111124.47210761028.51192.36%
Danny Jackson112131.46113671318.50990.53%

Now, this list is far from the be-all/end-all for evaluating pitchers, but one does notice the better ones gravitating to the top, and on it Pettitte is 30th, slightly above average. Yeah, Pettitte is probably a better pitcher than Tapani and Burba, but if you look at his most similar pitchers, McDowell, Reuter and Hampton are there. I think it's a fairly appropriate position for Pettitte.

Now, if you look at Pettitte's career adjust ERA, it's 117. That's a good performance but far from a superstar. Vazquez's is just 109, but he recorded a 153 figure last year, just one point short of Pettitte's career high, and consider that he is still improving. He also has pitched at least 215 innings each of the last four seasons, something that Pettitte has not done since 1998.

As far as the Clemens for Brown "swap" improving the team, Clemens had adjusted ERAs of 97, 137, 128, 101, and 112 in New York, for an average of under 115. Brown has had adjusted ERAs of 160, 148, 167, 152, and 169 (with a 79 in an injury-shortened 2002). That's an average of just under 160. I am leery of pitchers leaving the confines of Dodger Stadium, just as I would be for a hitter leaving Coors. However, Brown is no Hideo Nomo: he has performed well with many teams in many parks over the years. His checkered history of injuries is a concern though, and at 39 will continue to be a major issue for Brown.

So Pettitte goes to Houston, but he'll likely be no more than a number three pitcher there as well, behind Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller. The worst consequence for the Yankees is a dearth of left-handed starters, almost assuring that David Wells is in the rotation next year. Let's say he had pitched for the Astros this year. Using his average above, if he had a 9% better winning percentage than the team in, say, 25 decisions, he would end up 15-10. With his 9% better than average adjusted ERA, he would have posted a 3.54 ERA in ex-Enron. Those are good numbers, not great. If Pettitte's winning percentage hits the skids like past ex-Yankees while keeping the same ERA, he could be more like 10-15 with a 4.00 ERA. I doubt that will happen, but it's probably as likely as another 20-win season in 2004.

I Wish My Brother George Was Here—So Do We
2003-12-11 00:50
by Mike Carminati

The Phils acquired Tim Worrell the other day as free agent. Worrell has been one of the better setup men in the NL since 2000 and did a fine job last year subbing for Robb Nenn as the Giants closer (38 saves, fourth in the NL, 2.87 ERA). However, he will return to his setup role for the Phils, who also acquired premier closer Billy Wagner this offseason.

Either Worrell could not find a job as a closer elsewhere or the wanted to return to the setup role. Or he just followed the call of cash in Philly, one of the few teams willing to spend a some dinero of late.

Whatever the reason, Worrell is a fine addition to the Phils bullpen, a major sore spot for the club down the stretch. And I have to say, it's about time they got him...

Why? Because Philadelphia is truly the city of brotherly love. Or to be more exact, it's the city of inferior brother-ly love. In almost every pair of baseball brothers, the Phils have gotten their hands on the runt of the litter almost every time.

Worrell is a fine pitcher, but his brother Todd was an All-Star. Joining him on the Phils rolls are lesser brothers Ken Brett rather than George, Mike Maddux rather than Greg, Mark Leiter rather than Al, Jeremy Giambi rather than Jason, Tom Barrett rather than Marty, Ron Roenicke rather than Gary. They had Mack, not Zack, Wheat. The didn't have Joe Dimaggio or even Dom. They had Vince Dimaggio. OK, they had Granny Hamner, but ruined it with a year of Garvin Hamner (which is preferable to Marvin Hamlisch). I'm surprised they never signed up Tommie Aaron, Ozzie Canseco, and Billy Ripken. At least they got the right Delahanty brother (Ed) and there were five to choose from. Well, they did give Tom a try as well.

Even in fathers and sons, they get screwed: Bob Boone was never as good as his father Ray nor his sons Bret and Aaron. David Bell has been less than revelatory since signing with the Phils. Why couldn't they have gotten his dad, Buddy, in his prime? (Though they had a pretty good third baseman in those days.) They even had the inferior Terry Francona, not Tito, manage the team a few years ago.

I think it all goes back to being managed so early on (1884-1893) by Harry Wright. I know he's a Hall of Famer and the founder of the late great Cincinnati Red Stockings, but as a player he could never hold a candle to his brother George.

Travels with Vazquez
2003-12-10 23:28
by Mike Carminati

Charlie Mikolajczak writes in with an interesting question:

A couple of buddies and myself were hoisting a few yesterday when we started talking about the Vazquez trade. My one buddy absolutely loves JV and things he's a lock for a ridiculous season since he's on a team that's gonna give him run support now (the #'s his threw out were PlayStation like and obviously liquor-influenced, but you get the point). Anyway, he seemed to think that he'll be able to have a great season despite the shaky Yanks D is because he's a strikeout pitcher. While I think he's gonna have a good season in NY, I pointed out that his K's are most likely to go down by about 30 this season because he no longer gets the benefit of whiffing the pitcher 3 times a game. I tried to do a quick comparison on recent pitchers K's after switching leagues but it's a pretty short list for a good comparison. Just curious as to your thoughts on it...

Well, I did a little research...

That's a good question. Unfortunately, it's not as straightforward as one would anticipate. There are actually two pposing "forces".

Since the institution of the dreaded DH, the AL has had a significantly lower strikeout percentage. Ks per 9 IP have been between 5-10% lower in the AL over the last decade. The highest percent difference was in 1978, 13.5% lower, and the lowest was .78% in 1987. On average, pitchers strike out about twice as often as the baseball population taken as a whole (about 30% of all plate appearances as opposed to 15% over the last decade). All this translates into about .3 or .4 strikeouts fewer per every 9 IP in the AL. For Vazquez's 230.2 innings last year, that only translates into 10 fewer strikeouts.

However, it appears that pitchers in the AL have been allowed to go deeper into games because they did not to be pinch-hit for. I say appears because all I can go on is the stats for pitchers who have started exclusively since baseball doesn't split out its data historically by starters and relievers. Using that group, it appears that pitchers in the AL pitch between 1-3% longer. Given the splits in ESPN for 2003, starters in the AL did last 1% longer in the AL (5.87 IP/GS vs. 5.90, or .55%). So if Vazquez pitches 1% longer next year, he would have an extra 2-3 strikeouts. If it's closer to 3%, then it's 6-9 strikeouts.

So overall, the first "force" seems to be the stronger one, but either way, there does not appear to make too much of a difference. Especially, since his K/9 IP shot up from 6.99 to 9.40 last year. I'd be more concerned about his propensity to give up the long ball.

Remember that when Jeff Weaver was traded mid-2002 to the Yankees, his strikeouts-per-nine innings went up by 1 (5.55 to 6.58). It's not all about strikeouts. By the way, his strikeouts-per-nine innings was a career low 5.25 in 2003.

Pass the Verducci 'Pon the Left-hand Side
2003-12-10 01:28
by Mike Carminati

Alex Belth interviews Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci.

I dig this interchange:

BB: What is the relationship between the mainstream sportswriters and sites like Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Primer? Or even with amateur’s like myself who run their own sports blogs?

Verducci: I would hesitate to speak for the mainstream as a whole, but for myself I absolutely love it. The discourse about major league baseball is much more intelligent, and reasoned and well-thought out because of everything that’s out there on the web and in some of the other ancillary publications you mentioned. I really think it has forced people to be on their toes. I think that a lot of things in this game were accepted without a basis in fact. Now a lot of people have challenged those notions and that’s a good thing. But I think there is a downside to it too. The pride of the beat writer is that he’s the one in that locker room, he’s the one that’s asking the hard questions after the games, and he’s the one who knows if a guy is having problems with his wife at home and that’s why he’s 0-4, and it has nothing to do with how good the opposing pitcher was that night. The downside is that some members of the mainstream media will write off the alternative opinions as being uniformed because they are not actually on the front lines. I tend to think that is a little extreme. I think that even from afar you can have something intelligent to offer. I think that the whole statistical analysis of the game has raised the level of criticism and analysis of baseball, and I think we’re all better for it.

Not Pudge-ing
2003-12-09 01:40
by Mike Carminati

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world end,

Not with a bang but a whimper.

—Felix Unger

The Marlins and Pudge Rodriguez have parted ways. Vlad Guerrero and the dead corpse of the Expos have done likewise. The Braves declined arbitration to their entire 2003 except for 45-year-old Julio Franco (actually, Greg Maddux, Gary Sheffield—who's already signed with the Yankees unofficially—, Javy Lopez, Matt Franco, Darren Bragg, Kent Mercker, Darren Holmes, Shane Reynolds, and Roberto Hernandez, just 9 players). And the Brewers re-signed Dave Burba.

I'm surprised the Marlins didn't at least give Pudge his 2003 salary ($10 M). It would seem to make sense given the salaries of comparable catchers in the NL (Kendall, Lieberthal, Lopez, Piazza). It shows you how much the market has changed just since last year: Pudge was coming off three injury-plagued seasons then and still got $10 M, albeit for one year. Now, he's a fan favorite and did a tremendous job in bringing a championship to south Florida, and they offer him a 30% cut?!? I've never been a big Pudge fan, but he showed me a lot last year, especially in the playoffs. I was surprised he was fishing—get it?—for the same salary as last year.

So is Rodriguez worth $10 M a year? Perhaps that is too esoteric a question for the likes of my blog. How about, is the going rate for a veteran catcher of Pudge's quality $10 M? Let's take a look, shall we? Here's a table of a number of veteran starting catchers who have some degree of offensive success in the careers, are at least 30 years old, and have played a significant number of seasons. Their age next season, experience (through 2003), Win Shares and adjusted OPS are listed along with an average and standard deviation:

Catcher2004 AgeExp2003 salary2003 Win Shares2003 OPS+Career OPS+
Pudge Rodriguez3213$10,000,00023124114
Mike Piazza 3512$15,571,42911124153
Jorge Posada 329$8,000,00028146122
Javy Lopez 3312$7,000,00030174114
Jason Kendall 308$8,571,42920115109
Jason Varitek327$4,700,000 17120100
Mike Lieberthal 3210$7,250,00016119105
Benito Santiago3918$1,775,000 139692
Charles Johnson3210$7,000,000109098
Sandy Alomar Jr. 3816$700,00048089
Dan Wilson 3512$3,500,00076382
std dev2.803.30$4,120,0778.3730.8919.37

So the Marlins basically offered him the average for this group. I would argue that Rodriguez is much better than average even among the better veteran catchers. If you look at the top few in the group, Posada is due for a $1 M raise this year and will make $12 M in 2006 (including $3 M of his signing bonus). Posada is the same age as Rodriguez but has four fewer years of experience. One could argue that Posada the odds are better due to Pudge's history of injury that Posada is a better bet for 2006.

Kendall's deal escalates to $13.5 M in 2007, but the Pirates have been trying hard to unload his contract for some time. Piazza is probably the only catcher that one could say has had a superior career to Rodriguez so far in the careers and makes by far the most money, but the Metsgoes may move him to first this year—at least we know that he won't be playing shortstop at the rate the Mets are collecting those. Lopez is a free agent and would be commanding a big salary increase in most seasons, but given a) the baseball economy today, b) the fact that 2003 was a career year, c) his history of injury and extremely poor play while injured, and d) his age he may not be able to break even. Though Rodriguez has a history of injuries, his play has never suffered. His best season could have been 2000 even though he only played 91 games.

That said, two-thirds of a season of Pudge are not worth $10 M. However, they paid him $10 M last year after three straight injury-prone seasons. Why is he not worth it after playing a full season as well as he ever has. His value had to go up after 2003. It's either the length of the contract or the market that caused the problem. As far as the length of the contract, maybe 4 years is a bit much for a 31-year-old catcher, but other than age (and his history of injury), there's no reason to think he won't be catching in 4 years. Besides, there's no one in the Marlins system that would have been supplanting him anytime soon. I think Florida saw that the market had dropped since last year and don't feel the need to retain Pudge at the same price they paid him in 2003. That was the extent of their analysis and I think it stinks of Jeffrey Loria.

Speaking of Loria's stink, the Guerrero situation is a real shame or sham depending on your spelling. One would think that Vazquez's departure would at least allow the 'Spos to make a decent attempt at Guerrero. Now they have lost their three most expensive players: Guerrero ($11.5 M in 2003), Tatis ($6.5, option not picked up), and Vazquez ($6). Livan Hernandez's option kicked in at $6 M for 2004, a $2+ M increase. But that's still about a $23 M savings. How can MLB not justify spending some of that cash? I guess it helps when the media won't call you on it. Based on Montreal's $43 M 2003 payroll, that's a 53.5% cut.

Well, maybe that's a bit facile. BP's Jonah Keri took a look at Montreal's payroll for 2004 and found that a good deal of the savings had already been spent. Here is a table comparing last year's payroll (from and this year's (based on Keri's numbers, some of which I am not sure are speculation rather than fact):

Player2003 Salary2004 SalaryDiff
Vladimir Guerrero$11,500,000 $0-$11,500,000
Fernando Tatis$6,500,000 $0-$6,500,000
Javier Vazquez$6,000,000 $0-$6,000,000
Jose Vidro$5,500,000 $7,000,000$1,500,000
Livan Hernandez$3,825,000 $6,000,000$2,175,000
Orlando Hernandez$300,000 $4,100,000$3,800,000
Orlando Cabrera$3,300,000 $5,500,000$2,200,000
Michael Barrett$2,600,000 $2,500,000-$100,000
Tony Armas Jr.$2,100,000 $3,000,000$900,000
Jose Macias$825,000 $1,000,000$175,000
Joey Eischen$750,000 $1,300,000$550,000
Wil Cordero$600,000 $0-$600,000
Tomokazu Ohka$340,000 $2,000,000$1,660,000
Scott Stewart$327,000 $1,000,000$673,000
Rocky Biddle$320,000 $2,000,000$1,680,000
Jeff Liefer$320,000 $0-$320,000
Brad Wilkerson$315,000 $350,000$35,000
Brian Schneider$310,000 $350,000$40,000
T.J. Tucker$310,000 $350,000$40,000
Dan Smith$305,000 $0-$305,000
Zach Day$301,500 $350,000$48,500
Luis Ayala$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Ron Calloway$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Jamey Carroll$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Endy Chavez$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Henry Mateo$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Nick Johnson$0 $2,000,000$2,000,000
Juan Rivera$0 $350,000$350,000
Randy Choate$0 $350,000$350,000
Scott Hodges$0 $300,000$300,000
Caludio Vargas$300,000 $350,000$50,000
Chad Cordero$0 $300,000$300,000
Terrmel Sledge$0 $300,000$300,000
$48,448,500 $42,500,000-$5,948,500

[Note: The bulk of Orlando Hernandez's $4.1 M contract paid by the Yankees and White Sox in 2003.]

The Expos are saving a cool six mil after all even with steep increasing to some of the younger players, actually paying El Duque's contract in 2004, and assuming another ex-Yankee's salary (Nick Johnson's), they still have cut payroll pretty significantly and there's plenty of fat to cut further if needs be (El Duque, Biddle, Stewart, Macias, Eischen, Armas).

Next, Mark Grudzielanek tried to avoid the topic but eventually gave in and started that collusion is afoot after taking a 50% cut to stay with the Cubs:

"It's the owners and what they're trying to do to the game. Teams are not taking anybody to arbitration and flooding the market. There are going to be a lot of free agents out there trying to find jobs.

"There is definitely a problem out there, and hopefully it gets rectified pretty soon. I'm sure there are things going on out there. I'm not going to be the one talking and saying things like that. As far as the players go, we have to take it and see what happens in the future. You've just got to roll with it and believe in the union and believe in the guys and believe in the game of baseball and play it because you love it.''

"It really comes down to not being about money,'' Grudzielanek said. "With everything that's going on right now in the game, it's crazy. You want to be part of something special. They have something going here in Chicago. I believe we have a great shot at winning. I didn't want to risk that kind of thing for something that might not be out there on the other side. There were a few other teams I was considering. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to wait any longer to decide.''

Say the magic word, Mark, and win one hundred dollars. No mention of collusion but it's there just the same—somehow or other, it's there just the same. Not that Grudzy should complain about the money he'll make, but it did get me to think about collusion. Are the bleak prospects for players today due to collusion or just the economics of the sport?

Yr# FA#players# per team% FA

So in a decade, the number of free agents has effectively doubled. That does not even include all of the players that will not be tendered contracts for 2004, thereby creating a second wave of free agents. This non-tender practice started last season. Nor does it include shenanigans like those pulled by the Indians in order to retain Dannys Baez at a salary much lower than the CBA-mandated maximum reduction of 20%.

The owners are looking to empty their benches in order to drive down salaries by creating less demand for those players. It goes back to Bill Veeck's proposal to "Make 'em all free agents" every year when free agency was introduced. Both Veeck and Marvin Miller wrote about this in their autobiographies saying that it would drive down salaries.

Owners also are trying to bypass arbitration at all costs by
not offering arbitration to potential free agents
and by non-tendering arbitration-eligible players.

So does creating a glut of available talent mean that there is collusion? Well, not really. What could be going on is just industry paradigm shifting to create better synergies between the owners wallets and their expense accounts.

There is a concern that not just the fungible flotsam and jetsam are being caught up in this maelstrom, but also the types of established stars that teams would salivate over in the past. Maybe the owners were just overly influenced by John Nash's mad pickup skills in A Brilliant Mind. Perhaps the fact that insurance companies have become reluctant to insure contracts over three years has started to shorten contracts and has made players free agents more often. Maybe the luxury tax in addition to the money the owners bilk out of the locals is so enticing that they are willing to forego even the appearance of trying to put the best product possible on the field. Maybe the players gave up way too much in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement by not demanding a salary floor so that teams would be required to spend the luxury tax money they receive. Maybe they are just raping and pillaging their working like the rest of America. Or it could be, perhaps, that their shoes are too tight—sorry, a little Grinchy holiday humor.

Or maybe the owners sat down and decided what would be down as a corporate entity: Each team would non-tender a certain percentage of arbitration-eligible players. Each team would cast free agent bread upon the waters; for they shalt find it after many days (though who wants soggy, moldy bread?). The post-CBA baseball economy does have a similar feel, or sub-text, to what was felt in the heyday of collusion, but without a smoking gun (read Andre Dawson), the players may as well re-group, stop emulated the Democratic party, and grow some cajones in preparation for the next wave of CBA wranglings after the 2006 season. Is Al Sharpton available to head up the players' union?

If all this leaves you disillusioned and disaffected, my advice is to root for a team like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phils. At least they are trying to field the best team that they can get their hands on. Are they spending hoards of money? Yes, so? Is it your money? Isn't that preferable to a team like the Brewers that gets handed a new stadium and then so mismanages the team that it must trade any and all veteran players to whittle down the team salary to the lowest for a team since the 2001 Contraction Twins?

If your cynicism runs so deep that you eschew these teams—thinking that the Phils will be in the same boat as the Brewers after their new stadium funds run out in three years, that the Red Sox genius GM, Theo Epstein, needs a boost, or rather a booster seat, from Bud whenever he makes a transaction, and that the Yankees are starting to make The Onion headline from last season, that they were buying every player in baseball, a reality—, well then there's always the unalloyed pleasure of the holiday season. There's no materialism at this time of year. And then enjoy the unselfish statesmanship of next year's presidential election to avoid the tawdry baseball season.

Number 2...Number 2...Number 2
2003-12-08 00:44
by Mike Carminati

Part II of my interview of my interview with Rich Lederer is here.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. This was verified by Paul McCartney on the "awesome" Chris Farley Show.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the group, I hope we passed the audition
2003-12-06 15:58
by Mike Carminati

I am interviewed over at Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT. Now is the time for Joe Morgan to get his revenge.

Phase two of the interview, in which Doris gets her oats, is due out on Sunday (tomorrow for those who are calendar-impaired).

"I'm 37. I'm not old."
2003-12-06 00:38
by Mike Carminati

King Arthur: Old woman!

Peasant: "Man".

King Arthur: "Man", sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?

Peasant: I'm 37.

King Arthur: What?

Peasant: I'm 37. I'm not old.

King Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man".

Peasant: Well you could say "Dennis".

King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.

Peasant: Well you didn't bother to find out did you?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Baseball is a young man's game. Ballplayers are winding down or retired at the age that most individuals are just getting started in their careers.

Look at Theo Epstein, who was viewed as perhaps too young to be the general manager of the Red Sox when he took over last year at the age of 28. But imagine if he were a 28-year-old rookie. He'd be Chico Walker for goodness sake.

Young Theo threw down the gauntlet this offseason by acquiring Curt Schilling from the Diamondbacks for whatever stray pitchers he had lying around the office. Schilling is "Dennis", i.e., he's 37. In typical fashion, Schilling opened his mouth and inserted his size twelves by calling himself a "near Hall of Famer". Schilling was only 8-9 last year, albeit it with a sub-3.00 ERA, in two-thirds of a season and has just 163 wins all-time. The Hall is not beckoning any time soon.

Perhaps Epstein has yet to experience the grunts and groans associated with exerting oneself at the age of 37, but the sabermetric lad is certainly aware of what the aging process can do to ballplayers' performance.

Meanwhile, the other contestant in the "I can hold my breath the longest" contest, George Steinbrenner and the Yankees, "signed" right fielder Gary Sheffield. I put signed in quotes since Sheffield and the Yankees came to an agreement, they just have yet to affix the John Hancocks so that the Yankees won't owe his old team, the Braves, a draft choice. If he signs after December 20, the Yanks don't owe Atlanta a plug nickel.

Anyway, Sheffield is also ancient in baseball year. He's 35. And I got to thinking how secure was acquiring a Dennis-esque player anyway. Sheffield was probably the third best player in the NL last year and shows very little signs of slowly down, but Schilling has had quite a few injuries of late, including last year.

So I ran a study of 37-year-old pitchers who switched teams in the offseason before turning 37. There were 28 in total (as of 2002), and I found that they, on average, had a very better winning percentage, a better strikeout-to-walk ratio, slightly more games pitched, and almost the same ERA, but they also pitched fewer innings and had fewer wins.

Here's a tables of all the players I found:

Bill Dietrich1947Phil (AL)521160.740183.121946Chi (AL)331162.024202.61
Bill Lee1947Chi (NL)021424.01494.501946Bos (NL)10925140.045324.18
Bob Ewing1910PHI161434255.3861023.001909CIN111231218.363862.43
Bob Purkey1966PIT011019.7451.371965StL (NL)10932124.333395.79
Chuck Finley2000CLE161134218.01011894.171999ANA121133213.3942004.43
Clarence Mitchell1928StL (NL)8919150.038313.301927PHI631394.728174.09
Curt Simmons1966Chi (NL)471977.321244.071965StL (NL)91534203.054964.08
Earl Whitehill1937CLE8833147.080536.491936Wash141128212.389634.87
Fred Norman1980MON444898.040584.131979CIN111334195.357953.64
George McConnell1915Chi (FL)251044303.0891512.201914Chi (NL)0117.0331.29
George Mogridge1926Bos (NL)61039142.036464.501925StL (AL)11215.3585.87
Jack Morris1992TOR21634240.7801324.041991MIN181235246.7921633.43
Jeff Fassero2000BOS8838130.050974.781999SEA41430139.0731017.38
Jim Bunning1969LA31956.310333.361968PIT41427160.048953.88
Jim Kaat1976PHI121438227.732833.481975Chi (AL)201443303.7771423.11
Jim Perry1973DET141335203.055664.031972MIN131635217.760853.35
Joe Dobson1954BOS0022.7116.751953Chi (AL)5523100.737503.67
John Burkett2002BOS13829173.0501244.532001ATL121234219.3701873.04
Juan Marichal1975LA 0126.05113.501974BOS511157.314214.87
Mark Langston1998SD 462281.341565.861997ANA24947.729305.85
Murry Dickson1954PHI102040226.373643.781953PIT101945200.758884.53
Nels Potter1949Bos (NL)6114196.730574.191948StL (AL)11210.3445.23
Scott Sanderson1993CAL71121135.327664.461992NY (AL)121133193.3641044.93
Scott Sanderson1993SF421148.77363.51
Sonny Siebert1974StL8828133.751683.841973TEX71125119.737763.99
Tim Belcher1999ANA6824132.346526.731998KC141434234.0731304.27
Whit Wyatt1945PHI071051.314105.261944BRO26937.71647.17
Woodie Fryman1977CIN551775.345575.381976MON131334216.3761233.37

So what does this tell me? Pitchers who stay in the majors until 37 are pretty good overall. And if they switch teams at 37, the change of scenery does have a positive effect overall. However, it seems that that they also may be losing innings and strikeouts as they age. It seems a prime age to induce analysts to use the term "crafty".

Of course, this is a general trend among pitchers in similar situations, and may not have anything to do with Schilling. But, I wouldn't be surprised if he comes nowhere near the 250 innings and 10 strikeouts per nine innings that he amassed each of the first two full seasons in Arizona. It's a fair bet that he'll outperform Casey Fossum next year though.

Starters for Starters
by Mike Carminati

The Futility Infielder looks at the available starting pitching talent on the market and discusses the Yankes-'Spos trade.

Also, I just added to the links section.

This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
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