Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
Monthly archives: November 2007


Mulligan Stew-pid
2007-11-08 11:56
by Mike Carminati

Headline: The Phils to Remove Third Base from New CBP "Diamond"

The Phillies made a trade yesterday picking up Brad Lidge and allowing Brett Myers to move back into the rotation. Sounds good, right? Well…

They gave up Geoff Geary, Michael Bourn, and Mike Costanzo. Costanzo was the best third base prospect in the system and the only one with power. On a better organization, he would be the leading candidate for the third base job. He has problems with his footwork at third (34 errors) but reportedly has a good arm. He strikes out a bit, has problems with lefties (he bats left), and was just at Double-A, but even so is probably an upgrade over the current drek.

Even the Phils would have been forced to call him up to replace the Helms-Dobbs tandem by the All-Star break. They have announced that they have no plans to pursue another third baseman and have no one ready in the system. So that's one position that they are taking a mulligan on. I guess Bruntlett gets thrown in that mix, but he's no more than a part-timer/utility guy.

Now right field: With Rowand almost certainly gone, Victorino shifts to center. Right field would then fall to Werth and Bourn. With Bourn gone, it's just Werth with no other major-league OFs on the roster. Werth is no more than a platoon/three-quarter player. So there's mulligan number 2.

The rotation becomes Hamels, Kendrick, Myers, Moyer, and Eaton. They are all signed and the only one they would consider replacing is Eaton, but he has two years and $16M left on his contract and this is the Phils, so don't bet on it. So that's the rotation.

The bullpen will be Romero (if they can resign him) to Gordon to Lidge. With Geary gone, and Mesa, Alfonseca, et al gone, there aren't even enough arms to fill out a pen. (Wade had to get a reliever in the trade. That's his MO.)

So what was the goal here? Lidge is relatively cheap (under $6M in 2007), and instead of looking for a starting pitcher to improve the rotation, they found a cheaper option. This team has shed salary like a lhasa apso sheds fur (or Britney Spears sheds children). They lost Lieber, Freddy Garcia, Lohse, Barajas, Nunez, Alfonseca, Mesa, Geary, probably Rowand, and possibly Romero, all with decent major-league salaries. They lose Burrell's contract no later than the end of this season. Rollins, Utley, and Howard will get a bump up but will still be affordable.

The goal was to fill a few holes (rotation, closer, utility inf) relatively cheaply. It creates more holes than it fixes but since the Phils don't recognize those holes, it doesn't matter. And they got rid of one of the better prospects in a wasteland of a minor-league system. Did they have to give up so much to land a player the Astros have been trying to dump for almost a year? If Lidge can't close and Costanzo can hit for power in the majors (even if he has to shift to a corner outfield spot), this could be a monumentally bad one.

And what might be even worse, in Ruben Amaro Jr.'s first trade as the GM heir apparent, he got duped by his old boss Ed Wade, not exactly known for his trading prowess. But like an under-armed fantasy GM, Amaro was ecstatic over the deal:

"We're getting one of the premier closers in the game," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "The marketplace, as we all know, is a little scary out there as far as pitching. We felt this was one of the best ways for us to really improve." Re. Myers, "Amaro called him his No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels or possibly even a 1A."

I grieve for the future.

Three Guys Named Joe, What’s the Use of Getting Sober When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again, And Other Topical Louis Jordan Tunes
2007-11-04 20:36
by Mike Carminati

Three Guys Named Joe

So George's sons, the Katzenbrenner kids, screwed up the Joe Torre firing, but at least they got the man I believe is the best for the job, Joe Girardi. Girardi pulled off a minor miracle in keeping the 2006 Marlins, a team made up almost exclusively of rookies, a team that cut an unprecedented percentage of its salary from the previous season, at about .500 for the entire season.

Yankee fans might fear his handling of a potentially young staff next season. He Billy Balled the young Marlins staff last year and they showed the wear this year. But, that's nothing that a decent pitching coach—Leo Mazzone, anyone?—can't handle.

Joe Girardi replaces Joe Torre. The only other Joe in Yankee managerial history was Joe McCarthy. Maybe all Yankee managers should adopt the name Joe, and they can number them like they do with popes.

Anyway, I am more interested in what the other Joe. Torre takes over a club in LA that underperformed enthusiastically this past season and one that should be able to rebound quickly given a weak NL.

Anyway, Torre already has 2000 wins as a manager, over a thousand as a Yankee, and has all but sealed up a plaque in Cooperstown. Besides he will be starting over with a new team at the age of 67. I was wondering if there were any managers who started with a new team under similar circumstances and how well they did with the new team.

Well, there is just one manager who took a new job after the age of 60 and with 1000 or more wins with their previous team (Casey Stengel, who disastrously took over the expansion Mets after winning 1851 games with the Yankees) . As for managers age 60 or more who took a new job, there are six and here they are with there results with their previous team and over the remainder of their careers:

NameAgeExpPrev WPrev LGPrev TmFirstLastRemaining FirstRemaining LastRemaining WRemaining L
Casey Stengel692711496961851NYY1949196019621965175404
Felipe Alou66106917171408WSN1992200120032006342304
Leo Durocher66345355261065CHC19661972197219739895
Jack McKeon6928291259551CIN1997200020032005241207
Chuck Dressen6228159124284ATL1960196119631966221189
Jimmie Dykes6327118115233DET1959196019601961103115
Jimmie Dykes6125241741CIN1958195819591961221230

The most wins for a player starting a new managerial job was by guess who? Joe McCarthy who had 1460 with the Yankees when he took over the Red Sox in 1948. Here are the results for all
NameAgeExpPrev WPrev LGPrev TmFirstLastRemaining FirstRemaining LastRemaining WRemaining L
Joe McCarthy592114608672348NYY1931194619481950223145
Bucky Harris5731133614162776MIN1924195419551956161147
Cap Anson452312839322258CHC1879189718981898913
Casey Stengel692711496961851NYY1949196019621965175404
Hughie Jennings511411319722127DET19071920192419255323
Frank Selee411210046491677ATL1890190119021905280213

There's not a lot of longevity in that crowd. I think it applies to Torre. He probably has no more than four or five years left in his managerial career, but he might have success left in him in that span especially with the Dodgers.

What's the Use of Getting Sober When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again

2007 is the worst postseason of all time. Period. And I can prove it.

It's not because my Phils lost or because TV ratings were down or even because the Red Sox won I say this season was the worst postseason because the average margin of victory overall was the worst in divisional play.

There were years in which the winning team beat up on the loser with a more ferocity, but those were seasons that consisted of one playoff series, the World Series. This year consisted of three rounds and seven separate series, and they almost all stunk to high heaven.

Here are the worst margins of victory for an entire postseason. Note that this season is a third of a run worse than the next year since the inception of divisional play:

YrG Avg MoV Winning runs Losing runs
19607 6.00 8.86 2.86
19687 5.86 7.29 1.43
19366 5.33 8.17 2.83
19375 4.80 6.40 1.60
19657 4.57 5.43 0.86
19324 4.50 9.25 4.75
19516 4.50 6.17 1.67
19105 4.40 7.20 2.80
19615 4.40 6.20 1.80
200728 4.39 6.79 2.39
19284 4.25 6.75 2.50
19347 4.14 6.14 2.00
19457 4.14 6.43 2.29
199931 4.06 6.61 2.55
19097 4.00 6.43 2.43
19587 4.00 5.86 1.86
198215 4.00 6.67 2.67
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