On AFL Arms
Glad to have you back, John. Congrats to you and TVOR on the Phillies' championship
Thanks. The Twins Geek Observatory was full of wine and revelry that night, but I think my favorite part was the next morning. That’s when I used this wonderful internet thing to tune into 610 WIP, Philly’s sports station, and listened to their morning show. It was every bit as cathartic as I hoped it would be. Two stories from it:
1. Pennsylvania Governor (and former Mayor of Philadelphia) Ed Rendell called in. Radio host Angelo Cataldi asked him about a statement from the Philly school district which said that "Students are expected to report to school tomorrow for school like any other day" (and miss the parade at 12:00) and whether he supported that. Rendell said as a lawyer he would parse that sentence very carefully. He noted that the district said the students are to report - it didn't say that they were expected to stay. I love that their governor basically told the kids to cut school.
2. And then, later, Cataldi, was talking to a Phils fan living in Tampa Bay. The fan was pumped because he was going to have the opportunity to taunt a Tampa Bay sports radio talk show host later that day. And Cataldi, in true Philly fashion, completely shared his joy. I’m paraphrasing Cataldi’s quote, but it went something like this:
"Isn't it great that amidst all this joy, we can still have a little venom? You know what I was most proud of? Booing Selig. How great is it that in the midst of the celebration, we could take a little break and let Selig know what we thought of him? Only in Philly."
I love that city.
I think it was clear these guys aren't ready to be immediate help. If the Twins thought they were close, they would have been called up last fall along with Mijares.
None of them had just one bad outing, but Lahey gave up 5 hits and his only run in his first two games. He only gave up 4 hits over the remainder of the season. He looks like he is closest to being ready. Which shouldn't surprise anyone since he was the one at AAA last year. Often it is a lot more informative to watch how the Twins move players rather than looking at their stats.
Of course, Delaney is every college player's fantasy. A guy who didn't even get drafted who looks like he might play in the major leagues.
I think I’m pretty good at giving the Twins the benefit of the doubt, but it will be a long, long time before I get a “They must know best!” rubber stamp made. And frankly, I’m STILL of the opinion that these guys should have been given some chance to help out the bullpen, just as I’m of the opinion that the Gardy should have used Mijares at least once in the 12 days he was on the roster at the beginning of September. BTW, during those 12 games, the Twins lost six games, and four of them were lost by the bullpen.
(Sidebar – I’m becoming more and more convinced that the biggest danger to the Twins bullpen isn’t that they won’t get some help. It’s that they won’t find room for guys that could help because of the existing guys that are already there. Seriously. Nathan, Mijares, Guerrier, Crain, Breslow and Bonser are all going to be back. That’s six guys. Barring an injury, how is Gardy going to make room in that group for a stud in AAA. It won’t happen before mid-June, right? Right?)
On the other hand, to prove your point that I know very little about these guys, I wasn’t aware that Delaney wasn’t drafted. I was also surprised about something I heard on Seth’s excellent podcast (which I’ve been listening to religously). A week-and-a-half ago he had the voice of the New Britain Rock Cats on, and he talked about how Delaney was very good but not really eye-opening. That’s bizarre for a guy that struck out a guy per inning, posted a 1.05 ERA, and had a WHIP of .79.
You notice guys like that. So maybe there is something deceptive about Delaney that makes him more effective than we think he would be.
Nick N. said...
Also, it's worth noting that Jose Mijares is doing very well in the Venezuelan Winter League. In eight appearances for the Tigres de Aragua, he has posted a 0.00 ERA and 10/2 K/BB ratio with five hits allowed over 7 2/3 innings. Lahey, Delaney and Slama are all candidates to help the team at some point next year, but Mijares is the guy who could be there from the very start.
I am excited about Mijares. Those are exactly the kind of stats I thought I’d see from Slama and Delaney. I’m not giving up on them by any means. I just expected (and hoped) for more.
On Bad Things Come in Threes
Personally, I consider our diminished chances of trading for Garrett Atkins GOOD news. This guy is headed downhill fast (check his 2007 and 2008 hitting lines), will be 29 next season, and will be overpaid for his production. I say platoon Buscher and Harris at third and use our limited trading chips to acquire Hardy or Escobar.
Aaron Gleeman had a nice analysis on this which I have yet to really dive into, but in general, I agree with the sentiment. Of the third basemen who are out there, the one that interests me the least is Atkins. Beltre is a clear upgrade. Blake would be fine, because all he costs is money. And even Kouzmanoff is a little intriguing because he would be leaving cavernous Petco Park.
Jack Ungerleider said...
What if there isn't a big trade or free agent signing? What if the money is plowed back into the organization in the form of multiyear deals for the guys who deserve them? How much gnashing of teeth and rending of Bill Smith's garments will there be?
I'd rather roll the dice with the group we have then pay too much (either in salary or traded players) for someone who might be great but might not.
The way multi-year deals are usually structured, it doesn’t provide more money up front. The benefit for the player isn’t getting money now – it’s getting guaranteed money later. Last year’s Morneau and Cuddyer deals were the exception with good sized signing bonuses up front. And really, what does that accomplish? Spending $10M to tie up Morneau for 5 years just means saving $2 million each of the next five years. Is that really going to make a difference?
I’m not saying the money needs to be just thrown away. And I’m all for doing things like plowing money into signing bonuses for the draft. But $30M is a LOT of money. They can do all that and still get a big name. The trick is getting the big name that doesn’t require a long-term deal.
On I Don't Know is on Third
One quibble with your chart - three of the four players the Twins are pursuing (everyone but Blake) are in extreme hitter's or pitcher's parks, making total OPS a bit of a misleading stat to use to compare them. Their road OPSes are a different story:
That puts Cuddyer's worst-case as a bit better than Atkins last year, his moderate projections right around Kouzmanoff, and his best case about even with Beltre.
Hey! It’s BeefMaster! My favorite moniker!
I tried to find a place to mention the extreme parks these guys almost all played in, but couldn’t figure a way without adding a very dry paragraph to the story. I like your method of looking at road stats. I’d rank them exactly the same way you do.
The question I have is why he hasn't been the starter at 2B. In 2004, he played 327.1 innings there, and his partial deafness would likely affect him less there. The only issue then is if Casilla can transition to short.
Honestly, it’s like you’re trying to bait me. I wrote in support of this roughly a dozen time three years ago. Are you trying to make me lose all credibility? Because I’ll do it. I swear, I’ll do it!
Jack Ungerleider said...
The Twins and Mets share a similar problem when it comes to the third base position. When I followed the Mets it seemed like they were always looking for a third baseman. During the NL Pennant run of 1973 they relied on Wayne Garrett. Good with the glove okay with the stick. (Sort of like Harris on the Twins.) They also played some once and future outfielders at the position. The team finally found an answer in converted outfielder Howard Johnson, who had started his career as an infielder then moved to the outfield, then back. (Sound familiar.) He was a mainstay of the Mid 80s success.
So John, and you other stat hounds, I'd love to see a career arc comparison of Cuddy to HoJo. Maybe the confidence gained as a successful right fielder will translate to confidence at third base.
Jack, you’re killing me. It’s 11:30, The Voice of Reason has been waiting patiently in bed for me for an hour, we’re approaching 2000 words, and you want me to compare Howard Johnson to Michael Cuddyer. Are you trying to make me lose my marriage? Because I’ll do it. I swear, I’ll do it!
"Right on". We keep reading about how bad Cuddyer is with the glove and have players fill the position who are not any better. Worse yet, we want to trade for players that might not even be as good. A quick thought: Span covered so much more ground and made such a difference that even hacks could visually notice either on tv or in person the massive improvement in RF. Mistakes in the infield are a base, poor coverage and mistakes in the outfield are runs.
Can Cuddyer play 3B as well as Beltre? No, but he is on our team now and is a popular player by all accounts. No more Batista or Lamb.
I don’t have a problem with Cuddy’s defense in right field, and I feel like Span’s defense is wasted there. If they insist on keeping Span in a corner outfield spot, he should be switching with Young to get Delmon back to right field and utlize Span’s range in the Metrodome’s enormous left outfield.
(And I am not proposing that at all. There is a simple and obvious answer to the perceived problem of the ”glut” of outfielders that doesn’t involve moving Cuddyer, and I think I’ll be writing about that early next week. So join me then. Have a great weekend.)