Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th career save last night, moving within one of Trevor Hoffman’s Major League record. I’ve written in the past about the arbitrary meaning assigned to saves, and the disproportionate value between reality and that which most baseball managers place on closing out games. However, that shouldn’t take away from Rivera’s accomplishment.
Much like pitching wins or RBIs, they don’t have much of a predictive value and rely to heavily on opportunities outside the player’s realm of control and responsibility, but if a player accumulates enough of them over their career, it’s usually a pretty good sign that they’re a talented player.
Tom Tango, over at The Book blog, has an interesting take, questioning why post season saves aren’t included in a player’s career numbers, especially considering that saves are supposedly a measurement of pressure situations, and it never gets more “clutch” than in the playoffs.
You know the argument: “oh, it’s not fair to include the post-season, because not everyone gets to the post-season”. Of course, somehow it’s fair that Mariano Rivera gets to pitch for the NY Yankees in the regular season. “oh, we can keep two separate leaderboards”. Of course, we can create leaderboards by regular season and by playoffs, but why not both?
For comparing individual seasons, the playing already isn’t level. Certain players receive more plate appearances than others, so how would this be any different? On the career level, it makes even less difference. No one considers Pete Rose’s accomplishments to be lesser than Ty Cobb’s because he played in more games, so I suppose I don’t have any problems with this.
And besides, saves are so arbitrary to begin with, if someone wants to include Rivera’s postseason saves in his career numbers, have at it. As such, the Yankees closer has 642 saves, which beats Hoffman’s regular and post season total by 37.
And The Rest:
If you’re into the whole nice, round number for arbitrary, counting stats thing, you’ll also be overjoyed that Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield collected his 200th win last night.
Not to be outdone, Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon stole his 400th base.
As much as I like the way that Keith Law forms his opinions and expresses them, it’s easy to forget that he’s also an excellent writer. He shows off his style a bit more than usual in a well researched, and must read piece for ESPN that looks at the challenges of scouting baseball in Europe.
Alexi Ogando could be the odd man out for the Texas Rangers, not only when it comes to a post season starting rotation spot, but also for the rest of the season, as the bullpen beckons.
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has a future that’s so undecided it’s pretty much man’s greatest testament to free will.
The Florida Marlins apparently released Mike Cameron for “conduct detrimental for the team.” I told him not to open that Twitter account.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have closed shop on their baseball academy in Venezuela. Somebody must have been reading Keith Law.
Boston Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks had a pulmonary embolism discovered while having tests done on his injured back. Similarly, I thought I found a quarter on the sidewalk this morning, but it ended up it was just a nickel.
The Sweet Spot Blog’s Dave Schoenfield had a great quote about St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and his use of expanded rosters in September: “Like handing La Russa a blank check and the run of Home Depot.”
A Negro League database? A Negro League database!
Baseball Think Factory asks if the Houston Astros have officially changed their name to the Lowly Astros.