It’s Friday. It’s been a long week. You’re only minutes away from the sweet embrace of weekend living, Game Seven watching, and Hallo’ween partying. But those few minutes of anticipation likely seem to have more in common with hours, days, weeks and even months than seconds.
Stop worrying. I’ve got the remedy for what ails you. It’s the latest edition of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday, the best, nay, only way to wind down your working week, and properly prepare yourself for two days of no worrying and even less responsibility.
Remember when you were in high school and The Simpsons was actually funny? You’d watch an episode and laugh for twenty-two minutes and then completely forget everything that you laughed about. You’d try to remember individual things to bring up with your class mates the next day, but inevitably, you ‘d recall nothing except for being amused during the duration of an episode.
As I tried to write the fourth draft of a summary for last night’s game, I had nothing. I couldn’t recall anything past the last thing I saw (the David Freese home run). It was so remarkable and exciting throughout that it erased my capacity for recall. I don’t have much difficulty claiming that it was the best game I’ve ever seen.
The Grady Sizemore Option
All signs point to Grady Sizemore becoming a free agent this offseason. If I’m a general manager here’s what I do: prepare a decent and reasonable two year offer. Get set to pay more in total salary, but less annually than his best one year offer.
As soon as he signs, tell him that you don’t expect him to play for the first half of the season. Tell him to take that time to seriously strengthen his knees. And then, when he is healthy enough and strong enough to return, don’t even think about playing him in center field ever again. He’s a corner outfielder for as long as he’s playing in your team’s uniform.
This is how you get the best value out of Grady Sizemore.
It also wouldn’t hurt if someone told him to stop trying to play baseball like he’s Josh Hamilton.
A Familiar Face In Baltimore And An Unknown Entity In Los Angeles
With Jerry DiPoto taking the Mike Scioscia’s puppet position in Los Angeles, the Baltimore Orioles have probably had the list of names for their new general manager somewhat narrowed. Many of those in the know are suggesting that current Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava is the favourite to take over.
Two thoughts about these items:
- I think the Blue Jays would be hurt by such a move for two reasons: 1) They’re losing an intelligent piece of their front office; and 2) Assuming he’s given a decent amount of autonomy, LaCava represents the addition of another intelligent general manager to the American League East.
- I think that what Baseball Prospectus’ Colin Wyers said about Jerry DiPoto is the best bit of thought I’ve read about the decision to hire him as Angels GM: “Jerry Dipoto may or may not be talented, but there’s little to suggest he will have authority to stand up to Scioscia.”
Point number two is especially frightening when considering this comment from Mike Scioscia:
I’m going to give opinions to him. I don’t look at budgets. I don’t count money. I don’t look at other teams to see what trades are going to be made or facilitate or start that process. I think that’s the only way a manager can function.
Thanks to commenter Ty for the quote. He translated it thusly:
Sure, I’m going to tell him what to do! But I reserve the right to do so without any concern for logistics or reality.
I’m still a little bit in shock that Mike Napoli stayed in last night’s game after doing this:
On Manager Mistakes
If hindsight is 20/20, the ability to use hindsight in combination with distance and a better understanding of context is like x-ray vision. There were a ton of horrible mistakes made by Ron Washington last night, but I think the worst was allowing Scott Feldman to remain in the game to face Lance Berkman in the bottom of the tenth when Mike Gonzalez was available out of the bullpen.
Berkman as a left handed hitter against right handed pitching: 1.004 OPS, .421 wOBA.
Berkman as a right handed hitter against left handed pitching: .777 OPS, .341 wOBA.
That is an inexcusable split to not take advantage of.
Ryan Campbell of FanGraphs put together an estimate on how Prince Fielder will age based on how 205 players who weigh more than 3.25 lbs per inch of height have performed in the past. There are a few problems with this.
First of all, Fielder, according to Baseball Reference weighs 3.87 lbs per inch, a sizeable difference from what he’s using as a baseline. Secondly, I’d like to know where he’s getting his weights from because most recorded weights are from a player’s first season and when you’re comparing weight to age, it’s somewhat vital that you actually have the right weight for the age that your judging a player on.
The truth is that there are no players like Fielder and certain no players who have been anywhere close to his size and proven themselves to be as durable as he has. I love that the sample sizes from baseball give us some predictive qualities. Unfortunately, if you’re going to look at Prince Fielder’s future, an educated guess can’t be had by comparing him to other arbitrarily defined as heavy players.
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Ron Washington Is The Brian Wilson Of The Baseball World
My beefs with Ron Washington are completely, 100% based on his shoddy and inept managing. However, discussion around the office today was focused on his maniac dance antics and constant camera mugging. Has his charm worn off in a similar way to Brian Wilson’s, which went from incapable of doing wrong to eye roll inducing at every turn.
Another point of debate around the office this morning was Nelson Cruz’s play in right field on David Freese’s triple in the bottom of the ninth.
One quick point: the result of the at bat tends to cast a shadow on what was an incredible pitcher-batter conflict between Freese and Neftali Feliz. It only lasted four pitches, but Feliz made the Cardinals third baseman look absolutely ridiculous on the third pitch of the at bat, and then he tried to put the ball in the exact same location, only with a ton more heat on it.
Anyway, most of the discussion centered around Cruz on the play. Did he take a horrible route to the ball, or did he just look so awkward trying to reach for an impossible ball to get to that he’s being unfairly blamed for incompetence. Personally, I think that’s a catchable ball. Cruz seemed to lolly gag back to the warning track instead of moving with any urgency.
I also think that Drew Fairservice brought up a good point though in saying that if you’re not going to make the catch, or you’re unsure of it, then get into position where you can play it off the wall as quickly as possible.
Also, there’s this, from ESPN’s Mark Simon:
@fieldingbible folks say 17 balls hit in 2011 to apx spot of Freese triple, with 4 sec hang time. 3 were caught. So yes, tough play.
The Cartoon Bird Returns
Fortunately for everyone, the Baltimore Orioles are going back to the cartoon bird logo. Unfortunately for no one, not this one:
The move makes sense though, because generally speaking, the Orioles are animal lovers.
Photo courtesy of Teen Archer, and the Adam Jones’ soft spot for puppies.