Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that was filled with heavy doses of sludging and drudging. It’s my hope that at the end of every week during the baseball season, during that point of the day on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to check out some random observations and contribute your own opinion to make us all smarter about baseball.

So, without further ado:

The Best Players 25 And Under

On Wednesday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball listed a dozen of the best non-rookie Major League Baseball position players aged 25 and younger. As evidence that he let the maple syrup go straight to his head, Sickels names Brett Lawrie as the second best among his “personal favourites.”

While I’m pretty sure the use of “personal favourites” is little more than a good way of excusing oneself from criticism, it’s worth noting that listing Lawrie ahead of Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Jason Heyward is ridiculously wrong in any ranking that isn’t Amount Of Red Bulls Downed Before Game Time.

Here’s how I would list my top twelve:

  1. Justin Upton
  2. Andrew McCutchen
  3. Buster Posey
  4. Giancarlo Stanton
  5. Jason Heyward
  6. Starlin Castro
  7. Eric Hosmer
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Brett Lawrie
  10. Desmond Jennings
  11. Pablo Sandoval
  12. Dustin Ackley

The Best Players 35 And Over

I don’t want to be accused of prejudice, so if we’re going to celebrate the youth of baseball, we pretty much have to talk in equal measure about those in the twilight of their respective careers.

My top twelve position players who are 35 years of age or older:

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Carlos Beltran
  4. Chipper Jones
  5. Lance Berkman
  6. David Ortiz
  7. Paul Konerko
  8. Carlos Lee
  9. Torii Hunter
  10. Marco Scutaro
  11. Alfonso Soriano
  12. Todd Helton

The Aggravating Thing The Manager Did

Throughout the baseball season, which begins in earnest in less than a week, we’ll be delivering our impressions of the seemingly stupid things that managers do. From poor bullpen management to questionable calls for sacrifice, a lack of consideration for pinch hitting, baseball managers make a ton of questionable calls that often go against what playing the percentages would suggest to be the right course of action.

Every time we criticize a manager’s action this season, you can expect to see Disapproving Cito seconding our opinion in animated GIF form.

On that note, it surprises me how reliant every baseball club seems to be on analytics when making personnel decisions compared to how ignorant every baseball club seems to be on analytics when making in game decisions.

It’s a massive gap.

Trading Bobby Abreu

If rumours are believed to be true, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been trying to move Bobby Abreu throughout the Spring. Taking a look through the team’s roster, here is a list of players, not including Mike Trout who was recently demoted, that could fill outfield spots in 2012:

  • Peter Bourjos
  • Torii Hunter
  • Vernon Wells
  • Mark Trumbo
  • Bobby Abreu

Here is a list of Angels that could hit in the DH spot this season:

  • Kendry Morales
  • Mark Trumbo
  • Bobby Abreu

Abreu is the epitome of redundancy. As nice as it would be to get that much sought after fifth starter that Los Angeles is after, they should be quick to settle for anything they can get in terms of salary relief on the $9 million owed to Bobby Abreu.

Due to back loaded contracts, Abreu will make $1 million less than C.J. Wilson this season, and only $3 million less than Albert Pujols. Vernon Wells will make $21 million of the $63 million still owed to him this season. That’s $9 million more than Pujols salary this year.

The Happiest Person

There are a lot of candidates for the title of happiest person to come out of the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. There’s Frank McCourt, who, after running the team into the ground before declaring bankruptcy, is suddenly a billionaire (at least until he pays off his many, many, many debts). There’s Magic Johnson who appears to be ready and willing to become the face of another franchise in Los Angeles. And there’s every single supporter of the Dodgers who can gleefully say that Frank McCourt has nothing to do with their team anymore as they enjoy an ownership group that is actually interested in investing in their favourite team.

However, for my money, the most pleased person coming out of the team’s sale is MLBPA head Michael Weiner, who must be having fits of joy over the prospect of the L.A. Dodgers becoming something of a Yankees West when it comes to free agent spending and payroll capabilities.

Overrating The Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers were probably the favourite to win the American League Central before they acquired Prince Fielder. However, I don’t understand how his acquisition vaults the Tigers into the stratospheric elite of the American League, when he’s basically replacing the injured Victor Martinez.

The former catcher is probably a 2.5 – 3.5 WAR player, while Fielder is a 4 – 5 WAR player. The rest of the Tigers lineup remains as unimpressive as it was before the big signing which in honesty only represents a mild upgrade over the injured V-Mart.

Making matters even worse is that we don’t know what kind of effect Cabrera playing third base will have on Detroit’s more ground ball prone pitchers like Doug Fister and Rick Porcello.

The signing also poses issues for the future.

Assuming Alex Avila remains behind the plate and the Miguel Cabrera experiment at third base goes the way most of us expect it to, the Tigers are going to have a problem fitting three players into two positions when Martinez returns next year.

Follow Friday

Five new people to follow on Twitter, who aren’t already followed by everyone you follow:

  1. Jason Wojciechowski: Insight. Humour. And a slight bias toward the poor Oakland Athletics. Really, who could ask for any more from a full time lawyer, part time blogger.
  2. Steven McEwan: Blue Jays, Blue Jays and more Blue Jays. This blogger makes nerdiness cool again.
  3. Ben Duronio: An Atlanta Braves blogger out of New York, whose healthy doses of cynicism are matched in quality only by his abilities to analyze the business side of baseball.
  4. Punk On Deck: A likable St. Louis Cardinals fan. If that doesn’t sound appealing enough to follow, you probably don’t know a whole lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans.
  5. Space Moneky Mafia: Pity follow candidate! A Detroit Tigers blogger who doesn’t even know how disappointing his team is going to be this year.

Shameless Self Promotion

As always, you can check out our Facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates on new videos and funny pictures in your own Facebook news feed, as well as the occasional link back to the blog. Staying on the social media train, you can also follow Getting Blanked on Twitter to get regular links to all of our content and fresh bits of sarcasm.

While we’re on the subject, feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed as well, which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge, including our new daily show which is set to begin at the start of the season.

I’d also like to advise all Getting Blankards, as well as members of the DJF monkey army, to take next Thursday afternoon off work, or get prepared to cut class early, because we’re throwing down a celebraish to start the baseball season at Opera Bob’s.

For more details, see the original post, or check out the facebook invitation.

Outrageous Fortune

It’s pretty much a no brainer that the San Francisco Giants aren’t going to pick up the club option attached to the final year of Barry Zito’s incomprehensible seven year, $126 million contract. But did you know this . . .

When the Giants opt out ahead of the 2014 season, they’ll have to pay Zito $7 million.

Earlier, I mentioned the $63 million still owed to Vernon Wells over the next three seasons. The San Francisco Giants’ southpaw starterish pitcher is owed $46 million over the next two seasons.

Both Wells and Zito signed seven year deals that guaranteed them $126 million. One other player in baseball history has signed a deal at those terms: Jayson Werth with the Washington Nationals. It’s clearly a curse.

Want to know something even more ridiculous?

Ryan Howard’s five year $125 million deal is only beginning this season.

Popular Players

Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:

  1. Chipper Jones
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Alex Rodriguez
  4. Albert Pujols
  5. Jamie Moyer

Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours has seen these player profiles visited the most:

  1. Eric Hosmer
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Albert Pujols
  4. Aroldis Chapman
  5. Bobby Abreu

Comments (39)

  1. I’m so stealing Disapproving Cito for personal use. Cheers buddy.

  2. Why do you hate Canada asshole? But seriously, Castro probably shouldn’t be on that list. Once he gets bumped off short (which should be soon) the shine will be off. Gimme the next four on your list before Castro any day of the week.

    • That high, I should say. No problems with him actually being on the list.

      • I did think of him as a shortstop, and that positioning had something to do with the higher ranking than Hosmer, but also, he remains ridiculously young, and ridiculously experienced for his age.

  3. Let me guess…Cito is shaking his head because somebody saw 6 pitches in one at bat??

  4. No offense but that list is terrible. Hosmer over Lawrie? thats insane. Mccutchen over Stanton? Even more insane. Ackley #12? insane insane insane.

  5. Posey at #3 is laughable

  6. If it was up to Parkes, of course, Lawrie wouldn’t even be in the majors at all yet to save money (and I suspect he wouldn’t have even made his list at all if that was the case): http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2011/08/03/dont-call-up-brett-lawrie/

    Still, #2 is high on that list for him certainly (I’d at least rank Upton, McCutchen, Stanton, and Posey ahead of him at this point).

  7. No problem with the list, except 5, 6, 7 should be Hosmer, Heyward, Castro. Eric Hosmer is going to be an absolute BEAST.

  8. Justin Upton
    Buster Posey
    Giancarlo Stanton
    Brett Lawrie
    Dustin Ackley

    These 5 guys round out my keeper league fantasy team.

  9. Some Thoughts:
    1. So your saying that you would trade Lawrie for Mike Trout if that deal was offered? Not in a million years would I make that deal.
    2. I’m not sure the Dodgers will be able to afford to sign players, I can’t imagine this ownership group has any money left, not to mention that given the amount of money they spent on the team they will be losing $50 plus million a year. How can a guy like Magic Johnson afford to get involved in such a money losing venture?

    • 1. Why wouldn’t you trade Lawrie for Trout?

      2. The Dodgers are about to strike a TV deal that will be the biggest in baseball history.

      • 1. To be fair, I’m in the Trout will be very good, but he’s currently over rated category. I know he’s very young but I don’t expect him to develop much more than 20 home run power, or put up much more than a .350 OBP. His production will be slightly less than Lawrie, although is might be close, and given that he’s an OF, I’ll keep the guy who plays 3B.

        2. That’s great, however unless the Goggenheimers pay cash for the Dodgers, which they won’t, this team is going to be extremely leveraged. The annual interest on the loan itself will probably equal the Jays payroll. This team is going to be losing and extremely large amount of money even with the largest TV deal in history, at some point the owners are going to take it out on payroll. I heard one expert say that even in a year that the Dodgers win the World Series, they would still lose a minimum $50 million at the teams current payroll. There is no possible way to make money on this team at a price of over 2 billion.

        • I don’t think Lawrie will stay at third. I’d like to be surprised, but I don’t see it happening. Whereas for Trout, I think he’ll start in left eventually and end up in center with his range. Probably not as good as Bourjos, but if I were Angels I’d be shopping him after this season. At the very least, it’s a discussion.

          As for the Dodgers. It is in cash. All glorious cash: http://losangeles.sbnation.com/los-angeles-dodgers/2012/3/28/2908868/dodgers-sale-2-billion-deal-all-cash-no-financing

          • Wow, that’s impressive, maybe your right then.

            However, I thought the latest was that rather then signing the largest TV deal ever, they were going to start up their own channel in attempt to create their own version of the YES network. Unfortunately all the other LA teams are locked up in TV contracts so they will have no one to partner with, unless LA gets an NFL team of course.

          • What about Lawrie makes you think he will be unable to stay at third (other than year-old scouting reports that are no longer applicable)?

            If Lawrie even plays defense at half the level he showed in his short stretch in the majors last season, he’ll certainly be able to handle 3B. Sure, he’ll likely get bigger and less mobile as he ages, but he’s only 22 right now.

          • Hardly year old scouting reports. Did you see any of his videos at Triple A from last year? I’ll go by those and what everyone has said about him over however many games he played with Toronto.

          • You do realize that Vegas is a notoriously bad place for fielders, right?

            Are you really trying to argue that the incredible range he showed over his 43 games was some kind of fluke/wasn’t real. If that’s the case, what are you basing it on?

          • it isn’t just range, it’s throwing accuracy, ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and just ability to catch the ball. he looked pretty good in the games he played last year, but he wouldn’t be the first 3b who looked pretty good at first but with full seasons started to look less than stellar.

          • I’m talking about video. What I saw of Lawrie. He did not look good or fluid. I think Parkes said something similar about Lackey. Just because he didn’t look bad during his brief MLB stint doesn’t mean he’s going to stay there.

          • Lawrie not only didn’t look bad in his major league stint, he looked fantastic defensively (which perhaps shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was considering how much AA, Farrell, and the coaches liked his defense last spring).

            I’m really struggling to understand why somebody who’s watched him play there regularly would think he couldn’t handle the position going forward. His sheer athleticism and ability is incredible and he’s got a strong arm.

      • good question. Why Parkes, why?

  10. I gotta say, disapproving Cito makes me very very dizzy. Just sayin. And not good dizzy, like having that extra beer with the Jays down 4 in the top of the 7th and you’re sitting in the upper deck and it’s such a nice night and you just know they’re gonna come back and you need to nurse that thing … no. More like, dehydrated and cranky on the way back from the islands on the ferry with a girl who you’ve been dating who you don’t really like, trying frantically to tune in 590 on your Honest Ed’s transistor radio and just failing to hear a crack and then a muffled “Bautista hits it hard and Lawrie is on his way to third…”

    Perhaps in more limited doses, it’ll be fine. I guess I could read a text only version of Getting Blanked.

  11. I’m pretty sure that’s Cito shaking his head at the chances Ken Griffey Jr. and his Mariners have at winning the world series. It’s an old commercial for a baseball video game isn’t it?

  12. I hope you use that Cito gif for everything from now on Dustin!

  13. The parentheses in Ichiro (!) are interesting. Perhaps a time of life thing? The stages of Ichiro:

    1) Ichiro?
    2) ICHIRO!!!
    3) Ichiro!
    4) Ichiro (!)
    5) Suzuki, I.

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