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, at that moment that only occurs 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 opinions to ten stray thoughts on a Friday.
So, without further ado:
Nightmare Equations For Fans Of The San Francisco Giants
Ryan Dempster Walks To The Beat Of His Own Drum
If Ryan Dempster isn’t traded to another team in the next week, the general consensus of humanity will have but one question for the right-handed pitcher: HOW DARE YOU!?!?!?!
It’s assumed that Dempster used his 5/10 rights (which allow players that have played for ten years and five with their current club to block a trade if they wish) to essentially stop the Chicago Cubs from acquiring Randall Delgado from the Atlanta Braves. So, the Braves want Dempster, but it ends up that he’d rather go to the L.A. Dodgers, but the Dodgers want Matt Garza, and Garza doesn’t want to go anywhere, and now he’s injured anyway. If that’s confusing, just try to recall the plot of Threesome, and you’ve basically got it.
However, many Cubs fans and writers are painting Dempster as a selfish prick merely because he dares to use the rights he’s acquired as a veteran player to dictate where he wants to live and play for the remainder of the year. That’s absolutely and positively ridiculous. He’s earned the right to do exactly what he wants to in this situation. How easy would it be for your employer to move you for the next three months of your life before your contract is terminated?
As an aside: It’s somewhat reminiscent of Carlos Delgado refusing a trade in his final year before free agency that would have turned the Toronto Blue Jays into a completely different organization.
The L.A. Dodgers Will Change Baseball
You know those $/WAR calculations we use to judge free agent contracts in light of a player’s expected decline? Well, they’re probably about to become worthless, or at the very least be in need of a severe makeover.
Judging by the way in which the L.A. Dodgers, under new ownership and ahead of a lucrative regional television deal being signed, went after Yusiel Puig, agreed to take on the entire contract of Hanley Ramirez and have their name attached to every single trade rumour …
Dodgers, who still want to add a bat, also have some interest in Justin Morneau
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 27, 2012
… they’re prepared to spend a lot of money in the coming months. I mean a lot. Like, change the face of free agency in baseball “a lot.” Like, become the West Coast Yankees “a lot.”
For the San Francisco Giants and the rest of the National League West, I guess it was fun while it lasted.
The Awesome Platoon Leaderboard
FIP vs. Right Handed Batters
- Lance Lynn, STL, 1.97 FIP;
- Zack Greinke, MIL, 2.29 FIP;
- Johnny Cueto, CIN, 2.59 FIP;
- Jeff Samardzija, CHC, 2.62 FIP;
- Stephen Strasburg, WAS, 2.62 FIP.
FIP vs. Left Handed Batters
- Madison Bumgarner, SF, 2.28 FIP;
- David Price, TB, 2.33 FIP;
- Stephen Strasburg, WAS, 2.40 FIP;
- Josh Johnson, MIA, 2.43 FIP;
- Chris Sale, CHW, 2.44 FIP.
wOBA vs. Right Handed Pitchers
- Robinson Cano, NYY, .464 wOBA;
- Joey Votto, CIN, .463 wOBA;
- Mike Trout, LAA, .435 wOBA;
- Carlos Gonzalez, COL, .432 wOBA;
- David Ortiz, BOS, .431 wOBA.
wOBA vs. Left Handed Pitchers
- Andrew McCutchen, PIT, .508 wOBA;
- Melky Cabrera, SF, .505 wOBA;
- Paul Goldschmidt, ARI, .492 wOBA;
- Buster Posey, SF, .482 wOBA; and
- Matt Holliday, STL, .476 wOBA.
Stephen Strasburg appears twice on this list. That’s rather remarkable.
Commissioner Bud Selig Has His Finger On The Pulse Of Technology
I have never read an argument against expanded instant replay in baseball that I would consider to be the least bit convincing. In fact, it seems very possible to me that one does not exist. I’m not being facetious with such a statement. I’m open to hearing opinions on the issue and totally willing to be convinced that Major League Baseball doesn’t need to use video replay for safe/out calls, fair/foul calls and home runs. However, this hasn’t happened yet.
Several times in the last couple of months Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has spoken publicly about the issue, stating in one form or another that there is no impetus among those in baseball or those who watch baseball to justify making dramatic changes. In other words, according to Bud Selig:
I do not follow the same people that Dustin Parkes does on Twitter.
Mr. Selig continued his technophobic speechifying this week when he spoke with something called Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Radio in Chicago about fans clamoring to implement more video replay for close calls.
I’m not sure that is true. We do a lot of polling, I talk to a lot of fans, I get a lot of mail everyday and I answer every piece of mail here. Guess what guys, I get almost no letters, calls or thoughts on Instant Replay. By the way and I say this and I don’t want it to sound, we’re setting attendance records. We’re having a year that’s unbelievable. The last five years have been the greatest five years in baseball history, setting records nobody ever thought possible. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to look at this. By the way we will continue to review all of this.
We just had a meeting with that committee and spent a lot of time on this subject but there are people who leave and I will say this, Instant Replay doesn’t always solve problems by the way. Sometimes it creates more. You can’t keep stopping games. We have enough, we have home runs, we have fair or foul and trapped balls. We’re going to have a lot of different things and we have electronic analysis of every home plate umpire so we watch this very, very carefully. Yes there may be an instance here or there where an umpire misses a call. I don’t deny that but is there any great outcry for Instant Replay? No.
Really? Why … How …. Um, I just …
Who are the people with whom Bud Selig speaks and how do I get into such a retirement community when I’m ready to hang up the ol’ keyboard?
23- year old right-handed starter Matt Harvey made his Major League debut last night for the New York Mets in their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it was rather incredible. He faced 23 batters and struck out 11 of them in five and a third innings.
If Harvey, at 6’4″ tall and weighing 210 lbs, is in fact real, and not the manifestation of an elaborate Sandy Alderson delusion, he needs to have the nickname Pooka.
The next time someone tries to tell you that you are “not qualified” to offer an opinion that might contradict that of a general manager in Major League Baseball, I highly recommend you show them these two tweets from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 27, 2012
The GM: “With the karma teams things inexplicably keep going right. Watch Wandy (Rodriguez) is going to be great for the #Pirates.”
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 27, 2012
Not only do I question the mystery GM’s understanding of the game of baseball, I’m left wondering if he even knows what karma is.
Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:
- Ichiro Suzuki
- Hanley Ramirez
- Alex Rodriguez
- Derek Jeter
- Mike Trout
Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours has seen these player profiles visited the most:
- Matt Harvey
- James Shields
- Oliver Perez
- Starling Marte
- Mike Trout
Shameless Self Promotion
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It’s become common practice between my girlfriend and I to answer innocuous questions from one another in The Bane Voice. At first, The Bane Voice was a pure mimic of Tom Hardy’s character from The Dark Knight Rises, but it’s since devolved into a strange hybrid of Sesame Street’s Grover and Geoffrey, the butler from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, reciting The Charge Of The Light Brigade.
This is the height of hilarity in our household.
Have a good weekend, everybody.
A Bonus Thought For Timmy Tim Tim
A lot has been made of Tim Lincecum’s struggles this season. I’d like to add this little tidbit. Since 2008, Lincecum has thrown the fourth most pitches in Major League Baseball. Of the top ten in pitches thrown, Lincecum is four inches shorter than the next closest in terms of height.