Al's Ramblings



Tuesday, October 29, 2002

(10/29/2002 09:00:00 AM) - Al

Al,

I read you blog. Anyways, the word down here in Atlanta is that Ned Yost will be named manager tomorrow. I work for the Braves, and that's the word we got.

You can write about it if you want, but I dont want to be attributed to the statement at all.

Name withheld


Hopefully this gent will e-mail me his opinion on Ned, but it won't get posted for a while. The JS is reporting this same info this AM. Welcome to MIL Mr. Yost.

I'm out 'til the 10th.


10/29/2002 09:00:00 AM


Monday, October 28, 2002

(10/28/2002 08:51:00 PM) - Al

MIN exercised their options on LaTroy Hawkins ($3 frickin' million!!) and Tom Prince. Hawkins had a very nice year, but there's not a middle reliever in the game worth more than half of $3 mil. I love Tom Prince, he's excellent behind the plate, and always looks to be on the verge of learning how to hit, despite hellish numbers in his long career. And, Matt LeCroy can catch, and hits like a Greek god. All I'm saying is, they'll be 25 guys equivalent to Tom Prince on the waiver wire this winter. Why waste a spot on your December 40 man on him?

They did, however, decline their option on Denny Hocking, as there isn't a middle infielder reserve worth $1 million plus either. I assume Hocking will accept his side, as they had a "mutual option", the Twins for one amount, Hocking for a tad less. Denny's a nice little player, but I'd much rather have Joe AAA IF making $300K than Denny playing good defense and not hitting a lick for a million more.


10/28/2002 08:51:00 PM



(10/28/2002 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Al,

The Yost hiring is being reported on both Chicago and Milwaukee sports radio, all citing unnamed sources. Looks to be a done deal, or they're just dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

James


Thanks for the tip, James. I really have no reason to like Ned, except for the fact i have a general dislike for the others (except Cooper).

On that note, I'm out until 11/10, so hopefully good news will occur in the meantime. Until then...


10/28/2002 08:34:00 PM



(10/28/2002 05:44:00 PM) - Al

So, I'm not sure if there is an actual recipe for a horrible way of building a team, but paying a manager $3.25 million per year AND shipping off your best player as compensation for said manager has to be the among the worst I've ever come across. Lou Pinella isn't going to do a thing with the team TB has now, and they are unlikely to be in contention in the next four years that Lou has a contract for.

As bad a move as I've seen in years, bar none.


10/28/2002 05:44:00 PM



(10/28/2002 02:04:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Word is leaking out that Ned Yost will be named the new manager in the next few days. One person even told me Yost will have some of his staff already in place when the press conference is held, probably Wednesday.

Name withheld


Figured i might as well go ahead and print the e-mail, while this source was right before on a couple issues, I have no factual info to back it up.



10/28/2002 02:04:00 PM



(10/28/2002 01:59:00 PM) - Al

I wonder if Melvin will consider interviewing Joel Skinner, now that news in CLE has come out that they intend to hire their AAA manager. Joel seemed to understand what he was doing in CLE after they were out of the race, and seemed to know where the fine line between winning and development was. Meanwhile in MIL, we had Royster playing Ryan Thompson instead of Alex Sanchez to try and win that 57th game "for pride".

Word on the street is, the choice is Ned Yost, who I agree with. We'll have to see if that is indeed the case.


10/28/2002 01:59:00 PM



(10/28/2002 01:30:00 PM) - Al

From the mailbag:

Hi Al,

Maybe you've addressed this somewhere, but what did you think of the Brewers losing Jeff Deardorff? I don't know a lot about him,
but his OPS was certainly tolerable (and is there another stat that matters??) at around .800. But I don't know the circumstances around it--was it a bad move?

Also, what are your thoughts on Willy Mo Pena? He apparently has star written on him, but his contract says he has to make the 25-man roster next year or be waived. He ripped his hammy last Thursday in the AFL. I know, I know, I'm kinda stupid for thinking about it, but your opinion is golden to me. And you'll call a spade a spade, so tell me if it was dumb.

One more thing. I've been a subscriber to Baseball America for about a year now, and I feel I have gained quite a bit of knowledge about prospects from it. However, I do notice how they jump on a couple of prospects a year and promote the hell out of them whether they follow through or not. Is that the only knock on BA? Is there a better publication I should be spending my money on?

Jason


I believe Deardorff was lost after I started spending my time in Wausau. For those who do not know, Jeff is a 1B/3B/LF/RF who has been with the Brewers since being drafted in '97. He was dropped from the 40 man roster a couple weeks ago, but had to clear waivers before being outrighted to AAA. MIN claimed him, and added him to their 40 man.

I have never been impressed with Jeff, he's 24 and has not done all that much in AA and below thus far. Even in his breakthrough season of '01, in which his naked numbers were .295, 29 HR's, 100 RBI's, he still managed to have a 4-1 K/BB ratio, and a sub .350 OBP. Considering this was against high A and AA pitchers, I didn't see him as more than a RH platoon OF, which are a dime a dozen.

Of course, he's still a few years away from peaking. If he's able to play an even below average 3B, he could develop into an everyday player. The problem many fans have with losing a potential power bat is the Crew didn't have anyone better to protect, and as of this second, only have 35 men on the 40 man. Personally, I feel there are several minor league FA's, Rule 5 picks, and such who are a better use of a 40 man spot, and apparently, so does Doug Melvin.

Willy Mo Pena is going to suffer immensely from this season, unless a compromise can be reached. With Kearns, Griffey, and Dunn in the CIN OF, Pena will not get much playing time, and he needs AB's in the worst possible way. Honestly, he needs to go somewhere he can get 500 AB's, whether it be in AA, AAA, or the bigs. He put together a not awful season in AA, hitting .255/.330/.405, but with 36 BB's and 126 K's. Remember, only 2-3 AA pitchers on a staff will ever see time in the majors. He still got out 67% of the time, and K'd 3.5 times than he walked.

Pena is a victim of his agent and his own tools that anyone would ever give him a deal that dooms him to fail so. He still has a ton of time to mature, but siting on the bench PHing and PRing won't help him a bit, nor will going 0-4 when he gets to play.

I used to subscribe to BA, and still would if I had a need for in depth minor league news that's a few weeks old. It's a good read, but the main reason I'd subscribe is to get a password for the BA website that has some free info and mostly pay stories. Right now, there is no mag I'm aware of that is even remotely as good as BA, for their minors coverage.



10/28/2002 01:30:00 PM


Sunday, October 27, 2002

(10/27/2002 09:23:00 PM) - Al

Then there are the exceptions. Scott Randall is looked at as a junkballer, despite a 12-0, 3.25 ERA season in '02 for Edmonton, MIN's AAA club.

The Twins obviously don't believe in Scott Randall either, as they allowed him to be a minor league free agent. He is free to sign with any team. However, this guy seems to me to be the epitome of what every team should look for as a middle reliever. 12-0, 3.25 ERA is a fine statline, regardless of K ratio, especially in the more offensive PCL. I would guess he is a sinker/slider type pitcher, whose ball doesn't move enough to induce a lot of K's...but that hitters aren't able to make solid contact off of.

Scott averaged about 7 innings a start, and still limited the opposing offense pretty well, as his ERA was just slightly higher than Santana's. He has a low ceiling, but should hear from most MLB teams as they look to sign pitching depth.

I would think that Scott is the perfect example of one of those inexpensive pitchers to round out your staff. He can start or relieve, and looks to be able to contribute at a league average level at minimal payroll cost for at least the next three years. At the very least, he is quite able to be your "12th or 13th man", waiting in the wings at AAA for injury or ineffectiveness.


10/27/2002 09:23:00 PM



(10/27/2002 11:31:00 AM) - Al

BA has posted a list of minor league FA's (commonly called "six year FA's"). It never fails to amaze me the quality of player that ends up on this list on an annual basis. While few of the guys will ever be stars, the majority could easily be middle/long relievers, or reserve infielders or outfielders. I have long said the only difference between a solid AAA player and ML roster filler is opportunity, with some luck and consistency thrown in to round out the equation.

Mike Buddie is a good example. Mike had a very respectable '01 for MIL, and early this year was utilized as a 10th/11th man should be: Whenever needed. If you are going to overuse a pitcher, your 30 year-old middle reliever is an excellent choice. His stats suffered because of the overuse, which is understandable. But, because Jerry Royster understands the game less than my cocker spaniel, Buddie was released in order to activate Chad "Oops My Arm Hurts Again" Fox. Chad had been overextended during spring training by Grumpy Stewart, in order to make him "tough" and "gritty", but Jerry figured he could use Fox like any other reliever, because he is intelligence challenged. So, after a week or so, Chad went back on the DL, and Buddie was gone.

Mike Buddie will never be a top reliever, but he is good enough to be a member of almost any bullpen in the game, ATL's notwithstanding. He is durable, a good guy, and capable of being cheap and productive. That said, so are 100 or so other pitchers on the list.

You can find the list here.

Could you put together a team made up solely of these guys that would win more than the 56 games the Brewers won in '02? Quite possible, and this team would cost about $10 million. If you're not sure about this, consider that a replacement team, in theory, would put together numbers about 85% that of the league average...and using runs scored and runs allowed, would win about 25% of their games...about 40, give or take a few because of luck. Could a smart GM find 16 more wins in that group of 590 players, many of which have big league experience?

No doubt in my mind they could, nearly all at the minimum salary.

Hopefully, Doug Melvin will sign several players off this list, and use factors such as the following to decide who to sign:

FOR HITTERS:

1. Under 27.
2. Good OBP/plate discipline.
3. Above average OPS for position.
4. Steady improvement and/or steady production.
5. What CAN a player do?

In my view, it is easier to find young position players that can help out, therefore, I'd try not to go over 27, the accepted age of peaking. Why bring in a Ryan Thompson, 34 year-old type, when there are many guys who are 2/3rd's of a decade younger, and every bit as good? Remember, Brian Lesher, a career AAA 1B/LF has about a 800 OPS every year. That's not bad, but 1B/LF's that can do that are a dime a dozen. A guy who can do that and be a catcher, middle infielder, or CF are gold, even if they are only mediocre in the field. David Eckstein was considered a good offensive AAA 2B, but who couldn't play SS, which is what John Sickels said scouts told him way back in '98. I said the same thing, as it appeared to me Eck had poor range. But, observations and scouts often are wrong. Eckstein is OK in the field, and a fine offensive middle IF. It makes no difference that he has a poor arm, what matters is that he CAN be a contributor. Worrying about what a guy can't do is pointless.

FOR PITCHERS:

1. Good ERA, consistent
2. Good K/IP ratio
3. Good K/BB ratio
4. Under 29
5. Think "out of the box"

Almost any AAA starter could be a passable reliever in the majors, but those who strike out the most and walk the fewest have the best chance. Regardless of what you hear about "being a winner", those who allow the fewest runs will be the most effective over time. However, a few good/bad breaks, especially looking at the way a bullpen can effect a starter's ERA, means you need to look at beyond just the '02 number. By thinking out of the box, you are able to see things others simply gloss over. Scott Karl, for example, always had stunning numbers versus LH batters, but was never utilized as a situational reliever.

I've always been a big believer in spending money for key personnel, and filling out the roster with minor league FA's, and "looked past" free agents (Matt Stairs in '02 being a good example, as is Mike Jackson, the Twins reliever). Key spots?

4 starting pitchers---The 5th starter should only be used when necessary. Since the season is about 180 days long, each of your top 4 starters "could" get up to 36 starts each. However, with doubleheaders and other quirks, it is unlikely a starter could get more than 34-35. Still, those are fewer starts for your worst starter, who pitches in as a reliever when not needed.)

3 relievers, a closer and 2 set-up men--Your other arms can just as easily be Mike Buddie types, as they rarely pitch in high leverage situations, and the difference is only 5 runs or so a year.

A true starter at each position (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF, DH in the AL)---Now, it is unlikely you will have this situation; as even the best teams will have a platoon or weak spot or two. But, you should still be willing to spend on a quality everyday player IF you can find one. I would argue that it is worthwhile to have a solid 1B/corner OF on the bench, as it is very likely either your 1B, LF, or RF will be injured, or at least need a platoon partner. Still, that only leaves 16-17 guys you should be willing to spend real money on. That's 8-9 spots that you can spend the minimum on, or very nearly so. That's a full third of your roster you can fill for $3-4 million or less. For those keeping score, that's less than we paid Mark Loretta in 2002.


10/27/2002 11:31:00 AM



(10/27/2002 10:20:00 AM) - Al

Ken Macha has turned down the Brewers' offer to be their next manager. It appears the remaining choices are Willie Randolph, Bob Melvin, Ned Yost, and Cecil Cooper. My feelings?

I hope it's Ned Yost. He is a very intelligent man, who made it to the big leagues as a reserve catcher with barely a whiff of talent.

I have nothing against Randolph, except he reminds me a lot of Davey Lopes.

Bob Melvin has been Bob Brenly's bench coach, and I'm afraid some of the stupidity may have rubbed off.

Cecil Cooper showed me he has the ability to be a very good batting coach, as he singlehandedly turned Alex Sanchez's season (and probably his career) around, after being put in the lineup and ignored by Lopester. He also seems to be a thoughtful, intelligent man, but has spent most of his post baseball career in the front office, not in the dugout.

My vote goes to Yost.


10/27/2002 10:20:00 AM



(10/27/2002 10:08:00 AM) - Al

Common thread of the "key to ANA success"--They score a lot of runs because they make such good contact.

The funny thing about this is, it has been said so often the past couple weeks it is taken as fact by many casual fans. Well, when in doubt, let's compare some factual evidence, which many folks refuse to even mention.

FACT-- ANA struck out less than any team in MLB. They finished 4th in the AL in runs scored, and 5th in the AL in OPS.

FACT--In 2001, KC struck out less than any team in MLB, also by a large margin. They finished 10th in the AL in runs scored, and 12th in the AL in OPS.

Does making fewer outs by striking out make you a successful offensive team? Nope. As always, your best indicator of offensive production is improving your OBP and your SLG, or your ability to "not get out" and to hit for power. Trying to find shortcuts is not going to be effective. Pretending that not striking out is the reason ANA has had success is poor journalism and incorrect.


10/27/2002 10:08:00 AM



(10/27/2002 09:47:00 AM) - Al

Series ratings are down 25% from last year through Game 5. While some are blaming the near strike and questioning baseball's popularity, it occurs to me that it is simply a matter of regional interest and lack of big name teams.

The 2000 NY/NY Series also did very poorly, because outside of NY and the East, only serious fans were interested in the outcome. Ditto for '02. Also, these are the two wildcards, not even the best team in their divisions. No one expected them to be there, and they got little press during the long season.

I have seen a bit of every game, but haven't sat down to watch any from beginning to end. I'll watch the end of tonight's affair as well, but won't watch it all. I'm sure Game 7 will be very highly rated, though not as high as ARI/NY last year. Simply put, TV has so many choices every night, ratings will continue to slide for high profile events. The finale of MASH was watched by many more folks than the finale of Seinfeld, because of the vast options available a decade plus later.



10/27/2002 09:47:00 AM


Friday, October 25, 2002

(10/25/2002 03:49:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to say that I would be gone until today. Sorry. There will be a few posts this weekend and Monday, then I will be out of town from 10/29-11/10. FYI.


10/25/2002 03:49:00 PM


Sunday, October 20, 2002

(10/20/2002 11:49:00 AM) - Al

Wow, take a gander at SF's bench. It may be as bad as the Yankees '01 reserves, a distinction I never thought I'd see matched (at least Dusty doesn't have a C, LF, and 4 middle IF's like NY did). Tom Goodwin and Ramon Martinez are the top PH threats...really. What's funny is, as with NY, it likely won't make a bit of difference. In a short series, in an AB or two, Goodwin is just slightly less likely to "not get out" than a quality bat off the bench.

I'm still wondering why ANA chose to go with a guy that can't do anything but PR. The odds of the game being won by a step in the ONE time you can use Chone Figgins seems a poor use of a roster spot to me.


10/20/2002 11:49:00 AM


Saturday, October 19, 2002

(10/19/2002 12:10:00 PM) - Al

How shortsighted is it to allow planes to use the airspace above World Series stadiums? Absurd. We may have the shortest memory of any nation in all the world. Read the full story here.


10/19/2002 12:10:00 PM


Friday, October 18, 2002

(10/18/2002 10:05:00 PM) - Al

Only Baseball Matters previews the Series I'm having a difficult time getting excited over here.


10/18/2002 10:05:00 PM



(10/18/2002 12:34:00 PM) - Al

Turns out David Eckstein does have pretty good range, despite the fact it appears to me he plays much shallower than most SS's.

David Eckstein---.875 zone rating
Jose Hernandez-.883
Derek Jeter--------.803

I would have guessed DE's would be closer to Jeter's than the rangy Jose. I still question his ability to stay healthy over time, as he looks to have a very slight build, but he's a good one if he can stay healthy.


10/18/2002 12:34:00 PM



(10/18/2002 12:19:00 PM) - Al

MLB would like the Expos to play some home games on the road, Portland and Puerto Rico being mentioned. Not quite as good as my idea of making them The Road Warriors and playing all their games in cities that care, but it's a start.


10/18/2002 12:19:00 PM



(10/18/2002 11:40:00 AM) - Al

Looks like Ken Macha has been offered the Brewers' job. He has been my 1st choice for a long time, and I'm giddy. Now, Macha may decide to take another job for many reasons, but we made an offer to the best man, in my opinion.

Looks like we're done interviewing, I wonder who Mr. Melvin's "backup" choice is. Personally, I was happy to hear Ned Yost got an interview. Yost was a backup catcher who had a sliver more talent than myself. He is obviously a very intelligent man, and has coached for ATL for the past 12 years. He also had a nice post interview press conference, in which he stated he feels he is "the man for the job". I believe Yost was mentioned as a candidate in '99, but was never interviewed. I have to say, he's my 2nd choice, based on very little info.


10/18/2002 11:40:00 AM



(10/18/2002 11:00:00 AM) - Al

Every year, we see players get far more credit than they deserve because their teams win. Tony Womack is still a .300 OBP SS, despite the fact he got a key hit. Darin Erstad is getting a lot of love this year...why?

I wrote this back on 8/4:

Darin-----.292/.349/.435, 784 OPS
Ave CF--.268/.338/.429, 767 OPS

Baseball Reference is an excellent site for comparing players of different eras, so I punched in Erstad's name. The most similiar players include:


Shane Mack (.299/.364/.456, 820), Marty Cordova, Ivan Calderon, Matt Lawton, Chet Lemon, and Steve Kemp. Good solid, everyday ballplayers, but not a one I'd pay $8 mil per year for. It kinda bothers me that Shane Mack, a 4th OF/platoon guy, has comparable or better lifetime stats than Erstad has put forth in 5 of his 6 seasons.


He's still a mediocre CF, who just signed a $32 million contract. He's a nice player, but ANA overpaid by about $6 million per year.







10/18/2002 11:00:00 AM



(10/18/2002 10:52:00 AM) - Al

Thanks to those who gave me Wausau advice. I'll check out Sam's Pizza and Annie's next week. Back to the Crew and baseball.


10/18/2002 10:52:00 AM


Monday, October 14, 2002

(10/14/2002 11:58:00 AM) - Al

I'm without internet access until Thursday evening, see you then.


10/14/2002 11:58:00 AM


Sunday, October 13, 2002

(10/13/2002 03:42:00 PM) - Al

Notes as we try to find a house in Wausau.

Steve Lyons is, perhaps, the worst baseball color man in the history of mankind. In hell, every damn game is broadcast by a team of Lyons and Matt Vasgersian.

Peter Gammons hits home with the truth, stating that he's tired of hearing about the Twins having great fans, as they drew less than any >.500 team in the sport. Again, look for this to go unreported by major media. Facts have no place in the paper.

I've never seen Boston Public, but if the incessant promos are any indication, it is so in love with itself, it's unwatchable.

I'll have to look up the numbers, but David Eckstein must have the worst range of any SS in MLB. He looks to play a full couple steps shallower than anyone else, as he has a weak arm, so he has to catch the ball quicker to throw out the runner. It's difficult for me to believe he'll be a starter in 2005. He is very small, therefore injury prone. He seems to fire the ball as hard as he can every play, therefore prone to arm injury.

Is anyone else just extremely tired of seeing that #57 Kile jersey 25 times a game? I said at the time, it borders on the absurd and to consider it is now months later, I think mental health profesionals have to be shaking their heads at the inability to let go. I feel the tribute given Kile and Buck on the uniforms is a classy move. Having the uniform in the dugout is just really dark.

Anyone else shaking their heads at MIN's playing 4 LH bats every time they face a LH pitcher...and the way they simply cannot hit southpaws AT ALL? Bobby Kielty, he of the 900 OPS, doesn't play? Matt LeCroy and Bobby Kielty should be every team's top targets as they look to fleece the Twins this winter as MIN looks to improve their club while not adding salary, or maybe even cutting some.


10/13/2002 03:42:00 PM


Tuesday, October 08, 2002

(10/08/2002 09:20:00 PM) - Al

The posts may well be infrequent for quite a while, luckily, it's the slow time of year. We will be househunting as I will be starting a new job soon. Thanks for the patience, check back every few days.


10/08/2002 09:20:00 PM


Monday, October 07, 2002

(10/07/2002 10:36:00 AM) - Al

Had a bit of personal decision making to make over the weekend, sorry about the lack of posts. MIN/ANA in the AL? Can't say that has the appeal of NY/OAK. Where will Ken Macha end up, now that he has time to interview. He's still my top choice for MIL.


10/07/2002 10:36:00 AM


Friday, October 04, 2002

(10/04/2002 09:07:00 PM) - Al

From Derek Zumsteg over at BP:

The first game of the Oakland-Minnesota division series drew 34,853. 31,953 people were at the next one. That's not much over their season average of 27,000. What happened?

The A's, for reasons beyond me, have their playoff tickets priced higher than anyone in the majors. They're crazy: $50 for a field level seat, $35 for a bleacher seat. The Giants, the fricking paid-for-their-own-stadium Giants, charged $40 for their lower box seats, and $15 for bleacher seats. That's insane. The A's are a good team, but they play in a crappy football stadium, and $50 a stub is where the rational consumer weighs taking the wife to a series against buying DirecTV with TiVo and getting a fat channel package.

The A's ticket prices are so bad there are BP authors who live in the area but aren't going to the games. I wouldn't have thought it could happen, but it did. These subdued, low-capacity crowds in the Al Davis Reconfigurable Hole? It's nobody's fault but the A's. It's a disgrace. Teams shouldn't get national TV revenue for games they don't sell out.


Wow, the ignorance. All he's missing from the 60's is a cheap joint, unkept hair, and unemployment. The A's, and every other major league team, simply price their tiks to maximize revenue. Did OAK maybe overestimate what the public would pay? Maybe, but let's just compare something I learned in ECON 101:

34,000 tickets sold @ $40 average ticket price = $1.36 mil total gate
40,000@$30 = $1.2 mil
50,000@25 = $1.25 mil

While we will never know the exact point of the supply and demand curve peak, it looks like OAK probably came pretty close to it. Even being optimistic, and say they could have drawn 40K if the average ticket price would have been $35, that would have been $1.4 mil, barely enough to worry about. Since when did "selling out" become the only goal. Hell, you could accomplish that by charging $5 a ticket, if that's the only goal. This is nothing but weak second guessing. If Zumsteg wanted to be taken as any more than a geek with no financial knowledge, he'd have written the article when the ticket prices were announced, not now.

I'm going to see Jerry Seinfeld perform in Mpls later this month, and my wife and I paid over $60 a ticket for that. If there are a few empty seats, is the show a failure? Hardly. Springsteen charged $75 a pop earlier this week in St. Paul, he had 18K there, but no sellout. Looks like the A's "failed" just like many others, huh?

Teams shouldn't get TV revenue when they fail to sell out games? Possibly, the most ignorant thing ever written. Obviously, Derek is oblivious to the fact that OAK gets a very small percentage of the gate in Games 1 & 2 anyway, that most of the money is split between the player's union and MLB. So, clubs could actually lose money by making the playoffs...unless they sold the tickets for $1, to promise a sellout. Can you imagine a playoff team not getting TV revenue because of failing to sell 14 seats...but the Expos getting their money? We're talking about a very well respected website just printing whatever unthought out crap he writes one day. And if the BP columnists think (sigh) $70 is too much to pay to witness a playoff game of their favorite team, I hope they enjoy clipping coupons for rice-a-roni and sneaking in generic bottled water and store brand licorice to the movie theater's bargain matinee shows. The cheapest symphony ticket in Mpls in $40, and they get corporate support and tax dollars without an ounce of public scorn.

Please.


10/04/2002 09:07:00 PM


Thursday, October 03, 2002

(10/03/2002 06:44:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin has named his top candidates for the manager's position, though it may not be a "final" list.

Ken Macha
Willie Randolph
Bob Melvin
Buck Showalter


Also mentioned were Jerry Narron, who Doug hired in TEX, but Melvin seemed to go out of his way to indicate Narron is not at the top of the list; and Paul Molitor, who Melvin said he would be happy to interview "if interested". Supposedly, many folks think Paul is happy working a few weeks a year for MIN and spending time with his family.

Macha is by far my top choice, because if the bench coach for the A's doesn't understand the value of OBP, it may be a lost cause. Ken is by all accounts a top baseball man, and will likley have his choice of jobs this winter. The same goes for Buck, as he will probably be offered several posts. Randolph is a good man, but if I'm not mistaken, I don't think he's ever managed a game in his life. Considering how poorly Lopes and Royster ran pitching staffs and overvalued old, recycled overpaid crap, Willie isn't really at the top of my list, however unfair that may be. Bob Melvin was Phil Garner's bench coach in MIL, and is now Bob Brenly's in ARI. Brenly can't manage his way out of a paper bag, so that doesn't really inspire me, nor does the fact it'd be tough for my dog not to win division titles with Schilling and RJ as 40+% of your rotation. That said, I am not fans of Willie or Bob, due to nothing more than not knowing much about them.

I also really would enjoy seeing Paul Molitor take a shot. He has worked under Tom Kelly, an excellent strategist, and has always impressed me with his well spoken feelings whenever he's done a game on TV or talked to the announcers for a couple innings. I promise you, Paul, despite a lack of game experience, would plan out his pitching every day, knowing exactly how and when he intended to utilize each member of his bullpen.

Narron, well, he couldn't be as bad as Royster, despite his first name being the same. He didn't have much of a shot in TEX, and actually did a pretty decent job with a pitching poor team in Arlington.

Macha and Molitor are my picks, far and away ahead of the rest of the pack.



10/03/2002 06:44:00 PM



(10/03/2002 05:38:00 PM) - Al

I mentioned the success cycle, and BP was nice enough to provide a link today, which you can get to as well, just by clicking. It sums up what I've been harping on for some time, basically, if a player isn't going to take you to "the next level", which I think of as 90 wins, you need to look elsewhere. Every player should be looked at as a "stopgap" just playing the position until someone develops or is acquired, or a guy who is either talented enough or may well develop into a solid player.

Paying good money to below average talent like Eric Young is hellishly stupid, and accomplishes nothing. Is EY a terrible player? Not at all, but mediocrity (or a bit below) is plentiful and cheap. In fact, look around for a Marcos Scutaro/Keith Ginter type, a solid AAA player who may develop into an average everyday player. Or, how about a Frank Menechino type, a guy who was decent in '01, got off to a slow start in '02, and was given up on by a contending team who had several other options.

Ken Rosenthal also checks in with his feelings on the Crew. My favorite paragraph:

The Twins and A's never give big money to marginal free agents like Jose Hernandez, Jeffrey Hammonds or Eric Young, three players who cost the Brewers a combined $36 million. Melvin says the days of such pointless spending are over and that the team no longer will use its lack of resources as an excuse.

What's sad is, Hernandez was an all-star, Hammonds is a very good CF if healthy, and as I said, EY certainly isn't a poor player. But, this is what you're paying $36 million for?

Melvin calls it "baseball imagination", Sal Bando called it "catching lightning in a bottle"; I refer to it as keeping an open mind, and mainly, looking at what a player CAN do, rather than what his weaknesses are. Look for guys who have had success, but have not received much of an opportunity in the majors.



10/03/2002 05:38:00 PM


Wednesday, October 02, 2002

(10/02/2002 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Note to FOX: I could give a rat's ass how David Eckstein (or anyone else for that matter) decides to warm up in the on-deck circle. Showing it once was rather immature, since it has no influence on the game. Showing it every time has to be borderline insane.



10/02/2002 10:01:00 PM



(10/02/2002 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Proof how minimal the difference is between waiver wire fodder and a solid utility IF is...Benji Gil is playing 2B for the Angels tonight.

Some would say Gil is of minor league FA stature, some would say he's a "veteran who's been there, has good clubhouse skills, is scrappy and gritty".

No offense to Gil, but I'd rather have one of countless reserves that can actually hit the damn ball.

And it was kinda funny watching Darin "$8 mil a year" Erstad play a bloop single into a double, allowing slow-footed Nick Johnson to score from 1B on a pop-up hit about 180 feet to short CF. Luckily, you've got that mediocre CF signed through 2006, Angels fans. Is his OPS up to 700 yet?


10/02/2002 09:56:00 PM



(10/02/2002 01:08:00 PM) - Al

I am a member of the Church of OPS (or OXS, a slight offshoot of the same beliefs:). Due to the fact that the simple formula {AB x OBP x SLG = estimated runs scored} has been over 98% accurate in both years of the new millenium, I am a full blown disciple of the value of OPS. I do not care about strikeouts, stolen bases, hitting the ball behind the runner, etc, and so forth. I am a believer in getting on base (the key is "not getting out"), and hitting for power. So, as I do every year, soon after the season ends, I sit down to do the math, as this info isn't readily available. Ready?

AB's: 165,582
H's: 43,006
BB's: 17,882
XB's: 25,568

BA---.260
OBP-.332
SLG-.414

{165582 x .332 x .414 = 22,759 estimated runs}

22,398 actual runs scored

22398/22759 = 98.4% accurate

Frickin' amazing. Of course, it is slightly less accurate if used on a team level (I've seen as low as 90%), as any statistic is less accurate with the smaller sample size. But, if someone told me there was one number (OXS) that would be 98% accurate (or slightly less on a team level) in predicting offensive production, you can talk 'til your blue in the face about BA, veteran leadership, crap, crap, crap. I'd simply concentrate on improving that one number, which to be picky, is a combination of two stats, OBP and SLG. Everything else is a waste of time.


10/02/2002 01:08:00 PM



(10/02/2002 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Royster, gone as of this morning. Good riddance.

Jesus Christ likely wouldn't have managed the Crew to more than a couple more wins, but JC would have had the common sense to not piss away playing time on the likes of Lenny Harris and Jorge Fabregas.

Favorites seem to be ARI bench coach Bob Melvin, Jerry Narron, and Buck Showalter. I would prefer OAK bench coach Ken Macha or Paul Molitor, both absent from the talk surrounding the '03 Brewers' manager. It will be nice not leadign the league in intentional walks, and being near the top in sacrifices.


10/02/2002 12:46:00 PM


Tuesday, October 01, 2002

(10/01/2002 10:28:00 PM) - Al

Daniel Stern...I mean Ben Weber is pitching for ANA. What a goofball. If you've never seen him pitch, imagine Stern constipated after being kicked in the groin.

Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, I wonder who likes the sound of their own voice more?

Joe: Minnesota shouldn't give up, they need to keep trying.

That was in the THIRD inning today. My kingdom for a clue.

Tim: Now's a good time for a pitchout.

Now's even a better time to concentrate on getting Derek Jeter out, rather than putting the go ahead run on base, which is exactly what ANA just did.


10/01/2002 10:28:00 PM



(10/01/2002 10:19:00 PM) - Al

Am I the only one wondering why Jerry Royster hasn't joined the ranks of the unemployed? Doug Melvin met with him Monday, and it seems to me 90 minutes is plenty of time to say "We've decided to go in another direction". I saw one person think Jerry will not be fired but his "interim" title will simply be allowed to expire...is there perhaps a "penalty" clause in his deal that pays him $X if fired before X? That makes as much sense as anything, but the idea of Jerry and Dave Collins, the OF coach who wasn't able to take the great speed of Alex Sanchez and make him even mediocre, and who insisted that we were one Eric Young away from contention (Man, you add a 34 year-old with declining skills and always below average defense, it's the playoffs, man) not being fired the second the plane wheels hit Milwaukee runway confuses me.


10/01/2002 10:19:00 PM


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