Al's Ramblings

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

(12/31/2008 11:49:00 PM) - Al

Ann discusses what "candyasses" they are to be cold at 19 degrees, and has notes about the CNN broadcast. I wish I had known Kathy Griffith was on, she's always humorous.

Ann also notes that Times Square is empty 45 minutes after the ball dropped. I just is. CNN does have sound problems, no one can hear each other.

12/31/2008 11:49:00 PM

(12/31/2008 11:25:00 PM) - Al

Cubs acquired RHP Jeff Stevens, RHP Chris Archer and LHP John Gaub from the Indians for infielder Mark DeRosa.

Contrary to what sportswriters and broadcasters would have you believe, DeRosa obviously isn't perceived as being especially valuable, even after his career season. Stevens is the best prospect of this group. He was supposed to be Team USA's closer in the Olympics, but he was bumped from the role after blowing his first chance. The 25-year-old has subpar command of pretty good stuff. He may yet turn into a setup man, but he shouldn't figure into the Cubs' plans for the beginning of 2009. Archer, 20, was a fifth-rounder in 2006. He has a power arm that may fit in the pen, but he has a lot to overcome after walking 84 in 115 1/3 innings in low-A ball. Gaub is another relief possibility. Unlike Archer, he might be a candidate to jump to Double-A next year.--Rotoworld

The Rambling brother asked what type of prospects the Cubs got, I've seen reports say none were top 20, though Stevens is almost certain to get a cup of coffee, and may end up being a decent middle man. The other guys are in the low minors and are already being spoken of as bullpen material, so their ceiling is low.

Not a pure salary dump, but not far from it either.

12/31/2008 11:25:00 PM

(12/31/2008 11:06:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling son wanted to stay up until midnight, but conked out just before 9, while watching the Sponge Bob movie. My wife suggested we wake him and celebrate the New York midnight, so at 10:45, we carried him upstairs, and he sat and watched the Times Square festivities, which included wimps complaining how cold it was (+20, can you believe it?), one of the Jonas Brothers, despite being a handsome guy, looking ridiculous in a hat (when will men ever learn?) and myself wondering how you can stand outside for 8 hours without having to pee.

After the ball dropped, he rubbed his eyes, went to the bathroom, and was asleep before 11:02. The Rambling wife then went to a neighbor's house, because she is not nearly as antisocial (though I prefer the term "private") as myself.

12/31/2008 11:06:00 PM

(12/31/2008 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Stores reported a clear rise in the popularity of piggy banks.

"We have been selling coin banks really well," said Laura Kellner at Kikkerland Design Inc. in New York City, whose stylish chrome pig is priced at $31.--Reuters

Lost in the attempt to say people are trying to push saving? The idea of paying $31 for a piggy bank is all but lost.

Of course, in NYC, the price is not that bad, considering a studio apartment rents for $3K.

12/31/2008 09:26:00 PM

(12/31/2008 09:21:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings thanks you for the most visits ever in a month, even though December is full of holidays and days off work. Thank you for your continued patronage, and we'll see you in 2009.

12/31/2008 09:21:00 PM

(12/31/2008 08:03:00 PM) - Al

Twins' beat writer wonders why the Twins did not go after DeRosa.

I read enough Gleeman to know he's plenty comfortable with their proposed 3B platoon, and DeRosa is probably a negative value at 3B, as he has barely played there. Add that to the fact the Cubs dumped him because they did not feel he was worth the money, this looks like a case of casual fans screaming with the organization to add a piece of expensive mediocrity.

12/31/2008 08:03:00 PM

(12/31/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Doug is on a cruise, sounds like Fuentes had no interest in MIL from the get go.

As for closers, Trevor Hoffman, Brandon Lyon, and Juan Cruz are all still out there, and I would not have a problem with any of them, or for that matter, going with an in-house option like Riske or Carlos V (Doug has mentioned CV a few times, so I would say he'd be the guy). All 3 of the FA's have warts, but they all are steady big league relievers. Lyon and Cruz are both under 30, but Hoffman is a Hall of Famer.

Closing is an not an inherited skill, as proven by almost every closer the Crew has had other than Cordero in the past decade. I'm far more concerned about adding SP depth than adding 70 innings of decent relief...and that seems to be Doug's feeling.

12/31/2008 07:11:00 PM

(12/31/2008 06:09:00 PM) - Al

Now everyone's a contrarian.

12/31/2008 06:09:00 PM

(12/31/2008 06:01:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs explains the rule of 10...10 runs equals one win.

12/31/2008 06:01:00 PM

(12/31/2008 02:27:00 PM) - Al

It must be impossible to watch the Badgers' basketball team and not see Tim Jarmusz as the heir apparent to Joe Krabbenhoft as a guy who just does everything well, though maybe nothing at a top level.

12/31/2008 02:27:00 PM

(12/31/2008 02:14:00 PM) - Al

I read the link on the decline in percentage of MLB income going to the players and thought I would float my theory.

1. MLB GM's are finally getting smart and not paying the outrageous contracts for mid-level free agents. Suppanesque deals. I know Suppan got market value at the time. The tops guys still seem to be getting their money.

2.The current trend of locking up up young players very early in their careers for what amounts to below market value in their free agent years.

3. Owner in Florida drastically cutting payroll and pocketing money.

4. For all the complaints of the Yankees spending like crazy they and other "big market" teams are cutting back spending.

1 and 2 may be too recent to have much effect yet. Both, in my opinion, are just good business decisions.


The Marlins way to build may well prove to be the way to do it...I can't argue with two titles, especially with the fanbase as full of apathy as they are in South Florida, they can't just have a payroll of $75M with attendance of 1.2M folks.

I would say another reason is that most teams are numbers oriented these days...Theo Epstein rarely signs a player past 36 for example. Doug will happily take a risk on a one year deal, but not 2-3. Add up all those little things, you'll see a 5-10% reduction in salary.

12/31/2008 02:14:00 PM

(12/31/2008 02:06:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al-

I read this in Forbes over the weekend and thought you’d get a chuckle out of it:

The Times of India reports that the country is facing a growing shortage of vitamin C. the reason? The Indian government imposed price controls on the vitamin in an effort to make it more affordable. But pharmaceutical companies making vitamin C tablets have seen the cost of the raw ingredients soar by 300% or more. That means it’s costing the companies more to make the tablets than they can charge for them. So they’ve quit making them. While that vitamin C shortage may not affect the U.S. , the economic policy behind it could. Democrats in Congress think price controls will lower the cost of prescription drugs here. But the only thing price controls lower is your chance of getting a product you need.

I blame the speculators, personally.

Have a great day and New Year!

Jason C

Who would have ever guessed that controlling one half of the equation (price, not cost) would lead to awkward market conditions?

12/31/2008 02:06:00 PM

(12/31/2008 12:50:00 PM) - Al

Angels sign Fuentes, 2y/$17.5M...far less than one would have guessed. It seems apparent Brian took a hometown discount, which is his right, of course. If it was only about money, I'm sure many teams would have went higher.

12/31/2008 12:50:00 PM

(12/31/2008 12:26:00 PM) - Al

I have spoken before of how nice it is to have Netflix, especially to watch films you are unsure if you'll like or not, "for free". I just finished watching Expelled after it came in the mail this AM, and while I am a huge Ben Stein fan, was not sure if I'd enjoy it or not, as the subject matter, intelligent design, is far from "light".

While I enjoy my standing as a contrarian and a skeptic, both sides of this debate seem a bit too sure of themselves for me, when one considers that the "facts" are either nonexistent or extremely fuzzy. I make no bones about it that I have no clue what the truth is. In fact, one of the best responses I've heard on this is what Harold Ford Jr. said, when asked if he believed in evolution on Bill Maher's show, "I do, but I also believe God played a role".

However, it sure is difficult to not come away with a greater like for Stein, who is intelligent, funny (yet very dry), and does not stray from the facts even though he makes no attempt to pretend he is unbiased.

12/31/2008 12:26:00 PM

(12/31/2008 11:55:00 AM) - Al

The Cubs sign Aaron Miles, 2y/$4.9M. If he can play SS at a decent level in the bigs, it's about what a top of the line utility IF gets, as his career numbers are similar to Craig Counsell's. However, if he cannot, he's an overpaid backup 2B who might take time away from the very good Mike Fontenot (I never noticed Mike spent 3.5 years wasting away at AAA, and is now 29...he would have been a perfect example of a guy to steal away before he broke out LY).

The Cubs are said to be close to dealing Mark DeRosa to the Tribe for prospects, which may reopen the Jake Peavy trade talks.

If they end up signing Milton Bradley and trading for Peavy, their first string looks very good, though they seem to have little depth, except for Miles of course. That said, you only have to worry about that if and when injuries occur.

12/31/2008 11:55:00 AM

(12/31/2008 09:49:00 AM) - Al

Dan Haren said Tuesday that he'll likely turn down an invite to pitch for Mexico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Haren, whose mother is Mexican, said that he'd likely also turn down a chance to pitch for the United States if asked. "Right now I don't think I'm going to play," Haren said. "I told them that if something changes, I'll give them a call back. But I don't really plan on giving them a call back. If I were to play, I don't know who I would play for. Mexico would be kind of intriguing. It would be an interesting plane flight and bus ride, seeing as how I don't speak Spanish."--Rotoworld

I guess I'm really missing something here, but why these players, eligible only because of where their ancestors were born, even consider this is beyond me. ARod, who is as American as me, playing for the Dominican Republic? I wonder if he's ever spent a day there, and with kidnapping being a huge business in Latin America, I can't believe he will anytime soon.


12/31/2008 09:49:00 AM

(12/31/2008 09:32:00 AM) - Al

On Monday, we took the Rambling son to the walk-in clinic, as he had been tired and listless (and grumpy) the past couple days. They diagnosed a viral infection, as his quick strep test came back negative.

He has been feeling better since, but still did not seem himself. This AM, the clinic called...the regular strep test came back positive, so he has been prescribed his daddy's favorite, Amoxicillin, the pink nectar of the gods, which I still get to this day if I have an ear or tonsil infection.

We felt silly taking him in Monday, but decided to just in case he had something that he needed an antibiotic for something, so he could knock it out this week before school starts again. The real irony is he insists his throat is not sore. I guess the old saying holds true, you know your child better than anyone else.

Sadly, we all know of people who abuse the privilege, asking for tests that are costly and unnecessary (and free to them, as insurance pays in full for many), and those who take their child to the doc every time they eat too much pie. Honestly, that just seems to be a problem that we're likely to never conquer, as the richest nation on the planet. When even the lowest economic class has 75 TV channels and air conditioning, it's tough to convince many to wait 24-48 hours to see if it passes naturally.

12/31/2008 09:32:00 AM

(12/31/2008 08:44:00 AM) - Al

The Badgers play at 1PM I just told the Rambling wife, I guess it's a holiday in someone's eyes.

12/31/2008 08:44:00 AM

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

(12/30/2008 11:42:00 PM) - Al

Google is highlighting a book called Safe at Home, which may interest many of you that love history and baseball. Unless you have special features that block out ads, you can see it above...otherwise, you might want to do a search for Rich Dodster, who is the author.

12/30/2008 11:42:00 PM

(12/30/2008 10:27:00 PM) - Al

Frank e-mails in pics of Erin Andrews. Thanks Frank, and Happy 2009 from our heterosexual male readers.

12/30/2008 10:27:00 PM

(12/30/2008 10:09:00 PM) - Al

Shanahan let go, despite his history as a proven winner, as is Eric Mangini, who guided his team to a 9-7 mark despite the team signing Favre and letting a better QB go to the Dolphins.

Hired to be fired.

Bill Cowher gets mentioned for every available job, and to me, there is no better position that Detroit...Miami improved 10 games, they will have an easy schedule, and the division will have no dominant team.

12/30/2008 10:09:00 PM

(12/30/2008 08:13:00 PM) - Al

Jason Marquis is being dumped by the Cubs, supposedly, Milton Bradley soon to be signed.

I like Marquis, for the $5M salary difference especially. The Cubs have a nice top 4, likely the best in the league, but I would not have minded having Marquis as #5 or as them, the money is not as big a deal.

He's had a 4.60 or lower ERA in 4 out of the last 5 years...not sure why they felt $9M was too much, actually.

12/30/2008 08:13:00 PM

(12/30/2008 05:59:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs has been defining replacement players of late, and promises to answer my question as to how they come up with $5M a that would lead to a $200M payroll for a contender...unaffordable for most.

12/30/2008 05:59:00 PM

(12/30/2008 05:45:00 PM) - Al

A couple personal thoughts:

Last night, our smoke alarm just outside our bedrooms started chirping. As has been the case every single time we have changed it, it began making noise in the middle of the night, this time at 4:50AM. The really sad thing is, our alarm is hard wired into the electrical, meaning the battery only takes effect when the power is out. Luckily, it did not wake up the Rambling son, who is suffering from a viral infection, suffering from a fever and all around tiredness. However, it freaked out the Rambling dog, who was still shaking next to me at 5:30, and never did go back to his own bed.

Today, the Rambling wife and I had to decide whether or not to pay our property taxes, or wait until 2009. I found an online calculator, and upon doing the math, felt it not worthwhile to do so, so we'll wait, hoping we get more "bang for our buck". However, when I double checked, suddenly there was a $3-4K difference...seems I missed entering in our dependents the second time.

Turns out, the little fella does have some benefit after all...:)

12/30/2008 05:45:00 PM

(12/30/2008 04:06:00 PM) - Al

I know of many who do not work a traditional job...and it really isn't even that difficult. The problem you run into is you either have to be single or have your partner agree to life the same lifestyle...

Heck, I took the week off between Xmas and New Year's, and I made the mistake of checking work e-mail today...make sure this is done before the 1st! Heh.

12/30/2008 04:06:00 PM

(12/30/2008 03:02:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers did the best in MLB in "dramatic" games.

I'd go int more detail, but the math gave me a headache.

12/30/2008 03:02:00 PM

(12/30/2008 09:33:00 AM) - Al


Couple of things spring to mind after clicking through your link to how the purely business side of things are going for the Brewers:

1. I can vouch for how it's a great incentive to commit to 4-packs, 9-packs or more to get better seats. A couple friends of mine have 20-packs, and the Brewers ticket office has bent over backwards to accommodate them. If something comes up and they can't attend a game or they need something done for them to get to a game, the team has been there for them. As for myself, just at the bottom end of the scale with my annual 4-packs, I would much rather take my access to affordable, field-level seats four months before the season starts than try to roll the dice on a per-game basis. The team makes it really easy to jump in at a comfortable price level across a wide spectrum of choices. It sounds so simple. Must be why it works for them.

2. On the other end of things, I thought of your retail observations on the blog with a Christmas gift problem I had with the online MLB store. I splurged for myself for Christmas by getting a Ryan Braun jersey but it's a tad tight. The label must have been, ahem, misprinted. Anyway, doesn't have an exchange policy, and the jersey was bought during a limited sale. So now, if I still want the jersey, I have to ship it back to the warehouse, at my cost, receive a credit and then spend an extra $50 at to "re-buy" the jersey at its regular, non-sale price. Does that sound crazy to you, or is it just me?

Meanwhile, the Brewers included a 20 percent off Miller Park Fan Zone coupon with my 4-pack purchase. I can get my money back by returning the jersey, drive 10 minutes to Miller Park and just use the coupon to get the jersey directly from the Brewers. In the end, it'd cost about $10 more than when I bought it on sale, but the Brewers would end up with the money instead of the league. Should Attanasio be the commissioner – or at least merchandising director for MLB?

As always, read the blog every single day. Keep up the good work.

Jim sounds like they do not believe in taking care of their customers. Sadly, you still run into these places...but usually, not for long. Mark A does a fine job maximizing what he has purchased, that's for sure.

12/30/2008 09:33:00 AM

Monday, December 29, 2008

(12/29/2008 11:58:00 PM) - Al

There was nothing on TV last night, so I watched a Netflix movie I had, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Oof. I might have chuckled twice. I'm a "friendly" reviewer, and it was just horrible.

12/29/2008 11:58:00 PM

(12/29/2008 11:33:00 PM) - Al

Palin remains popular, finishing behind Hillary and prompting People to pay an estimated $300K for baby pics.

12/29/2008 11:33:00 PM

(12/29/2008 10:50:00 PM) - Al

Season ticket sales look to be up, and the business side of the Crew looks solid, per Rick S and this JS piece. Sounds like the "put a deposit down for '09 and get playoff tickets in '08" worked exactly as planned.

12/29/2008 10:50:00 PM

(12/29/2008 10:43:00 PM) - Al

If the Red Sox could pick up Hanley Ramirez, that's a much bigger acquisition than Texeira, as Hanley is worth more than an average SS than MT is an average 1B.

For being untouchable, it's funny how often Ellsbury's name comes up in rumors. I still would have dealt Santana for Jacob and a pitcher if I was the Twins.

12/29/2008 10:43:00 PM

(12/29/2008 08:12:00 PM) - Al

Maybe she doesn't have a real job because she can't get gthrough a job interview without saying "you know" 138 times.

Just a thought.

12/29/2008 08:12:00 PM

(12/29/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

LA might look to eat $20M of Andruw Jones salary in order to move him.

12/29/2008 07:12:00 PM

(12/29/2008 02:55:00 PM) - Al

Now that's far left...Kucinich criticizes Israel for defending themselves.

Obama/Reid/Pelosi are all on the same page, mind you, completely ok with Israel's actions.


12/29/2008 02:55:00 PM

(12/29/2008 02:16:00 PM) - Al

I just had a vision of Adam Dunn and Manny Ramirez in the same OF...the horror.

Seriously, it looks like LA is considering one or the other, which would effectively eliminate Manny's only suitor. Maybe a team like SEA or BAL, big markets struggling currently, would swoop in and make an offer.

Actually, if BAL moves Aubrey Huff to 1B and pencils in Manny as their DH, I could see them scoring more runs than the Yankees.

EDIT: Guess that isn't much of a reach, the Yankees scored 7 more runs than the O's did in '08, but granted, Teixeria is a nice addition.

12/29/2008 02:16:00 PM

(12/29/2008 02:09:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure this is a contest you really want to win.

Turnbow is so inconsistent, it's hard to believe he throws RH. He's the epitome of "you can't teach velocity", as if he threw 88 instead of 98, no one would even return his calls.

12/29/2008 02:09:00 PM

(12/29/2008 01:54:00 PM) - Al

The truth is, we are overbooked, just like we are overcared (what percentage of cars sit on lots...20%?). I, like most people, own far too many books, though most of mine were purchased from a book clearance center which put up shop in Eau Claire for a few months. They started at 50% off the cover, and every couple weeks, would go down. When it finally hit 90%, no book was more than $2.50, and you didn't think they could go any lower, so I stopped in 2-3 times (they were still getting more in). Finally, one day someone at work said all paperbacks were 25 cents and hardcovers $1. I stopped in after work, and there was hardly anything left, literally just a few books on each table (they had banquet tables set up through the whole store, with boxes underneath). Still, I found a few biographies and bought a couple Dick Francis mysteries (still have never read a single book of his).

I got one really nice book for Xmas, a compilation of 3 George Carlin volumes, all combined into a heavy, weeklong stuck in bed version. I have one book I found at a used store in Eau Claire, a gorgeous blue leather cover of Mark Twain's works. Add those to a couple dozen others, you could easily eliminate the other 250-500 I have and I'd never even notice.

12/29/2008 01:54:00 PM

(12/29/2008 01:36:00 PM) - Al

South Carolina gas at 91 cents a gallon.

Me, I blame speculators.

12/29/2008 01:36:00 PM

(12/29/2008 01:09:00 PM) - Al

Oregon = a taxing machine.

How exactly this is different than just raising the gas tax would have to be explained to me. And when you consider the gas tax is one of the most regressive of all taxes, they look as lost as I would expect OR to look on the subject of spending and taxation.

12/29/2008 01:09:00 PM

(12/29/2008 12:53:00 PM) - Al

Wouldn't you think Oprah would have a whole bunch of fact checkers sitting in cubicles? There's an Obama joke in there somewhere, but since the President elect now appears to be just barely more to the left than Senator McCain, I don't have the energy to bother with it.

12/29/2008 12:53:00 PM

(12/29/2008 12:39:00 PM) - Al

Transaction Oracle posts that payroll has not gone up as much as revenue in MLB. If that is the case, I really can't disagree with his conclusion.

12/29/2008 12:39:00 PM

(12/29/2008 11:44:00 AM) - Al

As long as we're on the subject of 2009 roster construction, I keep saying the Crew needs to add depth, and I keep seeing message boards full of people saying they need a #1 or #2 guy...who's right? Well, like I'm going to admit otherwise.

I just thought I'd punch up the 2009 projections for our 5 projected rotation members (if the season began today, which of course, would be confusing, strange, and very cold), and see where it ends up.




That would have been good for 7th in the NL, of 16 teams, by the way. Considering the offense was also 7th, it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that 7th and 7th would likely lead to about 85 victories.

Ignoring the fact that the '08 version led the NL in IP, with an average of 6.07 innings per start (that's why the buffoons who consider a 6 inning start a short outing have no idea), that would be 0.38 runs per 9 innings, or .26 runs in an "average" start. Multiply that by 162, and the result is that you can estimate the team is 41.5 runs weaker than LY. I would probably say a more realistic number is 50-55, as of the current top 5, no one is an "innings eater" other than Suppan, who is the worst of the lot in projected ERA. However, when you look at the doom and gloom scenarios, seeing a drop off of "only" 4-6 wins is probably a surprise to many Ramblings' readers. However, a couple things should be noted:

1. The odds of the Crew needing only 5 SP's in '09 is extremely slim.

2. Take 6 wins away from LY's version, the team wins 84 games...not a playoff team, but still respectable, and still, with some offensive improvements, easy to imagine a few more wins making them a contender.

One problem is that Sabathia's contribution, while immense, was probably 3-4 the charts for a pitcher only with the team for half a season. Yet, as is nearly always the case, people forget that CC won several games with a superlative effort that also would have been won with a mediocre performance. He also lost a few games that another pitcher may have won. Doug Melvin, once again showing his genius, said it best when he stated that "you just can't replace Sabathia". While a pitcher will be starting every game, they are not going to put up a sub 2 ERA. Just imagine a solid veteran arm being brought in next July, and he goes 7-4 with a 3.50 ERA...and being proclaimed a massive disappointment by the casual talk radio sect.

However, once again, allow me to say this group needs at least one more member, and probably two, the second being either a prospect ready to begin '09 in AAA, or a veteran like Jon Lieber, able to pitch in as a starter if necessary, but will hopefully be used to solidify the bullpen (or, even better, willing to go to Nashville to stay stretched out). Simply put, even with Capuano, and the possibility of a July addition, a team goes through 8-9 starters over six months.

Right now, the difference between Yo and the #6 SP might be 40 runs (3.6 ERA for Yo, 5.50 ERA for a replacement level guy, 32 starts x 1.9 = 60.8 runs / 9 = 6.75 x 6 innings per start = 40.5)...that's a dropoff no team can withstand.

Simply put, that's why the addition of a Braden Looper or that type of SP is necessary. Depth is needed, as hope is not a sound strategy.

12/29/2008 11:44:00 AM

(12/29/2008 11:30:00 AM) - Al

Another NL Central owner wishes there was a salary cap.

12/29/2008 11:30:00 AM

(12/29/2008 11:09:00 AM) - Al


I know you like to rib proponents of the global warming theory (and perhaps many of those people deserve it), but I find it interesting that you link to the article about natural disasters killing an all-time high this year. I’m in your boat – I know nothing about the planet’s long term weather patterns, and many of the scientists studying the matter seem to know just as much.

Still, those who claim global warming as a problem point not to a generally warmer temperature (as many people believe…the term is a borderline misnomer because of this misconception), but more extreme weather patterns. A major body count from natural disasters would seem to support global warming.

On a FAR more important front, I’m feeling more and more like Ben Sheets could be back. His lack of open market attention has been surprising, to put it mildly, and if his market value really has fallen, that would seem to make the Brewers a suitable fit. It boggles my mind that so many fans seem averted to what Sheets could do for the Brewers. Sure he has injury concerns – but he had injury concerns heading into last year, when he started the All-Star game and fell just short of 200 innings. The timing of his latest ailment is what has people ignoring how crucial he could be. Few remaining free agents are free of warts, and I think/hope Doug Melvin will come back to Sheets in his offseason hunt. Is there such a thing as a 2-year deal that’s cheap enough for the club to handle?

I don’t have a shred of inside info on the subject matter, but I think the longer Sheets remains a free agent (and a free agent barely getting mentioned in rumors), the better chance he is to returning.


I think natural disasters hitting more populated areas are what lead to the higher death counts, not more storms or worse storms. Galveston actually had one of the worst hurricanes on record, back in the late 1800's or the early 1900's. Of course, if that would have hit in an area where no one lived (what's that old question, if a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make noise?), that hurricane would not still be discussed a century later.

I was actually just thinking this about Sheets the other day. I don't think he'll end up in MIL, but as JR stated, the longer he's available, and the longer the Crew goes without signing someone for the rotation, the match is unavoidable. Also, it seems tough to imagine Sheets not regretting he turned down arby, where he would have pitched in familiar surroundings and made $14M or is easy to imagine signing for $8-11M and going back out on the FA market again next year.

As I've pointed out several times to deaf ears, Ben's record of health is better than AJ Burnett's, and hardly any of Ben's nicks have been related to his pitching arm. I would have predicted Ben would get 3y/$50M a couple months ago, or 2y/$35M with a vesting option. No way he ends up near that, I'm afraid.

12/29/2008 11:09:00 AM

(12/29/2008 11:05:00 AM) - Al

OBP is pretty much all MLB teams look at these days, but some broadcasters still don't get it.

Hat tip to BCB.

12/29/2008 11:05:00 AM

(12/29/2008 10:21:00 AM) - Al

One thing I've been curious about is if the Brewers would have either traded Cameron, or simply not picked up his option, Doug admitted to having interest in Adam Dunn, with Corey Hart moving over to play CF (and I assume Braun would have moved to RF, as Dunn would have been horrible). Obviously, this would have made the offense better, but it would have weakened the defense. So, would it have been enough to help the team overall?

First of all, we have to assign defensive numbers, most of which is just guesswork.

Braun was very good for a first year defender in LF last year, and figures to improve in '09. If he were to switch corners, it makes sense he would not be as comfortable. I am going to say he would be +10 if he stays in LF, +5 if he were moved to RF.

Cameron is a very good defensive CF. I'm going to be conservative and say he's +10 in CF, as he will be older.

Hart is a good RF, athletic and solid. I have him +10 in RF, but is likely to be 0, break-even, in CF.

Dunn is a very bad OF. I don't want to think how bad he'd be in RF, but I think he is -15 even in LF.

Now, let's not forget they are being compared to "average" defenders. Cameron is far superior as an OF, but the average CF is better than the average LF/RF as well.

Let's glance at the two alignments:

Dunn: -15
Hart: 0
Braun: 5

Total: -10

Braun: 10
Cameron: 10
Hart: 10

Total: 30

Jeepers. Weaken every position in the OF, and it makes quite a difference, huh? Using the rule of 10, those 40 runs allowed equals 4 fewer wins...or more realistically, it's 40 more runs the offense would have to score just to break even. So, would Dunn have made that big of a difference at the plate?

Ignoring that Corey and Ryan are not machines, I will assume the defensive transition would leave them producing identical numbers, we only need to contrast Dunn with Cameron. I will combine Bill James and Marcel's 2009 projections:

Dunn-----.380/.512, 912 OPS, 195 OXS, 117 simple runs created
Cameron--.327/.435, 762 OPS, 142 OXS, 85 src

While 32 runs is a huge amount, it is not as large as the estimated hit to the defense. I also have an issue with the projection systems treating Mike's 2008 SLG as an outlier...he finally played half his home games in a HR park, after years in Safeco and Shea. I'd bump his SLG up about 20-30 points (it was .477 in '08), which would push up his runs created by 5 runs or so.

Unless you could have brought in Dunn at a discount to the $10M Cameron is getting (not bloody likely), it does not look like that would have helped the team in '09.

12/29/2008 10:21:00 AM

(12/29/2008 10:15:00 AM) - Al

Post number 11,000.

Now I wish I had something worth saying.

12/29/2008 10:15:00 AM

(12/29/2008 09:56:00 AM) - Al

This is why I just can't feign guilt or anger over hurricanes in Galveston or Nawlins. Trying to pretend being without electricity is some sort of tragic event just doesn't cut it when in real devastation, 220K are killed...including 125K in a cyclone I can honestly say I didn't even hear about.

12/29/2008 09:56:00 AM

(12/29/2008 09:52:00 AM) - Al

To be honest, the networks stopped covering Iraq as soon as it became apparent the surge was working. Not that they have an agenda...

12/29/2008 09:52:00 AM

(12/29/2008 08:33:00 AM) - Al

Even $3M doesn't keep people from despising Roger Clemens.

12/29/2008 08:33:00 AM

(12/29/2008 12:26:00 AM) - Al

Fangraphs is also impressed with what the Giants have done. In a weak NL West, they may just be a bat away from contention, depending on how much Renteria and Rowland have left in the tank.

12/29/2008 12:26:00 AM

Sunday, December 28, 2008

(12/28/2008 10:42:00 PM) - Al

There's an O'Henry story here somewhere...

12/28/2008 10:42:00 PM

(12/28/2008 09:24:00 PM) - Al

I would have loved to have signed Brad Penny to a 1y/$3M deal with incentives. We'll see what the terms are, but Theo signing him makes me feel pretty good about my opinion.

UPDATE: BOS reportedly is giving him $5M with $3M in incentives. That's a risk that is a lot easier for a team like the Red Sox to take, no doubt about it.

12/28/2008 09:24:00 PM

(12/28/2008 05:58:00 PM) - Al

Cincy signs Taveras to a 2 year deal, which bumps Dickerson to the bench, in all likelihood.

How teams can look at a 668 OPS and feel they are helping the team is beyond me. Willy and Juan Pierre are nice reserves, but since they run fast, keep getting misused.

That's a shame.

12/28/2008 05:58:00 PM

(12/28/2008 05:49:00 PM) - Al

Tedd Rall is of course, quite possibly the most ignorant human being in the universe (how exactly he has a job is beyond me, but of course, as long as a convicted child molester keeps being asked to direct films, I guess nothing surprises me)...but his contempt for freedom is truly off-the-charts...he seems to honestly feel that if US troops left Iraq en mass, the citizens would just hold hands, sing folk songs, and life would be utopian.

Glenn has been predicting the Obama policy shift for several months, and he has been spot on. He went from a far left lib to a left of center moderate in the blink of an eye after securing the nomination, and the media fawned, drooled, and refused to print this nugget of fact, or ask why. The fact an idiot like Rall is unhappy (I'd call him a scumbag, but I wouldn't want to offend bags of scum, thanks Mr. Miller) can only be good for the country, and the world for that matter.

UPDATE: It would appear the President elect is, a month away from assuming the most powerful job in the world, already bothered by the second guessing and scrutiny. Wait 'til a world event happens and he suggests bombing Pakistan.

Also in the news, man bites dog.

12/28/2008 05:49:00 PM

(12/28/2008 05:19:00 PM) - Al

...the Bucks will play 20 games in 33 days...--JS

I'm going to have to verify that, as the NBA plays 82 games in about 5.5 months...that would be about a 100 game pace, and I can't believe it.

12/28/2008 05:19:00 PM

(12/28/2008 05:10:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, she's attended far more parties than public speaking classes. An Ivy League education, and she still sounds like Rickie Weeks in a post-game interview. But, she still thinks she can play dress up and be a Senator.

Try winning an election first. The gall of the woman and the entire royal family of Chappaquiddick.

Can you imagine the play this would get if it were Sarah Palin? You know, the one who attended public colleges, paid her own way, and has actually had a job...

12/28/2008 05:10:00 PM

(12/28/2008 04:37:00 PM) - Al

Bleak outlook for Manny. Someone might get a heckuva hitter for 1y/$12M, I would say.

12/28/2008 04:37:00 PM

(12/28/2008 11:48:00 AM) - Al

Nice to see the UK has given up on climate change.

I find the "I'm sure of this one way or another" attitude to be ironic. I'm a skeptic, but admittedly, I don't understand enough about science to figure out how a fax works, never mind weather. I just don't think we should make decisions based on the last 150 years when the whole equation is unknown.

12/28/2008 11:48:00 AM

Saturday, December 27, 2008

(12/27/2008 06:15:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks won't have to play a man down anymore.

With Charlie Bell a bit banged up, at the very least, this gives the team bodies for practice and another 3 point threat at the end of quarters and games. Jones is a very good shooter, and not above average at anything else, at this stage.

12/27/2008 06:15:00 PM

(12/27/2008 06:08:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets seems to have one team with interest in him. That can't be good for negotiating a 2-3 year deal. He might well end up with a 1y/$10M "make good" deal. That's why it was risky for the Crew to offer him arby.

12/27/2008 06:08:00 PM

(12/27/2008 06:05:00 PM) - Al

Doug got a lot for his money in last year's FA crop.

Even when you spend $90M, it helps a great deal to have a few guys overperform.

12/27/2008 06:05:00 PM

(12/27/2008 03:39:00 PM) - Al

I do not have any of the top 5 fantasy players, but I have Utley and Hamilton in my keeper league, and actually traded Sizemore for pitching last March.

I came in 2nd, so I have no regrets.

12/27/2008 03:39:00 PM

(12/27/2008 02:15:00 PM) - Al

We ordered a couple items from Amazon this year and were very impressed by their prompt, on the doorstep delivery. As an anti-social Scrooge, it's nearly perfect. Apparently, I am far from the only one.

I'm sure we'll se some poorly run retailers go out of business, and many will blame the -3% Xmas sales...but with both Wal-Mart and Amazon having success, it's tough to think the companies that have a clue are going to have any trouble overcoming it.

12/27/2008 02:15:00 PM

(12/27/2008 12:05:00 PM) - Al

Joe Sheehan with a very good review of while Teixeira is an outstanding all-around player, the Yankees are not going to run away with the very good AL East.

Money quote:

The Yankees' focus on signing starting pitchers will do little more than maintain the status quo. Sabathia and Burnett replace Mussina and Pettitte, who combined to throw 404 innings of 3.90 ERA baseball last season. With Sabathia moving to a much tougher competitive environment and Burnett not pitching for a new contract, it's far from a lock that the two will combine to improve upon those rotation slots.

They won 89 games last year, and those two expensive arms may not get them to 90. That's sad, but the way it is.

12/27/2008 12:05:00 PM

(12/27/2008 10:56:00 AM) - Al


Figured you’d get a kick out of this video by the Bucks pushing for Joe Alexander to get in the dunk contest. I think he could come up w/ some real cool stuff and would actually make me want to watch it. Keep up the good work!


On a news day like this, I'd link to a video of Jow mowing his lawn. Thanks for the submission, Eric.

12/27/2008 10:56:00 AM

(12/27/2008 08:40:00 AM) - Al

The problem with this is simple...making a team spend luxury tax money received on major league payroll would not only lead to salary inflation (adding more money into the equation that has to be spent), but why would a team like the Orioles or Pirates want to spend their allotted cash to go from 70 to 74 wins?

They wouldn't, and they don't. With their place in the success cycle, they should be aiming for 2-3 seasons down the road, and spending on veteran mediocrity will not change that. They are much wiser to spend cash on scouting, development, international academies, paying well over slot value for picks unlikely to sign, and so on.

12/27/2008 08:40:00 AM

Friday, December 26, 2008

(12/26/2008 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Sadly for the Crew, no amount of goodwill can put Milwaukee on the West Coast.

Good luck to Johnson, one of the best pitchers in the game for much of the past 15 years.

If memory serves, the Giants were among the worst offenses in '08, but they have put together a very good rotation for '09.

12/26/2008 09:27:00 PM

(12/26/2008 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Adam has his season review up. What's funny is, when you make the playoffs by a single game, it's impossible not to look back at every win and think how meaningful it is.

12/26/2008 08:34:00 PM

(12/26/2008 08:22:00 PM) - Al

I realize the military is overwhelmingly Republican, but I am still shocked by this...I have never seen less than a rousing welcome for any President, Clinton included.

Also from Glenn, I talk to 8-10 retired men a week, and 90% of them would love this product. As one fella said, "A good lookin' broad who likes to hunt...too bad I'm already taken" (he's been married 55 years, to be exact:).

12/26/2008 08:22:00 PM

(12/26/2008 08:01:00 PM) - Al

Conversation involving the Xmas dinner choices and the Rambling son.

Rambling wife: Yeah, I guess your side of the family is going to do KFC this year for our get together.

Me: Sounds good.

RW: Yeah, I thought you'd be fine with it.

Rambling son: Well, at least I will enjoy one holiday meal.

12/26/2008 08:01:00 PM

(12/26/2008 07:59:00 PM) - Al

Bacon Today (yeah I know, I just bookmarked it myself) features a recipe for turbaconducken (turducken with bacon).

I think I just gained a pound.

12/26/2008 07:59:00 PM

(12/26/2008 04:23:00 PM) - Al

Theo wins yet another award.

The Yankees are spending so much to try and beat him...and we'll see if they succeed.

12/26/2008 04:23:00 PM

(12/26/2008 03:21:00 PM) - Al

Inside the life of a minor league GM.

12/26/2008 03:21:00 PM

(12/26/2008 01:55:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs discusses how you shouldn't "overpay" for saves in fantasy baseball...I feel the same way about "real" baseball. Getting 3 outs is not any harder in the 9th than it is the 6th or 7th.

12/26/2008 01:55:00 PM

(12/26/2008 01:41:00 PM) - Al

We drove past 2 16+ screen theaters in the Oakdale/Maplewood part of the Cities and every day of Xmas vacation, the lots were not just full, but often had cars parked on the side of the road within a quarter mile of them.

Many folks take the entire week between Xmas and New Year's off as well, and obviously, all students are also off...that's why they sell so many tickets this week.

12/26/2008 01:41:00 PM

(12/26/2008 11:53:00 AM) - Al

Agreed on Caroline Kennedy.

And of course the parallels with her and George W. Bush are striking. Hard to imagine he ever would have ascended to one of the weakest and most inconsequential governorships in the US without a famous name and contribs from his daddy's friends. That's how he got a stake in the Rangers, after all. To her credit, Caroline went out and used her famous name to raise money for all kinds of charities instead of just drinking until she turned 40. That's hardly a qualification for Senate, though.

I want people like Caroline Kennedy and George W. Bush to stay on the country club where they can do less damage. People like Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama at least had to be smarter, harder working, and tougher than everyone they met for the first 30-40 years of life just to have a chance to get where they got. They all had their flaws, but no one can say they were handed anything on a silver platter.


I find it funny she is refusing to release her tax returns...I'd be giddy to show anyone who asked how incredibly wealthy I am.

12/26/2008 11:53:00 AM

(12/26/2008 10:44:00 AM) - Al

You can't fire me, 'cause I quit!

I got two here:

1. I find it strange this is newsworthy even though I've never heard of either one of these "celebs".

2. If these two kids can't make it, what hope do the rest of us have?

12/26/2008 10:44:00 AM

(12/26/2008 09:06:00 AM) - Al

MasterCard is reporting sales were down 2.5% in November and 4% in December, which while far from the numbers I'd like to see, is far from tragic. Seeing Wal Mart have success tells me that those retailers that priced merch aggressively probably did fine, while some of the higher end, slow to discount places will be blaming the economy.

12/26/2008 09:06:00 AM

Thursday, December 25, 2008

(12/25/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

The JS discusses that the Bucks are in the final playoff spot as of today, with 52 games remaining. They are actually above .500 in my viewpoint, as they have won more road games than they have lost home games. They are lucky to be where they are, having played 18 on the road and only 14 at home.

Considering how the team is currently pretty healthy and near full strength, it'd be nice to see that continue, though they still appear to lack the depth to withstand one of their top 3 being out. While much of the offseason chatter focused on dealing Mo for Ridenour; the far more important deal was obtaining Richard Jefferson for Yi, who while still young enough to develop into a fine player, is a role player now. It also improved the "3" spot from bottom 5 to upper half. Charlie V's improved play and the emergence of 2nd rounder Luke MM has made Yi's departure meaningless, in effect, it was almost like adding Jefferson as a free agent.

I'm hoping Joe Alexander emerges as the season goes on, he has had very good spurts, but with everyone healthy, he has fallen out of the rotation of late. It's been a long time since you could realistically say the Bucks had a quality player who does not play some nights. With Ty Lue also down the list, they've had a pair of them thus far this season.

12/25/2008 07:40:00 PM

(12/25/2008 07:26:00 PM) - Al

Kate Winslet says an adult's involvement with a 15 year-old is appropriate. At the bottom of the piece, it is revealed Winslet herself was 15 when she began dating a 28 year-old for several years.

I, like most folks, find it less bothersome to have the minor be a male, but legally, it's tough to write a law like that. The moral of the story is not to accept legal advice from an actress.

12/25/2008 07:26:00 PM

(12/25/2008 07:14:00 PM) - Al

Others seem to be noticing that several signs seem to indicate the economy is heading matter how much they've talked it down since mid-2007.

12/25/2008 07:14:00 PM

(12/25/2008 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, attracted approximately two-thirds of U.S. shoppers this past weekend, the survey found.--Reuters

Wow. That's about as impressive a stat as I can ever recall seeing. 2 out of every 3 folks that left the house to go shopping stopped at Wal Mart.

12/25/2008 07:08:00 PM

(12/25/2008 05:31:00 PM) - Al

You know, it's really hard to feel sorry for people who act like they are "entitled" to delay-free cross country travel. Especially at the holiday, when every flight is full and airports are at capacity, so a delayed flight here turns into a canceled flight there, and so on.

Quit your whining. If you wish, stay home, save thousands of dollars, and travel when it is less hectic.

12/25/2008 05:31:00 PM

(12/25/2008 04:18:00 PM) - Al

Nice piece on where to find the best sales tomorrow. If you are a serious shopper, you can often find clothes and stuff for yourself for 60% off, or more. I must admit though, doing the "doorbuster" thing reeks of ignorance by the retailers...the amount of folks out and about on 12/26 is probably 5-10% of the folks shopping on Black Friday, and besides, you need to clear out merchandise, you should decide what you need to do to clear out enough stuff to be able to have a clean, shopable store ASAP.

12/25/2008 04:18:00 PM

(12/25/2008 02:17:00 PM) - Al

I'm going to go pretend I have a clue and load up the Vue with windshield wash and clean the wipers and anything else I can do. I'll probably clean out my e-mail tonight, for those of you not saddled (I mean blessed) with family obligations today.

Then, it might be time for a yuletide nap.

UPDATE: So, I went out. I had 2 gallons of windshield wash, both about 3/4th's full. One was designed to remove bugs and grime, the other just regular blue wash.

Both were frozen solid. The green "bug removal" one did not say anything about freezing. The blue one bragged it was "good to +30". As I told my wife, so is water. In fact, I would assume it is water, with some blue coloring added. Works fine in the summer, I guess.

The Rambling wife forgot sour cream for the taco dip she likes to make, so I went to Kwik Trip to get that and some windshield wash, where I read the label dutifully and bought the purple stuff, which is good to -35...and judging by its price, must include powdered gold. I also cleaned the wipers off with rubbing alcohol, which makes an old pair work ok, and a mediocre pair work very well.

12/25/2008 02:17:00 PM

(12/25/2008 02:00:00 PM) - Al

Citing his wife's pregnancy, Nick Markakis has turned down an invite to play for the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Markakis' wife is scheduled to give birth to the couple's first child during the tournament. "It's definitely a big honor and something I'd like to do, but with my first kid being born, I have other responsibilities to take care of," Markakis said. "It was a hard decision, but an easy decision. They said I could have a couple of days' leave, but you don't want to neglect a team like that."--Rotoworld

Much like DeRosa, Markakis is a fine player, but one of the top 28 Americans? Really?

EDIT: After linking to him, Nick is a .400/.500 guy, and he just finished his season of 24. He is very deserving. Astounding how little we hear about him in BAL, especially since I've heard many say he is very good in the OF.

I have to wonder if Hardy has been offered anything, as Jeter is the only SS they at the very least, they'll need a defensive replacement for him.:)

12/25/2008 02:00:00 PM

(12/25/2008 12:55:00 PM) - Al

My Xmas coma has not hit yet, but thus far, it has been a wonderful day in the Ramblings' home...the Rambling wife played in the bell choir at church this AM, which left the Rambling son playing one of his new Wii games, as I caught up on my sleep. Soon, we'll be visiting family, so we need to be rested...hopefully, the roads will cooperate.

I admit, one of my pet peeves is fans who seem to have no respect for building depth, both on the pitching staff and with the position players. The Crew is in a bit of a unique spot, as some of their AAA guys will likely be the main replacement in case of injury...Gamel at 3B for sure, and likely at 1B as well. Escobar at SS, and 2B also. However, the lack of proven SP at Nashville is why I was fond of picking up Igawa, and why they were hot on the trail of RA Dickey, to provide a ready arm in case of injury.

One of the arguments against signing Braden Looper is that he is not much of an upgrade over the current #5 guy, who is Seth McClung. There's a couple things here, one, it says something about the quality of the current rotation if a solid FA SP, who would be an improvement for 28-30 MLB teams, barely helps the current group. Two, it shows how many fans have no idea what type of planning takes place in the offseason, as they seem to think 5 starters will be plenty to get through 162 games. Oh, how short ye memories.

In '08, the Brewers had 7 options for the rotation (8 before they parted ways with Vargas). Yo went down in Arizona, and later, so did Capuano...suddenly, they were down to 5. Carlos V was then ineffective, which led to McClung being pressed into duty. Finally, Sabathia was added. Hence, in 2008, the Crew needed 9 SP's to win 90 games.

So, it goes without saying that no team, even the Yankees, won't begin the '09 campaign with 9 major league quality SP's in camp. However, most teams need to pencil in at least 7-8 guys, as if you are in contention, you can pick up a veteran to move the staff forward. Even if you count Capuano as one (I don't think there's any way he's ready before June), right now, that only leaves 6. I have a hard time considering DiFelice as an option, considering LH hitters turn into Barry Bonds against him (though I would not mind having Mike in the bullpen, being used as mostly versus RH bats).

So, to make a long story slightly shorter, I see Doug bringing in a pair of SP's, one a proven entity, like Looper, and the other a proven minor league veteran, again, which is why I assume they made a run on RA Dickey, as they wanted a low cost option on standby at AAA.

I'm not sure how anyone with more than a slight knowledge of MLB could look at the rotation as '09 ready. It's unlikely the front 5 make it to Opening Day, never mind June or July. Luckily for us, Doug knows this too, and while I am not sure who they will be, a couple SP options will be brought in between now and when pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale.

12/25/2008 12:55:00 PM

(12/25/2008 10:44:00 AM) - Al

See, it wasn't about the money.:)

I would have no interest at all in going to a team that has always been historically successful, I would prefer to make my own history.

12/25/2008 10:44:00 AM

(12/25/2008 10:38:00 AM) - Al

This got some press, but all it means for the most part is that the resellers will make a lot more profit.

Of course, it is a lot easier to do that when YES pays you a jillion bucks...

12/25/2008 10:38:00 AM

(12/25/2008 01:39:00 AM) - Al

For about the last week or so, I have had an itchy spot on my foot, right under the arch. Now, my feet are often dry and itchy, and so is my scalp (and my hair gets oily, I'm a strange fella), so I have plenty of lotions and such...none have done a thing. My foot skin is so thick, the itch seems to be way under the skin, nothing gets to it except me rubbing it against the coffee table. Today, I bought anti-inch cream...maybe a tad bit of relief, but for 5-10 minutes only.

So tonight I did a search for "itchy spot on arch of foot", and I came across a thread of 32 people...several of which have suffered from this for 5-13 years! Many admit to using sharp tools to dig at the annoying itch, so much so they have made the skin red and damaged.

I'm not one to complain about minor things, but my gosh, I hope I'm still not writing about this in 2021. I do not have any bump or noticeable spot. Any ideas or suggestions would be dandy.

Merry Xmas!!!

12/25/2008 01:39:00 AM

(12/25/2008 12:40:00 AM) - Al

Brett Favre’s rocket right arm might be running out of steam.

The 39-year-old quarterback insisted Wednesday he hasn’t decided whether he’ll return to the New York Jets next season--Yahoo

Heh. Stop me if you've heard this before. Also, note the way he slyly brings it up as the team prepares for its final game. There are not many athletes who can get away with that level of selfishness and never get called on it.

12/25/2008 12:40:00 AM

(12/25/2008 12:23:00 AM) - Al

If you have a half million bucks lying around, and are paranoid to the nth degree, this might be a perfect fit.

Note the fake stone and ultra secure environment. It's like where Mike Knight goes with Kitt to discuss the current case with Devon.

12/25/2008 12:23:00 AM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

(12/24/2008 11:58:00 PM) - Al

Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell $3.63 to settle at $35.35 in a shortened day of trading. Prices fell as low as $35.13 just before the market closed for the holiday.

Investors expecting more evidence of slowing U.S. energy demand got a bit of a surprise as the Energy Department reported crude inventories dropped last week.

But Americans continue to cut back on driving...leading to growing stockpiles of gasoline and eroding demand for motor fuel.

Gasoline futures plummeted below 80 cents a gallon.

Adding in the common 55-60 cents a gallon for distribution, taxes, and retail profit, that would put gas right around $1.35-1.40 at the pump, barring terrorist activity or threats.

I'd say I blame speculators, but it's Christmas Day, and to be honest, this is how the free market works. It overreacts and flows more on rumors and innuendo than news, but it still is the best indicator we have, because it is based on supply and demand.

12/24/2008 11:58:00 PM

(12/24/2008 10:58:00 PM) - Al

Happy Holidays Al,

Just sitting in my brother in law's office waiting for the next Mass to start. 11:00 PM. He is a Catholic Priest and being married to his sister gives me the opportunity to attend 2 masses today and 3 tomorrow.

I have a bunch of items that I have been wanting to send you and get your
opinion on.

The first thing I would love your opinion is this "great" paper called the New York Post. Last Thursday I am reading this "wonderful" piece written by some "superstar" journalist named Jarett Wieselman wrote an article called Top 10 Useless People on TV and they named a 8 year old girl to the list. I understand the gotcha mentality of this new media but have we dropped to a level that we would call Mady Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 the most useless on TV? Regardless of anyone's thoughts on the television show I think that a reality show about a REAL child should be safe from public lists like this. How often is this girl going to catch flack for being named to this list. It doesn't matter if she is a so-called brat or not, it has to be hard enough to be on a reality show for all to see and now you are going to get hammered by one of the nations biggest papers. Nice work.

As I was rushing around trying to find some orange juice for tomorrow's big family breakfast I arrive at Wal-Mart at 5:15 to find a absolutely packed parking lot and long lines. The store closed in 45 minutes. It is hard to tell if people just waited to the last minute to get the best savings or the weather kept everyone home or people were just plain lazy and waited to the last minute.

I was driving this morning and caught the tail end of a interview on 540 ESPN in Milwaukee with Milwaukee's highest thought of news guy Fox 6 newscaster Ted Perry and he claims that 2009 will mark the end of the TMZ generation as more people will worry about local, national, and economic issues then what or where Brad Pitt is going on his Harley. Personally I don't think America will ever stop caring about what celebs are doing.

On this Christmas Eve I am sadly thinking of all those people who live in Janesville, Wisconsin tonight who lost their jobs as the last automobile was finished yesterday at the GM plant. The state predicts that in January over half of the residents of Janesville will have lost their jobs. It almost needs to be re-invented like Beloit was back in the late 90's. Hopefully these people will land on their feet soon.

I found it interesting that Mark A. was so vocal about the Yankees spending spree considering how he was a huge Yankees fan until he bought the Brewers. This certainly isn't the first time they have been accused of buying their team but I am also certain that it won't be the last time they will go crazy in free agency. The thing I found most interesting in the Mark A. story was that he said he would like the team (Brewers) to stay at or below 85 million for 2009. Just doing the rough math in my head, with all the arbitration players and filling the roster holes can the Brewers sign anyone of significance like Penny, Dunn, or any other pitcher without looking to rid some big contracts?

Lastly before I head off back to the family, my brother in law is a Catholic Priest for a large parish and while he has good turnouts every Saturday night and Sunday's it hardly rivals the numbers that come out for the Christmas masses and the Lent Masses. You would think if 1/3 of the people that show up to 2 or 3 services regardless of religious affiliations a year would come regularly to mass that the world would be a better place? All you need to do is turn on the television on Christmas Eve to see where the moral standard in America lies. Flipping the television on tonight would have found Criminal Minds on CBS. Excuse me if I don't think seeing a body mutilated on network national television on Christmas Eve is where we want our moral standard to be. I forget that money runs everything...even on Christmas.

May you and your family have a safe and blessed Christmas Al. Thank you for
another year of a must stop on my internet browsing.


Merry Xmas to Craig, who is just sitting down to mass as I write this. Since he asked:

--Minors do not choose to be on a reality show. I would say ripping on them is over the line, yes.

--The grocery stores that are open tomorrow morning will be very busy as well, as will Walgreens and convenience stores. Bad planning and just plain ignorance is what leads to this. I never worked in retail in a "bad" part of town...the closest I came was a Toys R Us in Roseville, MN...which drew folks from some rough parts of St. Paul and Minneapolis. We were steady all day, but I left at 4 or 5...the store director said he finally had to lock the out door at 8:20 (closed at 8, when he locked the in door)), because folks kept either pushing it open, or coming in when others would go out, always saying they just "needed one thing" or "I need batteries". Finally, after several announcements and such, he had to go out and personally tell 5-7 groups (many of which had been the "just need one thing" folks) they had a few minutes, or else the registers would be closed. The last customers did not leave until after 9.

There's a lesson there about why folks are lower class and others are successful, and why "growth from the bottom up" will never work, but I'll leave that for another day. I will say that when the director locked up and walked to his car at 9:30, a car pulled up and said "You're closed?" in such an incredulous voice, he said he couldn't help but laugh. They told him they'd have to go to KMart. No matter how late you're open, some ne'er do well is going to finally get around to shopping after the fact.

--People will still watch TMZ, that's entertainment. The Star and National Enquirer have been around for decades. Predicting their demise is rather short-sighted. The NBA has very high ticket prices, and their attendance is fine thus far. I'm sure many will say MLB won't be able to fill the house for 81 games, but I think they'll be just fine.

--Janesville is just like Michigan. McCain correctly informed them the past was not coming back, and it went over like a fart in church. That said, while it may not play in Flint, it's true. Racine is undergoing similar changes, as the days of big labor are gone, never to return. You can either mourn them like family owned, one screen theaters and independent hardware stores, or you can enjoy 20 screens and 19 cent bolts. The quicker you quit trying to stall progress, the quicker you get onto the next step. Also, that huge casino that the tribe that runs Foxwoods that would have brought thousands of jobs to that area probably looks pretty good right now.

--I think after arby, the Crew has about $68-70M already spent for '09. That leaves about $10-15M to add, though I would not be surprised at all to see Mark A and Doug start the year at about $78M and leave room to add on. There may be players all but given away in June and July...if their new team pays their salary. I'd say Doug's "plan" is to try to add a couple quality arms (Looper and Cruz were on his radar, it would appear) into the slot he has available.

--One of the Rambling brother-in-laws used to say how he and his family always had to stand for Easter and Xmas services, because all the people who were religious in name only would come on those two days. I can't say I understand why folks feel those days are "more holy" either. As for CBS, I love CSI, but you can vote with your viewing habits and by thanking and patronizing the companies that advertise on more family friendly fare. I believe it is Ruth Chris steakhouses that sponsor much conservative radio, and when asked why they risk the boycott of liberals, replied simply that it is made up for by the many e-mails and letters they get thanking them and saying if they ever visit "the big city", they will be sure to visit. And, they do.

12/24/2008 10:58:00 PM

(12/24/2008 08:37:00 PM) - Al

Once again, Santa came to the Ramblings' household during the 40 minutes we were out looking at Xmas lights. This makes the 5th year in a row...the odds of that happening is literally off the charts!

Merry Xmas to all from Ramblings...thank you for choosing to visit.

12/24/2008 08:37:00 PM

(12/24/2008 07:23:00 PM) - Al

I guess I missed the heyday of Kwaanza...heck, I never even heard of it until 1999, when I was running a party store and folks would ask me if we had any cards, which was past its peak, I guess. Now apparently, stuff is nonexistent, and you're lucky to find anything to even mention the holiday.

12/24/2008 07:23:00 PM

(12/24/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Cocoa up 70%, hit 20 year high.

Obviously due to speculators.

12/24/2008 07:11:00 PM

(12/24/2008 05:58:00 PM) - Al

He also had an offer from the New York Mets, along with significant interest from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Doug wanted to add knuckleballer RA Dickey, but he chose the Twins. Melvin was looking at RA, I'm sure, to be AAA depth in Nashville.

Hat tip to MLBTR.

12/24/2008 05:58:00 PM

(12/24/2008 02:52:00 PM) - Al

Man burns down house using blow torch to melt ice.

Also in the news, some people are simply too stupid to live. As Dennis Miller says, eliminating that buffoon is just culling the herd.

12/24/2008 02:52:00 PM

(12/24/2008 11:45:00 AM) - Al

The teams I really feel sorry for are BAL and goodness, while TB has proven a team built the right way can compete, it sure is tough...I'd say instead of building a team capable of winning 90, you almost have to aim for 95.

The Jays won 86 games last year, with a very good run differential, and the best pitching staff in the AL...and their chances of making the postseason are, at best, very slim.

And no offense to the Orioles, but my dog and I are every bit as likely to fly to the moon as we are to see Camden Yards host a playoff game in 2009. They should keep building just the way they are, but the casual fan might as well skip right to '10 or '11.

12/24/2008 11:45:00 AM

(12/24/2008 11:20:00 AM) - Al

The Angels had a better record than us and the Blue Jays, and the Brewers and the Blue Jays got shoved down the food chain. The Elias rankings have never been changed, and there are so many smart statistical gurus -- Bill James, etc. -- that could create a fair model for both players and teams, who should be compensated fairly according to the value of each player to that team. Last year, Geoff Jenkins, who had a nice career with us and was arguably one of our better players, was not even ranked last year, and Tony Graffanino, a part-time player, was ranked. We have dropped 46 slots in the 2009 draft, and we will be dropping even more because there are so many compensation picks. The second round will be almost the third round, in the way that it will develop."

The Yankees will lose some draft picks, but they can draft unsignable players in fourth and fifth rounds, and pay over-slot, as they did with Andrew Brackman (the Yankees' No. 1 pick in 2007).

The Draft Elias rankings and compensation needs to be changed. I do not want to sound like I'm whining, but teams who have to build with draft picks get frustrated. I had interest in Juan Cruz, and because I thought we had extra first-round picks for CC and for Ben Sheets, I had considered a Type A signing. Now I have to reconsider.--Doug Melvin, in an e-mail to Buster Olney

Sounds like Juan Cruz may have been the "other" pitcher Doug was talking to yesterday..

There's no doubt the Elias rankings are a joke, and it's embarrassing they are used for anything. However, I have no problem with Teixiera being ranked higher than Sabathia. The real shame here is that there's such a gap. Would it be more fair if a team signs more than one Type A free agent, that after the team gives up their 1st or 2nd round pick for signing the highest rated FA, that instead, the other teams that lost a Type A gets a comp pick after that round. In this case, the Angels get the Yankeees' 1st round choice, and then the Brewers the 1st pick after the 1st round, and the Blue Jays the 2nd pick after the 1st round.

12/24/2008 11:20:00 AM

(12/24/2008 10:45:00 AM) - Al

Mark A says the sport might be ready for a salary cap.

I would agree in theory, but the sports that have one are in no better shape, and simply have so many exceptions as to make them irrelevant.

Note the Gord Ash quote, he doesn't seem overly impressed with what the Yankees have for $200M, or maybe he's just hoping. I see Fangraphs they pushed their estimate of the Yankees win total from 88 to 92, and compared a fan of the team to someone who roots for the house in Vegas.:)

UPDATE: Clint e-mails to say that is a Doug Stanhope line. I cannot say I've ever heard of the fella, but I have heard it before.

12/24/2008 10:45:00 AM

(12/24/2008 10:26:00 AM) - Al

A HS team never punted all year, and won the state title. They even went for it on 4th down if they were inside their own 10.

Granted, they were really good, but it is refreshing to see someone who doesn't just do the same thing everyone else is doing.

12/24/2008 10:26:00 AM

(12/24/2008 01:40:00 AM) - Al

A media cover-up of an affair? Well, she is a Kennedy!

Maybe she is Senate material...:)

12/24/2008 01:40:00 AM

(12/24/2008 12:32:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling brother writes and informs me the Burger King Mushroom Swiss Steakburger is one of the finest sandwiches he has ever enjoyed.

I have only had one of the BK variety, but I still prefer the "original", which to me is the Hardee's version. Culver's is also quite yummy. The BK one is good, but in my opinion, they put too many french fried onions on, and I'm not a fan of steak sauce.

If you're going to discuss very good but kind of high priced fast food, Arby's Beef and Cheddar tops my list. Of course, why McDonald's Cheddar Melt and McRib were never added to the regular menu still irritates me to no end.

12/24/2008 12:32:00 AM

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

(12/23/2008 11:38:00 PM) - Al

Adam talks to Doug about his going ons, and Doug admits he's talking to "one or two" pitchers, one of which is assumed to be Looper.

He says he does not expect to end up with Fuentes, and seems a bit annoyed Fuentes has now said twice he wants to pitch with the Angels.

If I had to guess, I'd say Doug has talked to Brandon Lyon's people, which finally leaked out today.

12/23/2008 11:38:00 PM

(12/23/2008 11:28:00 PM) - Al

How to make Twinkies at home. Hat tip to the Rambling wife.

12/23/2008 11:28:00 PM

(12/23/2008 08:18:00 PM) - Al

Vince sends in this link that tells the tale of using a beet juice mixture on roads in Kansas City.

I know I used to buy water conditioner salt when it was on sale when we lived in a townhouse, as that was far cheaper than the sidewalk stuff. Of course, since it damages sidewalks, I don't use it now.

12/23/2008 08:18:00 PM

(12/23/2008 08:12:00 PM) - Al

With the Yankees signing Tex & CC, we went from getting their 26th overall pick to their 2nd round pick (roughly 79th by my estimate).


I should have mentioned this, but did not want to come off as a draft nerd (not that there's anything wrong with that). I consider picks in the top 5 rounds to be "premium" and on the bright side, slot value bonus will be about $600K-1M less.

12/23/2008 08:12:00 PM

(12/23/2008 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Seattle refuses to use salt, instead relies on sand and warm weather. Of course, that means horrible conditions.

Note the police cars are rear wheel drive, and officers have been responding on foot. Welcome to the third world, in the Pacific Northwest.

12/23/2008 07:22:00 PM

(12/23/2008 05:52:00 PM) - Al

The Yankees have been assessed a $26.9 million luxury tax by the commissioner's office.

Detroit is the only other team assessed a tax for 2008, as the Tigers owe $1.3 million. In the six seasons since the luxury tax system was instituted, New York has paid a total of $148.3 million, which represents 90 percent of the total paid by all MLB teams.--Rotoworld

I believe I've read the Yankees will pay less in the future because they put money into their new stadium, but you gotta admit, it sure is funny to see both teams that had to pay win fewer games than the Brewers...not to mention, the Tigers were just awful.

12/23/2008 05:52:00 PM

(12/23/2008 05:43:00 PM) - Al

A newspaper ignoring the internet.

You know, it's about time someone tries something different than what is obviously failing.

12/23/2008 05:43:00 PM

(12/23/2008 05:07:00 PM) - Al

The Crew picks up a couple minor league pitchers for depth. Chris Smith has good numbers across the board at AAA, and while he likely has a ceiling of a middle reliever, there's nothing wrong with having that in Nashville.

Meanwhile, Ryan Houston averages almost a K every AAA inning, but has a near 5 ERA at that level. No offense, as I'm sure he's oodles better than me, but I'd say he's likely roster filler with velocity.

12/23/2008 05:07:00 PM

(12/23/2008 04:38:00 PM) - Al

Olney says the Brewers "might take a look at" free agent reliever Brandon Lyon, who's been linked in other reports to the Twins and Red Sox. It's been reported that Lyon seeks a multiyear deal and may wait until Brian Fuentes signs. Nick Piecoro suggested that one unknown Lyon suitor views him as a starter.

Olney says the Brewers will probably reach out to Trevor Hoffman, and the Dodgers will also take a look.

I like Lyon more than KRod, for the money they'll each get. I discussed him here. Doug said he was not interested in Hoffman, but times do change, though this may well be Olney speculating, as the Crew has been linked to every closer on the market.

12/23/2008 04:38:00 PM

(12/23/2008 04:30:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers expressed interest in Adam Dunn as they were mulling a Mike Cameron trade (Corey Hart would've played center).---MLBTR

I have to believe that would have meant switching Braun to RF, as Dunn in RF must be 20+ runs over the course of 162.

The Rangers would like to move some salary, with Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, and Hank Blalock the candidates.--MLBTR

Doug has asked about all three in the past. If Hank can play 3B, I'm sure he'd still love to have him.

12/23/2008 04:30:00 PM

(12/23/2008 04:23:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife got home from volunteering at the Rambling son's Festivus party, so we went out to shovel/snowblow the driveway/sidewalk when she got home. 15 minutes later, we came in to a half-eaten loaf of French bread from the bakery...apparently, our canine companion had smelled it and grabbed it off the table, though we're not sure why he stopped at 50%.

AS I said, you can't get mad at him, it's like telling the sun not to shine.

12/23/2008 04:23:00 PM

(12/23/2008 03:43:00 PM) - Al

Yankees sign Mark Teixeira, 8y/$180M. Excellent player, but as I pointed out here, only better in the field than Prince. Fielder is probably counting down his days to free agency as we speak. No mention of trading Melky though...I guess the Yankees know they cannot go with an OF of Damon/Swisher/Nady, as it would be 4-5 games below average in the OF alone.

12/23/2008 03:43:00 PM

(12/23/2008 10:16:00 AM) - Al

Happy Festivus!

I'm most looking forward to the airing of the grievances myself...

12/23/2008 10:16:00 AM

Monday, December 22, 2008

(12/22/2008 11:32:00 PM) - Al

Adam's mailbag is up, and AM thinks the Crew needs some SP depth just as I do.

12/22/2008 11:32:00 PM

(12/22/2008 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs thinks Looper is being undervalued, and wonder why he has so few suitors.

12/22/2008 09:56:00 PM

(12/22/2008 09:50:00 PM) - Al

Toyota has a bad quarter.

Meanwhile, the Big 3 have had a poor decade.

That seems about right.

12/22/2008 09:50:00 PM

(12/22/2008 09:37:00 PM) - Al

If they do name Caroline Kennedy take over the Senate seat, it may be exactly what many needed to get fired up for the future. As said, nothing prepares you for DC more than attending stuck-up private schools and being famous for being famous. Note, she has no, that's none, nada; experience running a business or even a career...she's done nothing except go to parties and spend her daddy's (and hubby's) money.

Heck, Paris Hilton's apparently qualified to be appointed to the Senate.

12/22/2008 09:37:00 PM

(12/22/2008 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Little People Big World had its season finale tonight, though a "new" season begins in February. I have mentioned what a refreshing show this is before, specifically a critic saying it was a real life Cosby can't get much higher praise than that.

Tonight, the season ender focused on the death of family friend and business partner Mike. As someone who has watched the show since the beginning, allow me to say it was a tough viewing, as Mike was as likable a fella as you'll see on TV...always friendly, always positive, and very grandfatherly.

All I can say is, if you're not watching this show every Monday night on TLC, you should be.

12/22/2008 09:04:00 PM

(12/22/2008 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Postseason's greetings from the Brewers.

While I hope he will have a more memorable call before he retires, it is very possible Ueck will be remembered for this one.

12/22/2008 08:54:00 PM

(12/22/2008 06:51:00 PM) - Al

GM has 96K workers and are paying health benefits for over 1M.

Read the whole thing, and tell me why they should not be allowed to declare bankruptcy and start anew.

12/22/2008 06:51:00 PM

(12/22/2008 03:56:00 PM) - Al


I agree with you. DeRosa is an odd choice, but I think he was probably picked for Team USA because he is an ideal bench player. I doubt he'll start games, but he can sub in at second, third, left or right late in games if needed and the defense should not suffer. Sure, he's not a star, but most star players in MLB only play one position so their value as bench players is not as high.

Just a guess... — Jared

Possibly, but no one will need to be PH for, these are all-stars. Any CF can also play LF/RF, and many SS's can play 3B, and almost all of them can play 2B. Picking a guy because he can play a few spots seems odd to say the least.

12/22/2008 03:56:00 PM

(12/22/2008 01:07:00 PM) - Al

I'm embarrassed to have ever lived in MN after reading this little recap...note the one vote counted for Franken is a near-perfect Coleman ballot.

My goodness. Talk about fraud. They can't even do a simple recount without bringing in Illinois style pay for play.

12/22/2008 01:07:00 PM

(12/22/2008 12:53:00 PM) - Al

If someone could explain to me how Mark DeRosa is one of the top 28 US MLB players, I'd appreciate it. He's a decent big leaguer, and that's about it. How did he make it and no word about JJ Hardy?

12/22/2008 12:53:00 PM

(12/22/2008 12:08:00 PM) - Al

Dodd and Frank just keep on being ignored.

I don't know why the old media struggles so.

12/22/2008 12:08:00 PM

Sunday, December 21, 2008

(12/21/2008 07:05:00 PM) - Al

Fugitives with warrants show up to win "big prizes" and go to jail.

One guy showed up with drugs in his pocket as well. They do seem to get dumber every year.

12/21/2008 07:05:00 PM

(12/21/2008 06:00:00 PM) - Al

Doug confirms interest in Looper, but will not say they are "close".

After the Cameron fiasco, he may never say they are close again.

12/21/2008 06:00:00 PM

(12/21/2008 02:05:00 PM) - Al

If you're wondering what to expect from Looper, his numbers as a SP make him a virtual twin to Dave Bush...which certainly is not bad, by any means. However, Looper is older, so I hope it is a two year contract. I hope it's for about $5-6M per, but we'll see.

12/21/2008 02:05:00 PM

(12/21/2008 01:10:00 PM) - Al

Brian Fuentes' price may be going way down. If that's true, I would think several teams could afford his "sale price", including the Crew.

I also wonder how much his price is affected by having to give up a 1st or 2nd round pick...many teams seem to value them far more than just a couple years ago.

12/21/2008 01:10:00 PM

(12/21/2008 11:51:00 AM) - Al

Braden Looper is "close to signing" with the Crew, according to this link.

I mentioned Looper here, he's done a lot better than I dreamed he would after his conversion from a reliever to a starter. He's got friendly projections, just above a 4 and a 4.42. He's not going to replace CC...but no one is.:)

He was a very good reliever, and has made the transition nicely. I would say he's most likely a 4.50 ERA guy, but his addition (if true, of course) strengthens the bullpen and overall pitching depth, as it makes McClung the 6th SP and puts him in the mix for important innings.

I would say this is likely to be true because it fits the need for a SP and has gone under the radar until the deal is all but done, a Melvin trademark.

Hat tip to MLBTR.

12/21/2008 11:51:00 AM

(12/21/2008 09:23:00 AM) - Al

The JS with a notes column...trying to make a minor news story about coaches in new spots, but not being very successful. Castro has been coaching pitchers for almost 20 years, he's just never had the same title. Randolph has never been a bench coach...but has managed...that seems like an easy adjustment.

12/21/2008 09:23:00 AM

Saturday, December 20, 2008

(12/20/2008 11:26:00 PM) - Al

The Ramblings household watched its favorite holiday movie tonight, Christmas Vacation, which I know I've seen a minimum of 30 times, and probably more like 50. Pure hilarity, and the most laughter I've ever heard in a movie theater (until There's Something About Mary). If you don't enjoy it, simply put, you are no fun at all.

12/20/2008 11:26:00 PM

(12/20/2008 07:27:00 PM) - Al

As a proud contrarian, I think expanding now is genius if you have the means to do so.

Interest rates are at a 40 year low, and home and commercial prices are at a 5 year low. Heck, this would seem to be a perfect time to jump in and go full speed ahead. It sure makes a lot more sense than getting in at the top and free falling painfully.

12/20/2008 07:27:00 PM

(12/20/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

My assumption was they place that value on the free agent market. Since players don't become free agents until their 7th years, teams can survive without a 200 million dollar payroll.


Hey Al,

Big fan of the site. In regards to your question about Fangraphs and the rate for wins above replacement, I'm pretty sure that they don't say one win over replacement is worth $5 million, but rather that it costs $5 million on the open market. Whether or not that's a good value, that is the price the market sets, and it's probably not as far-fetched as it sounds, because, as you point out, it would cost $200 million to field a +90 win team solely composed of free agents, no team is assembled that way (well, maybe the Yankees ;-)).

Hope that cleared things up,

Alex in NY

I will assume they are correct until I hear differently, I guess. But to me, I guess I would use the average payroll in baseball, minus out the minimum, and say that's a realistic number on what a win over replacement is worth. I think the average last year was about $75M, and if $10M is minimum, that's $65M to win 40 games...$1.625M per victory over replacement. If you figure in that teams have young players making close to minimum, and you don't need to pay your 11th and 12th pitchers, backup catchers, 5th OF, and so on, that maybe leaves 15 players you're going to have to pay, and to be honest, $5M per win over replacement just does not realistic at all,

12/20/2008 07:11:00 PM

(12/20/2008 04:40:00 PM) - Al

I've been reading and linking to Fangraphs for quite a while now, and while I enjoy everything about the site except the, in my opinion, constantly overemphasizing of how many runs a good/bad fielder is worth, I have a question I need answered.

They constantly say 1 win over replacement level is worth about $5M. I don't get it. A team made up of free talent, such as minor league free agents happy to play for the major league minimum, would win about 40-50 games. A playoff team needs to win about 90. That's 40 extra wins, at $5M per, you're going to have to pay guys about $200M...that's quite a payroll, specially if you do not field a team in NY, CHI, LA, or BOS.

What am I missing here?

12/20/2008 04:40:00 PM

(12/20/2008 03:01:00 PM) - Al

Meghan McCain has resumed posting after her self-imposed hiatus after the election. She listed her favorite postings today, and #1 is before I started reading her work, which deals with her weight and some comments made in the media about it.

The irony here is, I started reading the blog because it often featured pictures of Ms. McCain, who while not thin, is extremely attractive. If she suffered some negative feedback over her looks, it must be really tough for those women who are more than a few pounds over their ideal weight, when in the public eye.

12/20/2008 03:01:00 PM

(12/20/2008 02:29:00 PM) - Al

There remains loyal pit bull owners that insist their dog would never hurt a soul...and until it happens, I guess they may be right. However, I'd never allow my son to be outside with one, and I can't say that about any other dog breed.

12/20/2008 02:29:00 PM

(12/20/2008 01:57:00 PM) - Al


Play GM for a day. It's been reported that Doug has about $15 million to spend, how would you spend it? Who would you sign? What positions do we still need to add? Personally, I think we need 2 more pitchers (either 2 relievers or a starter & reliever) and a back-up middle infielder (Counsell?). So, how would you fill out the final 3 spots on the 40 man roster.


I think he may well add a 4th OF as well, a guy able to play all 3 spots, if one becomes available in trade or cheaply in FA. I agree that Doug is going to add a couple more arms, and a reserve INF also seems likely. Personally, I'd love to see a quality SP added, such as Randy Johnson or John Smoltz, but we have no idea if they would even consider coming to MIL. I'm still a fan of Brad Penny as well, he's a risk, but so is every pitcher.

If I were the GM, I may well add Penny, a spot starter type like Jon Lieber, and a couple veteran reserves, one for the INF, one for the OF. Shouse has not yet signed either, and if he wants to come back for a year, or for a year with some sort of vested option for year two, I'd love to do that.

12/20/2008 01:57:00 PM

(12/20/2008 10:51:00 AM) - Al

Vernon Wells is available...just as you'd expect a guy with $100M to be.

He's basically Corey Hart with slightly better OBP and CF skills, but that's not worth $100M...though I'm sure many folks will suggest the Crew trade for him.

12/20/2008 10:51:00 AM

(12/20/2008 12:27:00 AM) - Al

On The Food Network, they just said "375 degrees Fahrenheit".

I really don't think that's necessary, as 375 Celsius would be over 700 degrees...I know pizza ovens go up to 600-650 or so, but I've never seen 700.

12/20/2008 12:27:00 AM

Friday, December 19, 2008

(12/19/2008 10:34:00 PM) - Al

I must admit, I'm disappointed in how many message boards have people wanting the Crew to trade Corey Hart (or in some cases, Mike Cameron) for pitching, and then sign an Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu type to man RF. Now I love Dunn and like Abreu, but...

1. Um, have we any indication they have any interest in playing in Milwaukee?

2. Trading pre-FA guys and then signing an expensive free agent is not small market mentality.

3. It would effectively eat up all payroll wiggle room.

4. Perhaps most of all, while you can project either to be better at the plate than Corey, (Abreu is old enough he could fall off a cliff, Dunn in his early 30's) both are 10-15 runs below average, and I might argue the idea of Adam Dunn, quite possibly the worst LF in MLB, playing RF is so offensive to me as to make the whole idea simply undoable.

Take into consideration those dozen runs they will give up (that's only assuming Corey is average, I'd argue he'll probably prevent 5 runs), suddenly, the advantage of adding them is minimal. Extra payroll, getting older, and trading youngsters that have not peaked...I just can't get in line with that.

12/19/2008 10:34:00 PM

(12/19/2008 10:27:00 PM) - Al

The past week, I've been playing a game online, and am frustrated I have not yet made it past Level 6.

Tonight, the Rambling wife tried it for the first time...she made it to Level 7 on her 2nd try. Shaking my head, I then took a look...she had not even taken advantage of one of the "upgrades" the game allows you after Level 5...meaning she made it farther than me without the stuff I fail with.

This is either a sign I married extremely well or that I'm a complete idiot.

12/19/2008 10:27:00 PM

(12/19/2008 07:41:00 PM) - Al

Braun will play for Team USA in the WBC.

I feel fine about him playing, but I sure don't want any of the rotation pitching in that thing.

12/19/2008 07:41:00 PM

(12/19/2008 07:26:00 PM) - Al

Mindy McCready is having a lot of issues.

She was as talented and gorgeous as any singer alive 10-15 years ago. Sadly, the list of articles about her include one proclaiming her rehab stint successful.

12/19/2008 07:26:00 PM

(12/19/2008 12:59:00 PM) - Al


I like the signings of Duffy & Nixon. Gwynn can't be happy about Duffy. Where does this leave Gwynn? Does he have any trade value to any team besides San Diego(I''d take Chris Young)? I believe Brad Nelson is out of options, where do you see him next year? 5th outfielder and occasional 1st base? Does he have any trade value? It seems like Nelson's spot might have to wait until the 3rd base position/platoon is figured out to see what kind of roster room there is.

I'd also like to see McClung as our closer.


I like MSeth in the rotation, and think that's where he'll be most of the year, though he may have to wait for someone to be injured/ineffective.

I'm not sure whether Gwynn and Nelson should be offended or not, as neither looks to be more than a reserve, or maybe a platoon guy. Neither has done enough at AAA to be worthy of just being handed a spot on the 25 man.

12/19/2008 12:59:00 PM

(12/19/2008 02:08:00 AM) - Al

Friday's link fest is up.

12/19/2008 02:08:00 AM

(12/19/2008 12:46:00 AM) - Al

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

The WBCOOP is an online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers.

Registration code: 551117

12/19/2008 12:46:00 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

(12/18/2008 10:55:00 PM) - Al

The Boston Globe reports that "two general managers who were involved in the Mark Teixeira talks both felt the Red Sox had a leg up."

One general manager said that the Red Sox "have the highest offer on the table" and indicated that Boston's unwillingness to give Teixeira a 10-year contract won't be an issue because "no one's going there." The newspaper notes that the Red Sox don't really have a Plan B if Teixeira signs elsewhere, so they'd be left "with an offense pretty much like the one that ended the season." Of course, they scored the second-most runs in the league last season with 845, including 4.9 runs per game with Manny Ramirez and 5.8 runs per game after trading him.--Rotoworld

The offer I'm seeing is 8y/$184M, which allow me to say, is far too much and too long. AS I pointed out the other day, MT is barely better than Prince is, and even if he's worth 10 runs more than average on defense, BOS is paying $23M for a guy who is 3-4 wins above the norm, which seems pricey.

UPDATE: Boston says they are out. Did DC actually make an "over-offer" of $200M?

12/18/2008 10:55:00 PM

(12/18/2008 08:58:00 PM) - Al

Trot Nixon may be getting older, but he sure can hit RHP's. If Doug says he's already working out and getting in shape after getting some work done, I'd say he's a good bet to still be with the team in April.

12/18/2008 08:58:00 PM

(12/18/2008 08:33:00 PM) - Al

"We have 100 years worth of data, not millions of years that the world’s been around," Myers continued.

Read the whole thing.

I think I've heard some incredibly intelligent person saying that...maybe on this very blog.:)

12/18/2008 08:33:00 PM

(12/18/2008 08:19:00 PM) - Al

The Braves seem like they are rather unhappy with the nugget of truth that Furcal first accepted an offer with them, and is now signing with the Dodgers.

Kind of sad really. Even when you're talking about a really wealthy fella, a man's word has to mean something.

12/18/2008 08:19:00 PM

(12/18/2008 07:57:00 PM) - Al

Brian Cashman explains he was too busy to call.

Just like single women all over the country, I don't believe it for a second. I think they decided they'd rather spend $22M on Manny for three years than Mike $10M for one.

The above is why the Yankees failed to make the playoffs, by the way. It's also how you can have a $180M payroll and have Xavier Nady starting in RF.

12/18/2008 07:57:00 PM

(12/18/2008 07:16:00 PM) - Al

Eldon sends us this link and wonders what would happen if the same thing had happened to Obama.

Two things. One, I'm still wondering how exactly he managed to toss the 2nd shoe without getting shot directly through the skull. You know, not only does the Secret Service frown on such events, they tend not to have a lot of patience with such ne'er-do-wells, nor should they. I distinctly recall on a message board after Miller Park was opened, that one of the employees said by far the most interesting thing was to see several sharpshooters being led to the roof.

One and a half, regardless of what symbolism is involved, if throwing your shoe is the best you can come up with, you are too lame to live.

Two, I'm sure an Obama shoe throwing incident would be labeled racist.

12/18/2008 07:16:00 PM

(12/18/2008 05:55:00 PM) - Al

The Crew signs Trot Nixon and Chris Duffy, it's almost like Doug made a list, made up of stuff he wanted, like hard throwing RH relievers, LH OF bats, and so on, and has been seeing who is available on the the article points out, just like Gabe Kapler last year.

When Kapler was brought aboard, many dismissed it, and he was one of the best 4th OF's in baseball. I doubt if either of these fellas will be that good, but I'd say it is extremely likely one of these two lefty bats opens on the 25 man roster.

I've been a Duffy fan for a while, as I talked about him many times, though much of it was the fact he beat out Nate McLouth for a while.

12/18/2008 05:55:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

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