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Archive for November, 2007

11/30/07: Why Matsui? Be-Kaz He Can Run Fast

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I (and about every other Astros fan) was talking about how often Astros pitchers would throw a quality start, only to lose because of no offensive support?

Yep, it was.

And wasn’t it me last year who was saying that it is difficult for pitchers to do well when they have terrible fielders? Sure was.

However, whether I like it or not, it isn’t the 60s any more, and the Box is most definitely NOT the Dome and the modern game is not all about small ball, it is about home runs – it’s why they have hard baseballs and small stadiums.

Apparently, we have signed Kaz Matsui to a 3 year/15 milliondeal to play second, which means that Chris Burke is out as a second baseman. I talked about Matsui several weeks ago, and unlike most other Astros fans, am unimpressed. For some reason, seems most fans are absolutely and completely unwilling to examine a players CAREER record and are only interested in the previous year’s record. And Matsui most definitely hit well at Coors, no question. Problem is that he did, well, not well everywhere else.

In 2004, his first year, his home/away splits were almost even and for the year, he hit .272/.331/.396/.727 with 14 SB and 3 CS in 460 AB over 114 games without any games at Coors. (Yes, better than Chris Burke last year, seeing as how no one is willing to agree that he ever had any AB in the majors before then.)

In 2005, his second year, again, no games at Coors, he hit .255/.300/.352/.652 in 267 AB over 87 games with 6 SB and 1 CS with fairly even home/away splits.

In 2006, he split the year between the Mets and the Rockies, so I’ll list his lines at Coors and away from Coors. It’s a bit different than “home” and away because he had 2 diffferent homes that year.

At Coors, he hit .411/.476/.500/.976 in 56 AB over 17 games. Away from Coors, he hit .225/.260/.320/.580 in 187 AB over 53 games. INteresting that all of a sudden, he had HUGE Coors/away from Coors splits.

Last year, away from Coors, he hit .249/.304/.333/.638 in 213 AB over 55 games. And, mind you, he only started in 2/3 of all games played last year.

To summarize, away from Coors, his line is, over 4 years in the majors, .256/.305/.367/.672 in 1127 AB over 309 games (he has 66 more games played at Coors, where he hits like crazy) with 46 SB and 6 CS.
INCLUDING Coors, his RCAA over the last 3 years are -20, -25 and -7. We are not talking great offense here, are we???

I keep hearing – oh isn’t it great we have all this SPEED!!! Well, you have to get on base first. Bourn is projected by ZIPS to have an OBP of .310 and Matsui’s non-Coors’ OBP is .304. You still can NOT steal first – and, by the way, Matsui can’t steal against lefties – has only 4 SB in his American career (neither can Bourn, but we won’t go there.)

And, by the way, no one has yet commented on the fact that the greatest number of games he has played in 1 year is 114, in his first year. Now we’re expecting 162? Well, maybe not. It’s possible that he’ll be facing rightys and Burke leftys, I’m not sure. But I AM sure that keeping Burke on the bench to pinch hit is a waste of a roster spot – he’s at his absolute worst when he pinch hits – in 58 PA, he’s hit .176/.288/.275/.563 with 3 RBI.

Poor guy. But I must say I love all the fan suggestions that we package him with Scott and some “prospect” for a #2 pitcher. Good grief.

But the thing is that unlike a lot of other Astros fans, I don’t think that doing something just to do SOMEthing is necessarily a a good thing, let alone a smart thing. At least McLane hasn’t told Tal Smith to tell Ed Wade to give out any more 100 mill contracts…

I at least hope McLane allows Tal to offer arb to Loretta, who is about to sign with the Yankees, to Jason Jennings and to Trever Miller. Yeah, they are all Type B, but at least we will get a little compensation and a few more picks. Hard to believe that Lamb isn’t even a Type B, but this is why I seriously doubt he’ll get a multi year, multi mill deal as a starting 3B for any team.

Anyway, because I am so depressed about my baseball team, I think I’ll tell all yall a nice joke (well, re-told a little…)

So this Astros blogger brought her very limp baseball team’s lineup card into a stat geek. As she laid her 25 man roster list’s OPS on the table, the stat geek pulled out his spreadsheet and Marcel and examined the team.

After a moment or two, the geek shook his head sadly and said, “I’m so sorry Lisa, your team, the Astros, their hope is dead.”

The distressed blogger wailed, “Are you sure”? “Yes, I am sure. Numbers don’t lie – your team is dead,” he replied.

“How can you be so sure”? she protested. “I mean, you haven’t even checked the chemistry or speed. They might just be in a coma or something.”

The stat geek rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. The dog trotted over to the computer, stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the table and sniffed the spreadsheet from top to bottom. He then looked at the stat geek with sad eyes and shook his head. He patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the ZIPS and Marcel and CHONE projections from top to bottom. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The stat geek looked at the blogger and said, “I’m sorry grrrrrl, but as I said, this team is most definitely, 100 percent certifiably, dead.”  Then he turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the blogger, who took the bill. “$150!” she cried. “$150 just to tell me my team sucked itself to death?

The stat geek shrugged.  ”I’m sorry. If you’d taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the lab report and the cat scan, it’s now $150.

11/07: The 2008 Astros’ So-Called Farm

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

First, transaction news -

Hector Giminez is no longer an Astro – he signed a minor league contract with the Orioles.

Also, the Astros have officially given up on Jimmy Barthmaier, one of the top 10 prospects from last year. He was put on waivers after sucking at both AA (ERA of 6.20 and WHIP of 1.78) and in the AFL this fall, and taken by the Pirates, who don’t have a great record with young pitchers who seem to be resistant to coaching…

Ed Wade has signed yet another middle reliever, 40 year old (41 in May) righty Doug Brocail. Good grief. I guess this is trying to rectify one of Purpura’s biggest mistakes – letting Russ Springer go. Need the Veteran Presence, 2.5 mill worth. He missed all of 01, 02 and 03. And here are his numbers for 04 (Rangers) 52 IP, 4.13 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.41 WHIP; 05 (Rangers) 73.1 IP, 5.51 ERA, 84 ERA+, 1.69 WHIP; 06 (Padres) and he was out most of the year because of needing coronary angioplasty – 28.3 IP, 4.76 ERA, 85 ERA+, 1.24 WHIP; 07 (Padres) 76.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 132 ERA+, 1.17 WHIP. He’s only pitched 6 innings at the Box in his career, so THAT wasn’t a factor. At least it is only a 1 year contract.

But I guess I’d better get down to the heart of the matter – the Astros have almost no one worth as much as a bucket of warm spit in the farm. We’re ranked dead last of all the ML teams, especially after last year’s debacle. But let’s be real here – as I’ve pointed out for the last 3 years, the Astros haven’t had much of a farm and have only produced 4 position players since the 2001 draft. This is not good.

Click here to read Jim Callis’ entire article from Baseball America.
Check this:
                  “…Houston has had to invest heavily on free agents to keep winning. That approach has proved costly, not only in terms of big league salaries but also in its affect on the club’s drafts.
In three of the last five drafts, the Astros have forfeited their first-round pick as free-agent compensation. McLane has become more reluctant to offer arbitration to his own free agents, so only once during that period has Houston received bonus choices of its own. He also has been increasing unwilling to buck MLB’s slot recommendations. All three of these factors resulted in a disastrous draft in 2007.

                  By signing Carlos Lee and Woody Williams as Type A free agents, the Astros surrendered their first two draft choices. Offering arbitration to three of their own Type A free agents Aubrey Huff, Andy Pettitte and Russ Springer was a low-risk proposition that could have yielded three first-round picks and three supplemental first-rounders, but Houston declined to do so. The Astros couldn’t try to compensate by drafting players with high price tags because McLane refused to exceed MLB’s guidelines.
           …Wade’s new scouting director is Bobby Heck, formerly the Eastern crosschecker for the Brewers. Heck contributed to a run of productive drafts in Milwaukee, but it’s doubtful the Astros farm system or major league club will rebound without a shift in philosophy.”

Well, yall been hearing this from me for over a year, and here is a well known expert in minor league baseball saying bout the same thing. Or you could say – you get what you pay for, and when you want Walmart prices, you get Walmart quality, and that ain’t winnin you no championship, Drayton!!!

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 prospects list:

The first 5 guys will start the year on the ML club, far as I can tell.

And as Troy Patton was called up last year to start in the rotation back in early August, I would say that putting him on this list as a “prospect” is really stretching it.

Costanzo, I’ve already talked about a few entries ago.

Bud Norris, will be 23 to start the year, was a 6th round pick in 06, just finished the year at A-ball with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.

Brad James, age 23, a 29th rounder in 04, RHP, split the year between A and AA – threw 49 innings at AA, ended up with a 5.17 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP and a 4.21 K/9 IP.

Chad Reinicke, RHP, will be 26 at the start of the year, threw 100 innings at AAA, with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP – 4.68 BB/9 and 8.55 K/9.

Eli Iorg, age 25, was our first rounder in 05, is an OF who had 162 AB at high A last year – he hit fine, had an .862 OPS before he was injured.

All yall notice that Sergio Perez, Brian Bogusevic and Max Sapp didn’t crack this list (our top 3 guys from the last 3 years.)

And here is the list of BA’s top Tools:
Some of the guys, like Jonny Ash and Tommy Manzella and Jordan Parraz aren’t even in the list of top 10 prospects.

Jonny Ash is a 26 year old second baseman who just finished repeating AA – his numbers were pretty much the same – an OPS of 778.

Tommy Manzella is a 25 year old SS who just finished AA with the line .289/.343/.372/.725 (sounds better than Iorg.)

Jordan Parraz, age 22, was a 3rd round pick in 04. His line at A-ball was .281/.364/..446/.810. Also sounds better than any of the pitchers as well as Iorg.

It’s pretty sad that there are exactly zero prospects at AAA. Of course, last year, there weren’t really any prospects at AAA either, except for Hunter Pence, the first month.

As for the MLE (major league equivalent) projections of both the major leaguers as well as minor league prospects, click here to read Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projections. An remember he is always, um, a bit pessimistic when it comes to the Astros.

11/25/07: He Put In His Thumb And Pulled Out A Blum

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I know that Orlando Palmeiro really isn’t a particularly good baseball player and is at the end of his career. I know that the Astros HAVE to assemble some sort of bench. I know that I have complained about the leadness of Mark Loretta’s glove and that his bat fades in the second half of the year if too heavily used in the first half.

But for the life of me, I can NOT understand why this club is so eager to throw Mike Lamb out on his butt. All I can think is that they want new guys on the team because the guys on the team last year lost.

Ed Wade has signed ex-Astro, Geoff Blum, a 34 year old switch hitting utility infielder – almost all games played at second, short and third with a couple in the OF and at first. He was last on the team in 2003, when Jimy Williams had him (for some unknown reason) platooning with Mo Ensberg back when Mo was good, in fact, was incredibly better than Blum. He was traded at the end of that year for Brandon Backe – yet another great Gerry Hunsicker pick up.

Sigh

Anyway,since then, he has posted OPS of .614, .696., .656 and .685 which are OPS+ of 61, 72, 75 and 84. Or (according to Lee Sinins) RCAA of -11/478 PA, -12/252 PA, -11/299 PA and -8/370 PA. Or a lifetime line of .251/.312/.386/.699. His 162 game seasonal averages are 473 AB, 40 BB, 80 K, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 7-8 GIDP, 55 RBI and 55 runs scored. And fans are complaining about Everett????

Oh yeah
- batting righty, lifetime line – .233/.295/.380/.675
- batting lefty, lifetime line – .256/.317/.388/.709
Mark Loretta, a righty, had -6 RCAA/511 PA with a line of .287/.352/.372/.724 with 23 doubles and 5 homers, 52 RS and 41 RBI.
Mike Lamb, a lefty, had 10 RCAA over 355 PA, with a line of .289/.339/.427/.819 with 14 doubles, 3 triples and 11 homers with 36 BB and 41 K. Yes, I know he can only play third and first and yes I know that he hits leftys VERY well.

Now I will admit that both Lamb and Loretta are terrible gloves, but Blum is not even league average at any position with the glove. Yes, I know he’s a much cheaper substitute for Loretta + Lamb, but he’s basically Eric Bruntlett with a lesser glove and a smaller paycheck. We need SOMEbody on the bench who can hit. Besides, Wiggy SHOULD be platooned: .848 OPS against leftys, .749 against rightys. You notice that both numbers are greater than Blum’s, right?

The supposed party line from the Organization is that both Lamb and Loretta are looking for starting positions and multi-year contracts. I must have read a kabillion A-Rod/Miggy Cabrera/Mike Lowell columns over the past few months which discuss all of the other options that teams have for third basemen and not a single one has mentioned Mike Lamb as a possible starting third baseman. He’s been tabbed as a platoon guy/bench hitter and at his age, he’s not likely to shake that one off.

Loretta is basically a singles hitter who doesn’t strikeout very much, but he couldn’t get ANY starting job last year and that was coming off an ALL-STAR (oh that is SOOOOOOO meaningful, playing for the popular kids) season. So exactly who is it that is dying to give these guys these multi-year contracts for regular jobs?

Answer – NOBODY!!! This is just flat out cheapness, getting crappy guys for peanuts to reduce payroll to maximize profits for McLane, let’s be real here.

Neither the players nor the mainstream media writers are saying much of anything about the fact that MLB pulled in over six BILLION dollars in income this year, forcing Bud Selig to admit that MLB is doing well, and that the players are taking only 41% of that sum (unlike every other professional team sport, in which the players take home well over 50% of the total take) which you best believe Bud Selig isn’t talking about. Only 7 years ago, the players took home 56% of the take. All I hear are complaints about the greedy ballplayers and their enormous salaries – so why am I not hearing complaints about the greedy OWNERS who keep increasing ticket prices in spite of the fact that their increasing percent of the take is enabling them to make much more money???!!!

The local Houston reporters barely mentioned last year that the Astros lowered payroll and they have barely mentioned that they are lowering it again this year in spite of the fact that they are raising ticket prices.

With the exception of the Mets and Cubs, all the National League clubs have lowered payroll over the past 4 years, but it has happened without much of any mention in the media. It seems as if most of the clubs have decided that all they need to do is make the playoffs and that they can do that with 85 or so wins, so why bother to actually have a great club?

It’s all about screwing the players, my friends, and the MLBPA has taken a seriously bad hit with all the steroid stuff, not just because they didn’t pretend to have a drug policy, as the NFL does, but because they didn’t protest the appointment of George Mitchell, a career politician who is on the board of directors of both ESPN and the Red Sox, as the person who is supposed to ferret out all the horrible ballplayers since time immemorial (since the last strike, that is) who – shudder – used drugs. Well, anabolic steroids (even before it was against MLB rules to used them, instituted in 2005.) And Growth Hormone, let’s not forget that evil drug, which turns Mario Mendozas into Barry Lamar Himself.

Between finally indicting Barry Lamar, the only ballplayer who ever did steroids or HGH (so they say), the epitome of everything that is wrong with baseball (except for Scott Boras, who commits the unspeakable act of trying to fulfill his clients wishes of getting the biggest contract/endorsements they possibly can.) You don’t see anyone heaping the kinds of invective and abuse upon roids users who have actually been caught with positive tests such as Ryan Franklin and JC Romero, do you?

Why am I mentioning all this? For the simple reason that the owners have FINALLY figured out how to make the ballplayers look bad to the public so they can get away with paying them less and keeping more of the profit for themselves while continuing to raise ticket prices.

Me, I am hoping the MLBPA will have the good sense to try to seek out some of the more reasonable mainstreamers and provide figures showing that the owners are making more of the profit and they are making less, so perhaps the owners will have to wait a little bit before crying poverty and continuing to make tickets too expensive for all but the corporations and the very rich and blaming it on the very people who are providing the entertainment.

I hear tell that McLane is planning on lowering the payroll again this year to 80 mill (approximately) in spite of the fact that the Astros pulled in over 3 million fans last year and in spite of the fact that he’s raising ticket prices. Let’s start demanding to know why he won’t sign decent bench players for a couple mill instead of the Blums and Abercrombies of the world. Yes, I know we don’t have anyone to trade for Miggy Cabrera or even Tejada, so I’m not complaining about that. And yes I am GLAD we didn’t sign either Linebrink or Cordero.

But we can’t get rid of 2 of the 5 guys on the team (Luke Scott and Mike Lamb) who actually had positive RCAA and still expect to actually score runs.

And what makes me sad is all the people who feel optimistic because Ed Wade, unlike Purpura, is doing SOMEthing, ANYthing…

Giving Thanks 11/24/07

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

It’s been a very busy week for the Gray family. I last looked at/listened to anything about baseball on Monday, then spent 2 solid days cooking and preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 16 adults and 14 children. It is truly a shame that so many of us forget that we should give thanks for more than the opportunity to freely eat unlimited amounts of food, knowing that it can’t be selfish or thoughtless, given the fact that there is more available than twice the number of people present could eat.

And of course, even though I was exhausted after the last guest FINALLY left, I just had to get up at an ungodly hour in the morning and rush right out with every other foolish female in the City of Houston to get those all important after Thanksgiving specials. Every year I swear I’m never going to do it again and every year I find myself joining my girlfriends and cousins as we all impersonate defensive ends rushing for a touchdown (and you thought that none of all that endless football could penetrate my impervious puss…)

Anyway, as I staggered to my car an hour or so before closing time and turned on ESPN radio and heard that Joe Kennedy, lefty reliever for some baseball team, just died from unknown causes. The man was just a year older than I am, and left a wife and year old baby. I started crying so hard I had to pull off the road and I bawled for a good 10 minutes before heading back home, still sobbing a little. I walked in the door, barely noticed that Husband had made sure the place was fairly clean and had already put kids to bed, and walked over to him and put my arms around him and started crying again. Joe Kennedy died, I sobbed, and his baby won’t never know him. Husband didn’t know who the heck Joe Kennedy was, but he kissed my head, looked at me for a minute, then said, you haven’t eaten all freaking day, have you? Good thing I got a plate for you all ready to heat up. Husband is a firm believer in eating first then talking later.

But maybe he wasn’t so dumb because I felt a little better after I forced down a little food – he was right, I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours, just after we left Macy’s and went, um, well, I’ve forgotten exactly where. It’s a jungle out there. But he did ask who Joe was and so I told him, then I explained that I was all crying and upset because I was suddenly afraid because it had hit me that we could lose the one we love most at any second for no reason in particular, just like poor Mrs. Kennedy. So he looked at me and smiled and said – aw Baby, dontchu worry, I ain’t goin nowheres. And I looked around and told him – thank you for cleaning up the mess and he looked at me and said – thank you for all the work you did for Thanksgiving and for putting up with Certain People in the house.

And so, you see, there really is a lot to be thankful for – a good and decent man for a husband, healthy children who are pretty good kids, a house to live in, heat and cooling, plenty of food, plenty of places to shop, good friends, family (even when they getting on your LAST nerve) and the privilege of living in this country at this time in history.

And of course, having a major league baseball team right here in my own city, let’s not forget the big stuff…
And of course, I’ll comment on the “action” and inaction that has occurred while I’ve been busy with family this past week.

11/18/07: Josh Anderson Traded For Righty Reliever Oscar Villarreal

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

I would guess that Josh Anderson is delirious with joy. Instead of being stuck in AAA for the rest of his life, he will (most likely) be the starting center fielder for the Atlanta Braves. He is most definitely no Andruw Jones with the bat – more like Otis Nixon, but he will be approximately 10-15 mill a year cheaper and that suits the Braves just fine.

Now they can spend that money to re-sign Texiera. That is, if they can. Boras has gotten a few hard knocks this year, first with the VERY badly timed announcement of A-rod opting out of his contract before the last game of the WS had even finished. Then Kenny Rogers fired him yesterday for trying to get him the best contract by shoppoing him to other suitors besides the Tigers.

But I digress….

Let’s take a look at Oscar Villareal, our new middle reliever. He just finished his 4th year, made 925K, so will most certainly get a raise. Ed Wade sure does like those expensive middle relievers, doesn’t he?
Anyway, Oscar Villarreal, age 26, RHP, was an undrafted FA from Mexico, signed by the Dbax in 1998. He first came up in 03, pitched 98 innings in relief with a 2.57 ERA, then 18 innings in 04, then 13.2 innings in 05. He must have been hurt, because he only threw an extra 10 innings in the minors each of those years.

At the end of the 05 season, he was traded with Lance Cormier to the Braves for Johnny Estrada. In 06, he threw 92 innings of 3.61 ERA ball over 58 games for a 123 ERA+ and he even started 4 games as an emergency starter (that was the year when the Braves had every starter except for Smoltz on the DL and any guy who could throw a ball was given at least one start. And they did as well as they did? Bobby Cox is freaking amazing. But I digress…) Anyway, last year, he was strictly a reliever, throwing 76.1 innings over 75 games with a 4.27 ERA or an ERA+ of 100.

It looks as if he’s going to be strictly a middle reliever, a 1 inning guy. Career, he has a 3.71 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP and a .252 BAA. Naturally, he’s more effective against rightys than leftys, but it’s not that extreme a split – 1.48 WHIP and a .269 BAA against leftys and a 1.25 WHIP and a .240 BAA vs rightys. He’s only thrown 8 innings in the Box, but he gave up 2 homers. That’s worse than Brad Lidge. hahahaha…

Let’s see, what else? Well, his ML average shows that he has a 6.49K/9IP, a 3.46 BB/9 IP and 0.91 HR/9 IP. He looks pretty average to me, and I’m guessing they are going to try to slot him in for the 7th inning or something. We’ll have to see. I suppose he could throw more than 1 inning, he IS pretty young and it was just in 06 that he did that. We’ll have to see.

In the meantime it is now necessary for me to pimp myself and tell all yall that I was interviewed by Devin Clancy for this week’s sports weekly’s series on baseball bloggers. I’m on page 39. Check it out.

And hope all yall will forgive me this next week if I am a little long in responding to comments or even in posting – got Thanksgiving coming up and I’m getting ready with a LOT of cooking and then right after that is the High Holy Day of American Females and I hope HOPE there won’t be a repeat of last year when I came home dragging my dead tired broke ass and had to write about the folly of signing Carlos Lee to a 6 year deal…

11/17/07: Available Minor League Free Agents

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

A-Rod and his enormous ego, I mean contract, has taken 99% of the baseball space since the last day of the WS, but he’s back in Yankeeland where his ego can best be stroked. Goody for him.

Back to Astros. As all yall know, after ballplayers serve 6 years in the minors, they become free agents, they just don’t command A-Rod salaries. Every now and then, one is picked from obscurity and contributes to a ML roster, just not often because these are the Cody Ransom type guys who populate the AAA lifers list. And some guys are old major leaguers who lost it and can’t bring themselves to retire from baseball, such as Rheal Cormier, who I bring up because I am terrified that Ed Wade will see his old bud and sign him for 3 years/12 mill or something.

I am always surprised by how many guys I see on these lists every years who were first rounders who never made the bogs, like Bobby Brownlie. Or brief shooting stars who were even ML All-Stars, like Ken Harvey (no I am NOT kidding.) Or guys who were good, got hurt, and never were able to regain their previous form, like Zach Day.

See if any of yall can find anyone on this list you would want the Astros to offer a Spring Training invite or even minor league contract to. In my opinion, the best of the lot is Tim Raines, Jr. and we ALREADY know what the Organization thinks of him…

Amazing how few second basemen there are on this list. Remember when Junior Spivey was supposed to be the next Jeff Kent (bat, not personality?)
I also looked through the list of lefties to see if there might could be anyone besides Phil Barzilla. I think that perhaps Brian Shackelford might work as a LOOGY.

Personally, I think we have enough AAAA/#5 type starters that we don’t need to waste money on a lot of expensive middle relievers, but I definitely DO know Ed Wade’s weakness.

Here is the list from Baseball America, rearranged and alphabetized.
1B: Andy Abad, Jeff Bailey, Kevin Barker, Brett Bonvechio, Tagg Bozied, Gary Burnham, Michael Collins, Erubiel Durazo, Jeff Eure, Mike Eylward, John Gall, Jesse Gutierrez, Ken Harvey, Luis Jimenez, Michael Johnson, Lance Niekro, Valentino Pascucci, Aaron Rifkin, Casey Rogowski, Randy Ruiz, Todd Sears, Earl Snyder, Andy Tracy, John Urick, Tyler Von Schell

2B: Brent Abernathy, William Bergolla, Jason Bourgeois, Brent Butler, Gary Cates, Brooks Conrad, J.E. Cruz, Dan Dement, Jesse Garcia, Jake Gautreau, Carlos Leon, Derin McMains, Frank Menechino, Lorenzo Mercado, Adam Morrissey, Peeter Ramos, Drew Saylor, Bobby Scales, Steven Smith, Junior Spivey, Greg Thissen

SS: Manny Alexander, Jason Alfaro, Jeff Bannon, Chris Barnwell, Wilson Batista, Andres Blanco, Andy Cannizaro, Angel Chavez, Brandon Chaves, Caonabo Cosme, Gookie Dawkins, Melvin Dorta, Trent Durrington, Matt Erickson, Felix Fermin, Osvaldo Fernandez, Rodney Choy Foo, Tony Granadillo, Javier Guzman, Bo Hart, Jose Hernandez, Aaron Herr, Mark Kiger, Danny Klassen, John Labandeira, Anderson Machado, Dave Matranga, Manny Mayorson, Henry Mateo, Anthony Medrano, Victor Mercedes, Ronnie Merrill, John Nelson, Tim Olson, Gary Patchett, Kenny Perez, Tomas Perez, John Raburn, Argenis Reyes, Eric Riggs, Ed Rogers, Mike Rouse, Rex Rundgren, Oscar Salazar, Jose Santos, Luis Sierra, Gil Velazquez, Rico Washington, Derek Wathan, Marcos Yepez

3B: Bryan Bass, Tony Blanco, Jolbert Cabrera, Yurendell de Caster, Luis Castillo, Mike Cervenak, Julio Cordido, Rob Cosby, Keith Ginter, Joey Hammond, Brett Harper, Vince Harrison, John Hattig, Royce Huffman, Russ Johnson, Tripper Johnson, Brennan King, Mike Kinkade, Justin Leone, Carlos Mendoza, Marshall McDougall, Jeff Nettles, Luis Ordaz, Doug Reinhardt, Juan Richardson, Mayo Santana, Scott Seabol, Aaron Sisk, Fernando Tatis, Terry Tiffee, Chris Truby, Glenn Williams

C: Danny Ardoin, Alan Atacho, Ben Blumenthal, Jean Boscan, Juan Brito, Jason Brown, Ciro Caldera, Raul Chavez, Ryan Christianson, Cody Collet, Alberto Conception, Reece Creswell, Einar Diaz, Tommy Duenas, Brian Esposito, Omar Falcon, Danny Fatheree, Iker Franco, Jeremy Frost, Hector Gimenez, Wiki Gonzalez, Todd Greene, Edwards Guzman, Brandon Harper, Justin Hatcher, Chris Haupt, Michel Hernandez, Jason Hill, Stephen Holm, Ken Huckaby, Craig Hurba, Josh Johnson, Mark Johnson, Justin Knoedler, Fernando Lunar, Mike Mahoney, Salomon Manriquez, Octavio Martinez, Sandy Martinez, Carlos Mendez, Corky Miller, Chad Moeller, Gustavo Molina, Corey Myers, Denny Nino, Luis Oliveros, Dave Parrish, Salvador Paniagua, Miguel Perez, Brian Peterson, Jose Reyes, Rene Rivera, Joel Roa, Nelson Robledo, Mike Rose, Danilo Sanchez, Tino Sanchez, Omir Santos, Dane Sardinha, Ray Serrano, Ryan Smith, Steve Torrealba, Dusty Wathan, Eli Whiteside

OF: Chris Aguila, Cory Aldridge, Matt Allegra, Erold Andrus, Chris Ashby, Brooks Badeaux, Jarred Ball, Peter Bergeron, Larry Bigbie, Joe Borchard, Shaun Boyd, Josh Burrus, Vic Buttler, Francisco Caraballo, Matt Cepicky, Ender Chavez, Doug Clark, Jeremy Cleveland, Ambiorix Conception, Brad Correll, Jorge Cortes, Elvis Cruz, Jose Cruz, Ron Davenport, Frank Diaz, Jason Dubois, David Espinoza, Jesus Feliciano, Alex Fernandez, Jason Fransz, Rapheal Freeman, Steve Garrabrants, Shawn Garrett, Archie Gilbert, Tyrel Godwin, Adam Greenberg, Rudy Guillen, Noah Hall, Chad Hermanson, Luke Hetherington, Nic Jackson, Greg Jacobs, Onil Joseph, Kenny Kelly, Cory Keylor, Rubi Koko, George Lombard, Jose Macias, Dennis Malave, Alexis Marte, Luis Matos, Bill McCarthy, Brandon McConnell, Matt Meath, Jackson Melian, Angel Molina, Luis Montanez, Chad Mottola, Tommy Murphy, Miguel Negron, Abraham Nunez, Trent Oltjen, Jeremy Owens, Jonel Pacheco, Matt Padgett, Jorge Padilla, Greg Porter, Curtis Pride, Tim Raines, Jr., Yordany Ramirez, Prentice Redman, Kevin Reese, Chris Richard, Arturo Rivas, J.D. Roberts, Michael Rodriguez, Yuber Rodriguez, Brett Roneberg, Wilkin Ruan, Jim Rushford, Michael Ryan, Ray Sadler, Alex Sanchez, Adam Shabala, Sean Smith, Carlos Sosa, Jamal Strong, Ovandy Suero, Pedro Swann, Charles Thomas, Rich Thompson, Andres Torres, Jonathan Van Every, Mike Vento, Jon Weber, Anthony Webster, Barry Wesson, Kevin West, Marland Williams, Craig Wilson, Ruddy Yan, Ernie Young

RHP: Paul Abraham, Richard Acosta, Carlos Almanzar, Basilio Alvarez, Steve Andrade, Rick Asadoorian, Jonathan Asahina, Ezequiel Astacio, Ryan Baerlocher, Federico Baez, Eddy Baeza, Jeff Bajenaru, Chris Baker, Cory Bailey, Brad Baker, John Barnes, Derek Barrows, Brian Bass, Rick Bauer, Kenny Baugh, Jentry Beckstead, Cibney Bello, Francis Beltran, Yesson Berroa, Ivan Blanco, Carlos Bohorquez, Henry Bonilla, Kip Bouknight, Dewon Brazelton, Michael Bumstead, Hector Carrasco, Hugo Castellanos, Ken Chenard, Mark Corey, Tristan Crawford, Zach Day, Eddie de la Cruz, Julio de la Cruz, Noel de Leon, Richard de los Santos, Dan Denham, Felix Diaz, Jose Diaz, R.A. Dickey, Jake Dittler, Juan Done, Rich Dorman, Chris Farley, Jeff Farnsworth, Josh Fields, Daniel Foli, Jesse Foppert, Jeff Fulchino, Chris Fussell, Angel Garcia, Felipe Garcia, Rosman Garcia, Franklyn German, Brian Gordon, Dan Giese, Roberto Giron, Steve Green, Lee Gronkiewicz, Kevin Gryboski, Marcus Gwyn, Luther Hackman, Beau Hale, Josh Hall, Chad Harville, Ben Hendrickson, Matt Hensley, Buddy Hernandez, Joe Hietpas, Carlos Hines, Trey Hodges, Ben Howard, Travis Hughes, David Humen, Yusaku Iriki, Landon Jacobsen, Jeremy Johnson, William Juarez, Donald Julio, Jason Karnuth, Steven Kelly, Beau Kemp, Tim Kester, Sun Woo Kim, Matt Kinney, Gary Knotts, Mike Koplove, Tim Lavigne, Brian Lawrence, Justin Lehr, Pedro Liriano, Spike Lundberg, Warner Madrigal, Jim Magrane, Pat Mahomes, Anastacio Martinez, Roman Martinez, Tim McClaskey, Zach McClellan, Alex McRobbie, German Melendez, Josh Miller, Alan Mills, Andy Mitchell, Victor Moreno, Cory Morris, T.J. Nall, Clint Nageotte, Mike Nannini, Blaine Neal, Bubba Nelson, Javier Nieves, Sandy Nin, Vladimir Nunez, Wes Obermueller, Alvis Ojeda, Jose Paniagua, Scott Patterson, Tony Peguero,† Marcelo Perez, Vince Perkins, Matt Peterson, Cliff Politte, Justin Pope, Bret Prinz, Corey Ragsdale, Aaron Rakers, Elizardo Ramirez, Ismael Ramirez, Sendy Rleal, Raul Rivas, Jason Roach, Jake Robbins, Eddy Rodriguez, Jose Rodriguez, Chris Rojas, Orlando Roman, Felix Romero, Levi Romero, Chris Russ, Dushan Ruzic, Brian Sanches, Julio Sanchez, Juan Sandoval, Jose Santiago, Arthur Santos, Mike Schultz, Jonathan Searles, Alex Serrano, Jimmy Serrano, Steven Shell, Eduardo Sierra, Jesus Silva, Alfredo Simon,  Mike Smith, Jud Songster, Matt Sweeney, Dennis Tankersley, Ferdin Tejeda, Mike Thompson, Corey Thurman, Heath Totten, Geurys Trinidad, Scott Tyler, Edward Valdez, Luis Valdez, Rafael Vargas, Jorge Vasquez, Ronnie Ventura, Doug Waechter, John Wasdin, Jim Ed Warden, Steve Watkins, Charles Weatherby, John Webb, John Wesley, Wes Wilkerson, Jerome Williams, Todd Williams, Jim Wladyka, Jason Wylie, Jeremy Zick, Rob Zimmermann, Alec Zumwalt

LHP: Oscar Alvarez, Phillip Barzilla, Jonathan Beltre, Tim Bittner, Eude Brito, Frank Brooks, Adrian Burnside, Troy Cate, Juan Cedeno, Brandon Claussen, Michael Connolly, Jon Connolly, Rheal Cormier, Adam Cox, Eric Cyr, Vic Darensbourg, Allen Davis, Eric Dubose, Shawn Estes, Casey Fossum, Mike Gallo, Dave Gassner, Chris George, Mariano Gomez, Luis Gonzalez, Hipolito Guerrero, Lindsay Gulin, Mike Hinckley, Ben Julianel, Chris Key, Ryan Knippschild, Ben Kozlowski, Robert Lee, Wes Letson, Jeremy Lewis, Arturo Lopez, Nikolas Lubisich, Corwin Malone, Charlie Manning, Jo Matumoto, Blake McGinley, Ricardo Morales, Ryan O’Malley, Chris Michalak, Chris Narveson, Jose Ortiz, Ian Ostlund, Carlos Perez, Adam Pettyjohn, Paulino Reynoso, Scott Rice, Matt Riley, Ricardo Rincon, Scott Sauerbeck, Brian Shackelford, Enyelbert Soto, Michael Tejera, Brad Thomas, Joe Torres, Raul Valdes, Mike Venafro, Luis Villareal, Jason Waddell, Kevin Walker, Chris Waters, Cory Willey, Randy Williams, Ryan Wing

Baseball Players I Love

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Check out my top 10 list here.

Tell me about your favorite baseball players. And if you want to include Dottie Schroeder, well, I DO understand.

11/12/07: Bourn Again, Past And Future

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Michael Bourn is slated to be the Astros starting center fielder in April, 2008.
Let’s take a look at his offensive production:

First, in the minors, ignoring A ball (65% of his games were in AA) from thebaseballcube.com:
05 AA: .268/.348/.364/.712 – 146/544 with 18 2B, 8 3B, 6HR, 63BB, 123K, 38/12 SB/CS, 80 RS in 135 games
06 AA: .274/.350/374/.715 – 87/318 with 6 2B, 5 3B, 4HR, 36BB, 67K, 30/4 SB/CS, 62 RS over 80 games
06 AAA: .276/.362/.421/.783 – 42/152 with 5 2B, 7 3B, 1 HR, 20BB, 33 K, 15/1 SB/CS, 34 RS over 38 games.
- these numbers are not league adjusted and Reading AA is a hitter’s park with a park factor of 1.04.

So, in 253 games he had 275/1014 – 1141 PA, with 29 doubles, 20 triples, 11 HR, 119BB, 223K, 83/17 SB/CS with 176 RS over 253 games.

Normalized to a 162 game season, I get .271/.345/.378/.723 – 1141 PA, with 19 doubles, 13 triples, 7 HR, 76 BB, 143K, 53/11 SB/CS with 113 RS.

Again, most of these numbers are from AA – he had only 172 PA at AAA in his career. It is very unusual for a ballplayer to consistently hit better in the majors than he did at AA – it’s possible, but unusual, both because the pitchers in the majors are significantly better and the fielders are significantly better as well.

In the major leagues, he’s had 144 PA, 133 in 07 and 11 in 06 over 122 total games. In order to more accurately look at the offense he generated from a plate appearance, I’ve reviewed every game in which he appeared last year (ignoring 06 in which he had only 17 PA) to eliminate his stolen base and runs scored from pinch running appearances.

He appeared in 105 games total last year, was strictly a defensive replacement in 15, was strictly a pinch runner in 8, in which he stole 3 bases and scored 1 run, and a PR/DR in 8 more in which he stole 2 bases and scored 2 runs. Therefore, he had actual plate appearances in 74 games, and he started 13 of those.

So he had 119 AB/133 PA, with 33 hits, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 13 BB, 21 K, 13 SB, 1 CS and 26 RS for a line of .277/.348/.378/.727 over 74 games.

So predictions are being made based on 969 PA at AA, 172 PA at AAA and 144 PA in the majors. Not much to go on, really, is it. He is 25, and I do think that it is safe to say that it is doubtful that Bourn will hit a lot of home runs, short RF porch notwithstanding and I also doubt that he will GIDP very often. I find it difficult to believe that he will hit better than he did in the minors, or will be walked as often, as he has essentially doubles power and he won’t be pitched around. Also, unlike Willy Taveras, Michael doesn’t bunt for a significant percentage of his hits.

Now, if the questions is asked – how will his production compare to Luke Scott’s?

Well, Luke had an .855 OPS with a .504 SLG over 132 games and 369 AB. He created 13 runs in approximately half the AB he should have had if he had played full time, and 25 of those games/PA were pinch hit appearances and Luke is a terrible pinch hitter.

Michael Bourn created 1 RCAA in those 74 games/133 PA, so if he hit exactly the same, would be expected to create 6 runs above average playing every day. Not exactly Luke.

As for fielding, well, Michael played only 56 innings in center and I can’t judge him from that. I hear tell from all the Philly fans that he’s really good, so I hope they are right. However, Luke isn’t exactly a bad glove – according to thehardballtimes.com, of NL RF who have played at least 500 innings in right, his RZR is .918, tied with Ethier for the best, and he had 8 assists and only 3 errors (one of which should have been assigned to the fielder who didn’t make the easy play he should have – I think it was Lamb at third.)

And Pence was decent in center with a RZR of .885, actually better than Willy.

Again, I think it is very VERY hard to predict what Bourn will do with the bat because there is so little on which to base a prediction, other than to say he’s not going to hit many homers. I must say I have no idea why any prediction system is convinced that he will outperform his AA stats.

11/8/07: Ed Wade – On The Lidge Of Reason

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

The trade:
Brad Lidge (last year of arbitration) earned 5.35 mill last year + Eric Bruntlett, 1st year arb, earned 525K last year, utility guy who can play any position except pitcher and catcher
Michael Bourn (finished 1st year in the ML, paid 380K) + Geoff Geary (837,500K) 1st arb year + minor league 3B Mike Costanzo

Not explicitly stated is that now the Astros will have to spend serious bucks on a closer, which will not be cheap, and will be replacing Luke Scott’s production with Michael Bourn’s. Also not explicitly stated is that Brett Myers will be able to start next year, so the Phils just saved themselves the trouble of having to find a good ML starter.

So let’s take a look. In terms of money, well, even if Lidge is paid 6.5 mill and Bruntlett 1 mill, the Phils will owe only that 7.5 mill this year and if they offer Lidge arbitration at the end of the season, will get 2 draft picks. They also acquired a good ML starter free of charge. Not bad.
The Astros substitute Michael Bourn for Luke Scott (no real savings there), acquire a somewhat cheap middle reliever who will probably earn 1.5 mill next year, a minor league 3B AND must find a closer somewhere and IF they get Coco Cordero, as I’ve heard they want to, will be paying him at LEAST 8 mill a year for at LEAST 3 years if not more. No savings. On the other hand, they might could trade Luke Scott for a closer, but I wouldn’t count on it seeing as how they obviously don’t think Luke is worth anything much.

I doubt they intend to use Bourn as a 4th OF and pinch runner, as the Phillies did, even though they might, but I suspect they mean to use him as the new full time CF and move Pence to right. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to use Luke as the new Orlando Palmeiro, which would be a seriously stupid decision, as he’s a lousy pinch hitter.

But anyway, let’s look at some numbers:

Eric Bruntlett, age 30 in March, started the year in the minors, but ended up having 165 PA, actually more than last year. He went 34/138 with 5 doubles and no homers, 20 BB, 27 K and 1 GIDP. He’s an unusually patient hitter and has averaged over 4 pitches/PA during his 5 years in the majors. His glove is adequate almost anywhere and he is surprisingly fast in the OF. His line .246/.346/.283/.629 (last year) and according to Lee Sinins, had a (-)6 RCAA.

Brad Lidge, age 31, (who is going to be delighted with pitching in Philly where the extraordinarily polite fans never boo pitchers who blow saves) really could use a change of scenery as too many Astros fans are going to throw rotten tomatoes at him if he ever gives up another homer again and are going to insist that Albert destroyed his mind. Or something. Anyway, his line last year between closing and pitching in middle relief: 54H, 25 ER, 9 HR, 30 BB, 88 K over 67 IP with 19 saves, 7 holds and 8 BS and a 3.36 ERA. Lee Sinins has him with 6 RSAA.

Michael Bourn, age 25, lefty bat, had 33 H, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 13 BB, 21 K, 1 GIDP over 133 PA, 29 runs, 18 SB, 1 CS – his line .277/.348/.378/.726 and he had 1 RCAA according to Lee Sinins. If he played full time, I would expect roughly 5 times as many PA, and so this would be 15 doubles, 15 triples (yeh, sure) 5 homers, 65 BB, 105 K, 5 GIDP, 90 SB, 5 CS and 145 runs scored. Giggle. Well, I seriously doubt 15 triples or 90 SB or 145 RS. I’m not understanding how he’s any different from Josh Anderson. Ah well. Yet another Astro left to rot in AAA, unless they have the sense to trade him, seeing as how he’s otherwise useless and there is more than one team who WANTS a CF and doesn’t want to spend FA money – can you say White Sox?

Geoff Geary, age 31, righty reliever. Can you say Brian Moehler/Joe Borkowski only 5 years younger? In 57 games over 67.1 IP, 72 H, 30 ER, 8 HR, 25 BB, 38 K, 9 H, 3 BS, 4.41 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .283 BAA and 1 RSAA. Last year, he was tougher on leftys than rightys, but his career stats are about equal. He had a great year in 06, but apparently he lost both velocity and command last year (according to a private email I received from a Phillies fan.) Who knows what he can do with a new pitching coach? I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Mike Costanzo, the minor league 3B. Completed his year at AA Reading (a hitters’ park) and his line reads 137/508 AB with 29 doubles and 27 homers, 75 BB, 157 K, (27% K in 583 PA) 86 RBI over 137 games – .270/.368/.490/.858. And here is what poster “bad doctor” #113 on BTF had to say about Constanzo and the homer factor at Reading:

“Didn’t Dan mention a ridiculous HR factor for Reading? That would strongly affect the perceived value of a TTO guy ( 3 true outcomes, meaning a ballplayer like adam dunn who mostly either walks, strikes out or homers – a bad contact hitter who also probably has a lot of GIDP) like Costanzo especially. FWIW, he was .279/.394/.538 with 17 HR in 251 AB at Reading and .259/.339/.432 with 9 HR in 243 AB on the road. As a team, Reading hit 55 HR at home, 33 on the road (in = AB) … pitchers allowed 1.01 HR/9 at home, 0.84 HR/9 on the road.”

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently referred to Costanzo’s defense as “impersonating a lawn ornament.” Great. He had 34 errors last year (and 30 the year before)and all yall KNOW how generous scorers are with hits. In other words, he doesn’t look like Jeff Bagwell, who was acknowledged to have an excellent glove at third. And we don’t exactly have room at 1B in the majors.

So what do I think? Well, it depends what we get for Luke Scott and Josh Anderson – they had BETTER be traded as there is no point in not trading them and it depends whether or not we spend a hellacious amount of money on a “proven closer” so as far as I’m concerned, the dealin ain’t done. If Josh Anderson rots in AAA, Luke rots on the bench and we sign some 10 mill a year for 5 years closer, then this trade makes the Jennings trade look good.

For a different prospective on this trade, click here to read Nate Silver’s analysis from Baseball Prospectus Unfiltered. He thinks the Phils got the short end of the stick in the trade and here is what he thinks about Bourn and Costanza:

                 “Is that (getting Lidge for one year at 6+ mill plus the 2 picks at the end of the year if they offer him arbitration) worth giving up two good prospects in the form of Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo? No, and it isn’t close. Costanzo is not a Grade-A prospect, but he had a very solid year in Reading, where his 27 home runs placed him second in the Eastern League. That translates to a .263 EqA in our hot-off-the-presses Davenport Translations, indicating that he could be a major league average third baseman right about now, probably along the lines of a Steve Buechele type of player, which would be very encouraging for a 24-year-old.”

- He doesn’t note that Reading is an extreme hitters’ park and Constanzo has an extremely high K rate and that he can’t catch a cold and seems headed for first or DH. He also forgets that Brett Myers is FAR more valuable as a starter than closer and that Philly has seemingly added a starter without giving anything up or paying FA prices.

          “Bourn, meanwhile, has less upside but more locked-in value, and by all signs is poised for a 3-5 year run as a league-average center fielder. Projected by PECOTA for a .271/.346/.401 performance prior to the start of the season, he spent the entire year on the Phillies bench, essentially matching his projection with a .277/.353/.378 batting line over 119 at-bats. Although those batting numbers are superficially unimpressive, consider that the average National League center fielder posted a .273/.336/.426 batting line last year, which is highly comparable in value to Bourn’s. Bourn also accumulated 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts, a remarkable record for a player that was usually coming in cold as a pinch-runner in obvious stealing situations. Essentially, he’s the player that Juan Pierre is supposed to be.”

- AND he has a strong and accurate arm, too. Not that that is a particular interest of BP. I have heard from just about every Phillies fan that Bourn is a great center fielder and that he is fast and a SMART baserunner. Better than Willy Taveras by FAR. But not better than Luke Scott. Unfortunately.

11/7/07: Roger Clemens Comes Back To Houston!!!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

As a consultant, that is.
Ain’t I a stinkah???

Actually, he’s starting his personal services contract, which runs 10 years. According to ESPN.com, “He’s moving toward retirement and leaving open the possibility of playing,” agent Randy Hendricks said. “As Roger has stated several times, he’s failed at retirement repeatedly.”

The usual Roger. What else is new.

But he was hurt an awful lot of last year and as he did the past 3 years, he wore down with leg problems and was useless in the postseason. Well, he wasn’t TOTALLY useless in 2005 – that 3 inning relief appearance in the famous 18 inning game is my favorite Roger performance of all time, especially the part where he is jubilant, surrounded by a zillion reporters, and pulls Chris Burke front and center and says – well, how about this kid?

Roger might could be a money hungry publicity craving kind of guy, but there is no doubt he’s a very good teacher and he LIKES working with the young pitchers. With all the young guys on the team, we really could use his help.

I seriously doubt Roger is going to pitch again this year, but with that guy, youneverknow. I hope he’s gotten himself a better phone is all I can say…

Well, I can say more (hey, I’m a grrrrl, it’s what we do) but I’m going to mostly quote Tim Marchman, one of my 5 favorite baseball writers (the others are, as all yall know, Jeff Kallman, Jeff Angus, John Brattain and Joe Posnaski). Now he’s talking about his baseball team, the Mets, but with a few little changes, it sure sounds like the Astros. Check it out:

“And after an old team enjoyed a brief period of success, the team fired their brilliant manager GM and spent several years trying to contend by replacing (good) old players with older, lesser players. All of this culminated in the Scott Kazmir Jason Jennings trade, (one of) the worst in franchise history.”

“It is clear, then, that the Mets Astros will at least attempt to meet this year’s epic collapse with some equally epic display of idiocy. Doing something even if that something makes no sense is as much a team tradition as Kiner’s Korner ‘Deep In The Heart Of Texas’ and the heartbreaking playoff loss bullpen save blowing tradition. Perhaps a weak free agent market and a trade market in which the Mets Astros don’t have the young players to compete will keep them from harming themselves, but they will surely try.”

He’s a really good writer, isn’t he? And if I say – I couldn’t have said it better my own self, well, it’s true.