We all have a basic belief system that enables us to make decisions on what works in our daily lives. Even though at WCW there is a widely varied point of view on politics, music, food, etc, the thing that has brought us here to congregate is sabremetrics baseball. The father of sabremetrics is the Reverend Bill James.
I bring this up because the team that Mr. James consults for, the Boston Red Sox, made a significant trade today. Their GM, Theo Epstein, decided to send Nomar Garciaparra (.867 OPS) away and getting in return, Orlando Cabrera (.634 OPS) and Doug Mientkiewicz (.703).
Mr. Epstein was quoted as saying he made the trade because “I thought there was a flaw on the club that we couldn’t allow to become a fatal flaw, that the defense on this team is not championship caliber. In my mind we were not going to win a World Series with our defense the way it was.”
Now to be fair, Cabrera and Mientkiewicz should be expected to have OPS’ of around .780 apiece, by looking at past performance, but then Nomar’s would be above .900, if we use that formula. It also should be mentioned that Cabrera’s defense has went downhill since his back injury, a couple of years ago, so his defensive superiority is questionable.
My biggest issue is that how can Bill James stand by quietly, while a trade is made which in many ways is a refutation of his life’s work. It’s almost like if Darwin was alive today and he just decided to sit one out, because his boss decided that evolution was a bit overrated. Now perhaps I’m being too strong here, but with the Twins continuing to thumb their noses at Moneyball tactics and doing it very successfully, I’m starting to question the core of my baseball beliefs.
Maybe I wouldn’t be as depressed over this whole deal, if my favorite team, the White Sox, weren’t going in the crapper, the team I dislike the most, the Cubs, were making a great trade based on my most fervent baseball principles, and the only other team not based in Chicago that has as strong of claim as being cursed in post-season, the Red Sox, deciding to embrace fielding over scoring runs. (I mean an infield of Mientkiewicz, Pokey Reese, Cabrera, and Bill Mueller. I think even Tinkers, Evers, and Chance had better power numbers during the dead-ball era than this “fearsome foursome”.)
Is the world flat? Is Christina Aguilera’s vocal range flat? Is Pamela Anderson’s chest flat? I would have said no in the past, but now, I’m starting to question everything. Pastor James, I need your guidance.