Tuesday Morning Quarterback

When second-guessing GM’s moves, I try to wait awhile, as like in the Keith Foulke/Billy Koch deal, you often don’t know how it will how it shake out down the line. (see Neal Cotts) Having said this, I do think when conventional wisdom believes the acquisition sucked from the beginning, there is a shorter time table on calling it a bad deal.

OK, so we’re only a month and a half into the season, but the Cubs new savior at the lead-off position, Juan Pierre is killing them. Considering that Pierre had a career OPS of .723 which includes 2 full years in Colorado and very few of us in the sabermetrical world saw this deal as a good one. While the Cubs I’m sure were looking for their own top of the order jolt, which happened cross-town with Scott Podsednik, outside of similar OPS, they are not the same. Podsednik is a better defensive player and most importantly, had a salary more than 1/5th the price of Pierre’s. While I realize it wasn’t a great market for free-agent outfielders this past off-season, trying to force a fit with Pierre is a move which smelled of desperation.

The 3 off-season moves that I was most critical of in 2005 were Russ Ortiz, Jason Kendall, and Adrian Beltre. All 3 have been huge busts and the GM’s who made these deals have to be called out, considering how much their salaries continue to hurt their team’s productivity. The 3 players I mentioned as bad signings before this season were Jarod Washburn, Troy Glaus, and A.J. Burnett. So far, Washburn has been decent and Glaus has been excellent, while Burnett has already went down with an injury. At this time next year, we will have a better feel for how these acquisitions truly grade out. While it’s early, I just don’t see where there is much question on how Juan Pierre’s deal will be evaluated.

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On the subject of the Cubs, it’s got to be extra torture this year, with the defending World Champions White Sox adding to the perpetual Wrigley agony with the best record in baseball. In the past, the Sox/Cubs inter-league games had a college football feel, with both teams treating the games as their own World Series, since they both had to realize their past histories were going to keep them from visiting the real one. This year is different, as even if the unlikely event happens that the Cubs sweep the upcoming series, it won’t be that big of a deal, as the White Sox and their fans have the recent memory of World Championship ecstasy, plus the future reality of being a contender again in 2006. Come on Cubs, your ineptitude is making it hard for White Sox fans to hate you.

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File this under embarassment. Quite possibly the worst show on televsion could be the MTV disaster, “Parental Control”. It saddens me to say that I can’t turn away from this program when I flipping around, despite me realizing I lose brain cells at a rapid rate everytime I catch it. On second thought, the worst show on TV is the other dating disaster which airs on the no music-music channel, “Date My Mom”, which has creepy written all over it. It’s like a MILF porn movie done without the sex, which is about the only redeeming value of the whole MILF scenario. What is most amazing about “Date My Mom” is that the acting is worse than porn. Please don’t watch these shows, as I would feel more guilty about being the person who had gotten someone hooked on them then I would getting someone hooked on crack.

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Quick Music Reviews:

After how much I loved the 2004 release by Snow Patrol, (No. 3 on my year-end list), I was really looking forward to their newest offering, “Eyes Open”. Unfortunately, it’s a letdown from “Final Straw”. The band still has the transcendent quality that few bands are able to manage, but this time around the record lacks the anthemic hooks that got them a place opening for U2 on their “Vertigo” tour. While “Eyes Open” has some tracks worth listening to, it’s overall mediocrity just makes me more excited for their Scottish breathren Muse’s newest offering, which is set to come out July 3rd.

Neil Young’s latest, “Living with War”, just might be the best political rant I’ve ever heard from a major artist. I love how a guy over the age of 60 can be still so pointed and angry, like George Carlin with a guitar. Having said this I can’t say I will probably listen to the CD more than twice, as Neil Young’s vocals are not something my ears want to hear anything new from. If I’m in the mood, I can listen to “Decade” and love it, but unfair or not, I just can’t see myself ever hearing anything new of Neil’s and wanting to hit the replay button. Ever since he came out with one of the great rock songs of all-time, “Rockin’ in the Free World”, I just haven’t been moved to listen to his newer work, outside of a couple of times. The lyrics to “Living with War” deserve to be heard by a larger audience. I wish Young would have called up some of his rock friends to sing on it with him, as then it would have been a recording I could be more passionate about.

9 thoughts on “Tuesday Morning Quarterback

  1. 2.  Hmm, meanwhile with all of his NBA and NHL coverage recently one might think Bob is angling for the coveted title of Sports Guy…

    Hey Scott, there is a solution to that problems the Cubs currently have. It may have to wait til next season though, OR October:

    #115 – Pedro Martinez has been quoted as saying “Wake up the darn Bambino, maybe I’ll drill him in the booty.” Cole Hamels laughs at these silly hypotheticals.

    During his first start at Yankee Stadium, Cole Hamels has plans to throw a pitch faster than the speed of light. This pitch will travel back in time to September 29, 1932, and drill the Bambino in the booty, thus preventing him from playing in the rest of the World Series. Not only that, but Cole Hamels will calibrate his speed so perfectly that it strikes Ruth in the middle of his 7th-inning at-bat against spitballer Burleigh Grimes, thus maximizing the plausibility of the situation.

    Grimes will be kicked out of baseball, and the Cubs will win the 1932 World Series. And in 2006 the Phillies, rather than the Cubs, will be the National League’s “lovable losers” media darling. Except that unlike the Cubs, they will not suck.

    http://www.ColeHamelsFacts.com

  2. 3.  Troy Glaus arrived at Toronto in a trade. One that involved Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson going to Arizona.

  3. 4.  For the record:

    Podsednik
    2005 : .290/.351/.349, .299 EqA (+11 FRAA)
    2006 PECOTA: .274/.336/.374, .272 EqA (-1 FRAA)

    Pierre
    2005 : .276/.326/.354, .286 EqA (-11 FRAA)
    2006 PECOTA: .297/.348/.361, .298 EqA (-6 FRAA)

    Podsednik had a great season in 2003, and it’s been mostly downhill since then. Pierre, on the other hand, had very good 2003 and 2004 seasons before struggling in 2005. He’s also 2 years younger than Scotty P. In fairness, most of Pierre’s value is tied up in his batting average and speed but A) he hit over .300 for 2 years despite playing in Miami and B) his Speed score was acutally higher in 2005 than in either of the previous years. Heck, in 2004 he was the best full-season CF in the NL not named Jim Edmonds. While the Cubs would certainly have been foolish to assume that Pierre would be a superstar, there’s no reason to think he should be hitting .225/.269/.291, which is well below even his 10th percentile PECOTA projection. I can buy the argument that the Cubs overpaid for Pierre, or that the thought he’d do better than he should, but it’s pretty clear that he’s playing much much worse than even the sabermetrically inclined would have expected. Unless maybe you know something that Nate Silver doesn’t.

    Incidentally, OPS is the type of stat that sorta falls apart for guys without much power, but who can hit for average and draw walks (Pierre’s walk rates have always been decent, but not great). Adding OBP and SLG is fine for most players, but a point of OBP is more valuable than a point of SLG. A .270/.360/.360 guy is going to be worth more than a .270/.300/.420 guy, despite having the same OPS. (this is especially true for a leadoff hitter)

  4. 5.  I will go along only so far with OBP being so much more important than OPS. Outside of the first at bat, a leadoff hitter’s slugging percentages are important. Sure in the NL, he would be following a pitcher, but it still is an important measure.
    Yes, Pierre has been worse than expected, but spending this much money and giving up 3 prospects to do it was a case of desperation.

    As I mentioned at the beginning, I was jumping the gun on Pierre, but I just don’t see him as a plus at 6 million a year. Podsednik is right on the edge of being worth what he is getting.

    While I don’t agree with some of PECOTA’s findings, I wouldn’t for a second claim I’m in Nate Silver’s sabermetrical world. Having said this, I think OBP is overrated a little bit versus slugging. I’m not saying they are even, but depending on park effects, slugging is more important than many of my friends give it credit for. This is a big reason why I thought the A’s were overrated going into the season.

  5. 6.  For new music, Scott, have you checked out the Austrailian band Wolfmother? They just released their first full-length American album, and they Rock with a capital R. Your inner headbanger will truly appreciate them, as they’ve got Sabbath and Zeppelin written all over them, with a bit of the White Stripes tossed in. I first found them over a year ago on a MP3 blog, and I’ve been a fan ever since. They’re also the featured band in the new iPod commercial. Check them out.

  6. 7.  Scott,

    You are wrong on the relative values of OBP and SLG. This is really just a simply math exercise that has been shown (by me and others) to be true.

    You are probably wrong on the relative fielding values of Pierre and Podsednik. I’ve collected the Fans’ values on them, and they judge both of them to be below-average for a CF, but above-average for a LF. Your opinion, while certainly with merit, is likely overshadowed by the opinions of others.

    I don’t have the 04/05 UZR handy, but their 99-03 UZR gives Pierre an edge by about 6 runs.

    All-in-all, they are likely equals, if not a shade better for Pierre, coming into 06.

    You may be right about the money, but not for most of the reasons you stated.

    Tom

  7. 8.  Mike J.- I had heard good things about the band you mentioned, so I definitely will take your advice. Before I get to Wolfmother, I need to finish getting my head banged in by Tangotiger, an underground artist who is big in Japan, especially his Live at Budokan release.

  8. 9.  Scott, I hear the new TFD album is good as well. Check it out before it hits the cutout bins.

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