Posts by kevintooke:
The last 24 hours have been pretty eventful for the Redbirds (both the St. Louis and Memphis varieties), as John Mozeliak has begun paring the 40-man roster for the impending Rule 5 Draft. Thankfully, this is a high-class problem. Being forced to make tough moves now indicates talent depth in the system that needs draft protection – with guys like Bryan Anderson, Daryl Jones, John Jay, Allen Craig, and Mark Hamilton (among others) all being Rule 5 eligible.
First, the Toronto Blue Jays claimed 2B Jarrett Hoffpauir off waivers yesterday. The 26-year-old got a meager 16 PAs in just 8 games at the ML level in 2009, and didn’t figure to be a core asset going forward. He did have a nice little season at AAA, hitting .291/.357/.486 in just over 400 PAs (.370 wOBA). Unfortunately, he is a far below average defender by all accounts, and, while solid, his bat isn’t enough to overcome that deficiency in the big show.
Bigger news came today though, as it was announced that Matt Scherer and Joe Thurston were outrighted and Brad Thompson was given his release. For a good rundown of what exactly this means from an operational standpoint, there is a good summary here. Basically Scherer and Thurston were removed from the 40-man, whereas Thompson is now free to sign to with any team.
Scherer, if you recall, was a 16th round draft pick in 2004, and posted solid numbers in Memphis this year (73.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 6.11 K/9, 2.78 K/BB). The power righty probably got a little lucky though as his FIP was 4.02, and at 26 isn’t getting any younger. I think the chances of anyone selecting him in the Rule 5 draft are small, as few teams are going to have a spot on their 25-man roster to take a flier on a relatively common commodity (average RH reliever).
Thurston and Thompson are guys we are more familiar with, but that doesn’t mean we will exactly miss their contributions. Thursty Joe provided a whopping 0.2 Wins Above Replacement in 124 games, being as close to the definition of “freely available talent” as possible. He is a multiple AAA all-star, and I think its safe to say that’s where he belongs. The additions of DeRosa and Lugo made his contributions virtually irrelevant, and I think the fanbase can rest a little easier knowing his baserunning gaffes will be at bay, at least for the time being.
Brad Thompson’s release shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. He is eligible for arbitration this offseason for the first time in his career, and paying anything more than the minimum for his 4.89 FIP just isn’t good business given his role as mop-up long reliever (which can be filled by just about any pitcher in the system). The only thing that we may miss is the look on our friends’ faces when they see him on the mound and ask why we have a 13-year-old in the game. Don’t get me wrong – he is a friendly face in the bullpen, and is well-liked – but keeping him around is not in the best interests of the club.
That pretty much sums up the first wave of transactions, but rest assured that many more are on the way. Bigger decisions involving Holliday and DeRosa are looming in the coming months, as is final word that Rick Ankiel is no longer a Cardinal. It is really an interesting time to be a Cardinal fan, as decisions in the coming months are going to illustrate the ultimate direction ownership and management want to take in the next few seasons.
Rather dull day for baseball today. In between news that Akinori Iwamura was dealt to the Pirates (sorry for the Heyman link) and that Craig Calcaterra is going to drop the gavel and blog baseball full time, there just wasn’t a lot going on.
So, naturally, I got to surfing. Actually came across something pretty cool, called tilt-shift photography. It’s a way to make real life photos look like miniature models. Nothing to do with baseball, or Game 5, or hot stove banter, but it is one way to make Busch Stadium look really cool (click on photo for full size):
My amateur hack-jobs have nothing on the ones I linked to above, but still pretty fun. If you have photoshop you can make especially gnarly ones. For the rest of us, there is a free tool here that doesn’t require a software download or anything (and is what I used to make these).
Hopefully this amuses you enough to get you to Game 5. Then Chase Utley can do the rest.
all photos shamelessly stolen from the internet
Lots of interesting finds w/r/t beisbol on the intertubes today. Hopefully its enough to keep you going until 7:57 ET:
Finally, Mark McGwire is a brand name associated with St. Louis Cardinal baseball again. No longer a steroid-fueled pariah, he is undoubtedly anxious to not talk about the past and resume his life of contribution to the game. His role as hitting coach hopefully will be viewed as an offering of an olive branch to fans and the media after his past transgressions.
Hi. My name is Kevin, and I am new here. I have been asked to fill in for a post or two, kind of like a spot start. Think of me as your very own Mitchell Boggs. Hopefully, I’ll be good enough to warrant keeping around for a while. If not, hey, no big deal – I was cheap, wasn’t any worse than Wellemeyer, and look pretty funny with a pink backpack on.
So, knowing that I am completely unproven, why should you be persuaded by my viewpoints and arguments forthwith? The answer is simple: you shouldn’t. What you should do is read what I have to say, think about the entire scope of my arguments and views, and create your own opinion after objective and critical review. Then bash my idiocy in the comments. This sort of scientific method of criticism I expect from all of you is exactly what I am going to impart on baseball, starting with a sketch of an interesting candidate for LF in 2010.
In a perfect world, Matt Holliday would take a huge discount to patrol the port side of Busch III’s outfield due to his affinity for apple pie and Midwestern niceties. But, much to the chagrin of thousands of Cards fans who rushed to purchase revised Edmonds jerseys, all indications point to Mr. Holliday auctioning his services to the highest bidder. As a follow-up to Clark’s post, MLB trade rumors has the latest, with Agent Smith Boras comparing Holliday to Teixeira. Now, it is unlikely that Holliday will be able to land the 8 year/$180 million contract Teix commanded, but certainly a 5 or 6 year deal worth in excess of $100 million is plausible if not likely. If the Cardinals have intentions of making a serious offer to re-sign Mr. Pujols while simultaneously filling out a passable 25-man roster, I don’t see any way that they can match Holliday’s other suitors.
This brings us to Golden McGood. Now I know what you are thinking; it is true that Golden had a down year in 2008. His slash stats were quite pedestrian by his standards: .257/.378/.397 in a hitter’s park vs. career averages of .277/.371/.450, and his wOBA (weighted on-base average) slipped to .345 after being above .400 for each of the previous two seasons. He will turn 32 in April, and has only once played more than 140 games in a season.
However, despite his relatively lackluster performance in 2009, McGood’s .378 OBP would have qualified second among humans in the Cardinal lineup (first if you discard Holliday from the mix). He demonstrated outstanding plate discipline, swinging at just 19.6% of pitches outside the zone (25.1% is league average) and walking in 14.4% of his plate appearances (vs. 9.1% average).
Plus, Golden fits right in with what the Redbirds need. The Cardinals had just an 80 sOPS+ against LHP last season, meaning they were roughly 20% worse than the average team against lefties. The former all-star is just what the doctor ordered. His .306/.387/.497 career line against southpaws would seriously alleviate that impotence (in addition to making Tony LaRussa weak at the knees with match up versatility).
It gets better. There is reason to believe that McGood was a victim of unfortunate luck at the plate in 2009 as well. His HR to flyball ratio was just 12.2%, well off his rates of 21.2% and 18.3% in 2008 and 2007, respectively. If just a few more of those flyballs find their way into the seats, his power numbers would fall in line with his career norms and his slugging would get a sizeable boost. He should be a legitimate 20 HR candidate going forward.
With all do respect to the late Billy Mays – there’s more! McGood has been an above average defender in the outfield over his career according to FanGraph’s Ultimate Zone Rating (which attempts to objectively rate fielders based on range, arm, and “hands”), adding 2.6 wins over his career via glove and arm alone.
As if the case for McGood could possibly get any better, his team is desperate to get rid of him. He is due $10 million for each of the next two seasons, but his club has made it clear they are done with him and his potential to be a 3-win player by WAR (he was worth 4.5, 2.4, and 2.7 in 2008, 2007, and 2006, respectively). If he could be had for, say, $4 -$5 million per season, there is little to no chance his performance wouldn’t warrant that salary. In fact, if he performs merely at his career average, he would be worth an outstanding $12.6 million (using $4.5 million as the baseline value for one win…learn more about win values here), with significant potential to be worth $15 million or more. That is some serious surplus value (almost as good of a bargain as when I somehow found Knute Rockne – All-American floating in the $4.88 bin at Wal-Mart).
The potential ~$10 million in savings per season in hiring McGood vs. Holliday could be used to bolster an offer to Albert or to fill out the back end of the rotation. His acquisition would provide solid defense and plus offense, while providing flexibility should other opportunities (or heaven forbid, injury problems) arise.
Let’s face it: payroll is not going to be in the position to absorb an incremental $100 million for one contract in the near future. Instead, the Redbirds could get a decent approximation of Holliday’s production for a small fraction of the cost by taking a flyer on McGood.
Golden McGood, the artist formerly known as Milton Bradley, hired me to undertake his marketing campaign since his unfortunate run-ins with the media and Lou Piniella in 2009. Well, not really, but he should pay me for how much I have been singing his praises. He has every reason to quit the crazy and prove that he can be a team player as he has just one shot left at a big free agent contract after his current deal has expired. His numbers are undoubtedly valuable, and St. Louis would provide an ideal environment for renaissance given the outstanding fan base and forgiving media, not to mention a clubhouse Albert and LaRussa rule with iron fists.
Do I really think the Cardinals would sign Milton Bradley? No. Of course not. But I wish they would. He is almost certain to be a steal for whoever picks him up. He is the definition of low-risk, high-reward (ala Smoltz and Lugo) if the Cubs pay a significant portion of his salary.