Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Grittiness - Quantified

Just in case you were wondering how to statistically quantify grittiness, wonder no more. The fine folks at Flotsam have done it already.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Hot Stove Review

Some more thoughts about how the off-season is going down:

  • A reminder to panicking Indians fans: teams make the deals they make for a variety of reasons. Just because you feel the offer that another team accepted for a player you think the Indians could have used is inferior to what the Indians could have offered does not mean that Shapiro did not make a competitive offer. Maybe the key factor in trading Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks was not necessarily that the Indians' offer was inferior, but that they wanted to trade Haren to the National League so as not to improve the Indians. Maybe the Indians were not willing to overpay to the same extent that Arizona did.
  • We tend to overvalue our own team's prospects.
  • Which contract would you rather have on your books - Jake Westbrook at $11M per for the next 5 years or Carlos Silva at $12M per for the next 4 years? The M's pitching was so weak that they pretty well had no choice but to pony up the money.
  • Josh Hamilton would have looked good in left field for the Indians, and I don't question the Reds for getting pitching for him - but, you just have to wonder why, with the Rangers needing pitching so badly, that they were willing to give up on Volquez, who has been touted as one of their best prospects for several years now. I suspect that the Reds will be underwhelmed by his performance, and they will find that they sold very low on Hamilton.
  • The Indians don't have to make many moves to stay competitive. It would be nice to get a power-hitting corner outfielder and move Michaels/Dellucci - but it's not necessary. They could start the season with the platoon in left field, Gutierrez in right and be fine.
  • I'm on the Andy Marte bandwagon. Unless there is an overwhelming offer for him in the offseason, give him the starting job out of spring training and let's see what he can do. He may not put up much average at first, but his potential to be the right handed slugger that the Indians need given his minor league track record is undeniable. He has nothing to prove at Buffalo, and he's out of options. Casey Blake becomes the uber-utility guy.
  • The Tigers will win a lot of 10-8 games next season unless they do something else to shore up their pitching. If the Tigers have a lot of their old guys miss time due to injury, they will come to regret the wholesale dismantling of their farm system that they've been undergoing for the last couple years in order to win now.
  • Cliff Lee is looking more and more like a very attractive consolation prize should the Tribe wish to deal him. His contract is affordable, he's had major league success. He may just need a change of scenery. I believe that we see teams go after Cliff Lee with a little more fervor once the ultimate Santana derby winner is known.
  • The problem with trading Lee, Marte, Choo, Sowers, Adam Miller or Dellucci right now is that their value has never been lower and the Tribe would never be able to get anything approaching full value. The other problem is that these are the only guys that many Indians fans would like to see gone, which rather limits the ability of Shapiro to get an appropriate return. We don't want these guys, but we overvalue our ability to get an appropriate return for them.
  • Why not take a flier on Mark Prior? The Indians can sell the chance to pitch in the playoffs for a competitive team, as well as one of the best medical staffs in the game to guide his rehab. However, they can't move the team to the west coast for him, which appears to be where he wants to pitch.
  • I like the Jamey Carroll signing. It strikes me as the kind of move that really is the signal to another move we don't see coming - maybe trading Peralta and moving AC to shortstop and slotting Carroll at second base while Barfield gets his act together in Buffalo and Casey Blake plays uber-utility guy, spelling guys at second, third and the outfield.
  • I like that Andy Marte is getting reps in winter ball at first base - if they do move him, it makes him more versatile.
  • I think the Mets will likely end up winning the Johan Santana derby, primarily because the Twins will want to send him to the National League so they don't end up facing him in the playoffs. The Twins are still under the belief that their team just needs some tweaking to remain competitive, and adding some bats like Delmon Young and Mike Lamb will certainly help. But adding Adam Everett will not help them with their main problem - they can't score runs.
  • I don't see how the Indians can seriously upgrade at any position on the field this year without giving up one of the following: Asdrubal Cabrera, Franklin Gutierrez, Adam Miller or Aaron Laffey. Those are the trading chips with some value. You have to give value to get value.
  • It would have been nice to see the Indians get Alexei Ramirez, but you just know that the White Sox overpaid. They always do.