The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Sportswriters say the darndest things

Troy Tulowitzki didn’t want to be Alex Rodriguez. He didn’t want to be Nomar Garciaparra, either. So he carved his own path.

The wrong one.

You remember Jeff Passan. He’s the guy with the giant hard-on for salary caps. Always complaining about greedy baseball men and their greedy greed greed greed and how they’re only in it for the money, and how the only way to fix baseball — which has no parity at all these days, as the Giants and Rangers would surely attest — would be to get all that damn money out of it.

Jeff Passan is presently complaining that Troy Tulowitzki is a giant moron for thinking about something other than money. Don’t believe me? The electronic temporary permanent record will back me up.

Far be it from anyone to impugn a man who Monday agreed to a contract extension that will pay him nearly $160 million over the next 10 years.

Impugn, vt.: To challenge as false (another’s statements, motives, etc.); cast doubt upon.

So when you declared that Tulo’s decision was "the wrong one" — which were the very very last words that came out of your mouth — you weren’t at all trying to cast doubt upon them. Gotcha.

The Colorado Rockies are lavishing Tulowitzki with an obscene amount of money. He loves Denver. In that vacuum, the deal makes all the sense in the world.

So in the "vacuum" consisting of: Tulo gets what he wants, the deal makes not just some sense, but all of the sense. All of the sense in the world.

It’s still wrong, though. Why? Allow Jeff to purple prose it at you:

What could’ve been, though. Oh, what could’ve been. On one hand, Tulowitzki played things safe. He was reasonable. And on the other, he lacked the fortitude to chase the greater glory that awaited him elsewhere. The money he could’ve gotten and the championships he could’ve won had he simply played out his current contract with the franchise that can’t help itself from taking a blade to its jugular.

What Jeff’s alluding to here, behind the wall of flowery literary sewage, is that Derek Jeter’s going to be forty years old when Tulo’s current contract is up, and either finishing or just about to finish his new contract with the Yankees. And Hank’s going to be looking for a hot young shortstop to come to New York and make $25M/year. And stupid Tulowitzki had to go and care more about loyalty and happiness than sheer dollar value, and signed a contract worth only $20M/year instead. And also shitted himself out of six guaranteed championships with the Yankees — who won the last six, if you’ve forgotten — instead of six guaranteed losing seasons with the Rockies, who I’m pretty sure haven’t ever been to the World Series.

Oh, the humanity! Oh, what could’ve been! O Tulo, my Tulo! Do not go gentle into that good night!

If this deal is bad for Tulowitzki, it’s ill-conceived and unconscionable for a Rockies team that knows what long-term, big-money contracts do to franchises with middling budgets: cripple them.

Needs more adjectives imvo

And even if Tulowitzki is the anti-Mike Hampton

Pretty sure he is. Fun fact: Tulowitzki is Hampton spelled backwards.

and even if he can stay healthy like Todd Helton couldn’t

Troy Tulowitzki, games played 2007-2010: 155, 101, 151, 122
Todd Helton, games played 2007-2010: 154, 83, 151, 118

HmmmMMMmmMMmMMmmMMmm.

and even if he is the do-everything, all-world, good-guy shortstop, heir to Derek Jeter

He’s better than Jeter. More power, better glove. Jeter gets on a base a little bit more often, and is a bit faster, but hits into a lot of double plays due to his groundball tendencies. Though the fact that Tulo wears number 2 is the most adorable thing in baseball history.

he still leaves the Rockies in a compromised position: with limited money to spend on the other pieces and parts that would comprise an annual contender.

Because apparently the Rockies would have unlimited money otherwise. Tulo’s a six-win player — seven, if he could be bothered to be healthy. $20M is an good deal for a player of that calibre. That’s really the key thing to consider here: value for money. Tulo’s contract, assuming he produces at his current rate and doesn’t spend the whole time on the DL, is a positive value.

"If there’s a guy to spend a quarter of your payroll on, he’s it," said a GM of a low-revenue team, "but you just don’t spend a quarter of your payroll on anyone. Period."

You tell ’em, Contradiction Man!

2010 Texas Rangers payroll: $55,250,545
Michael Young’s 2010 salary: $13,174,974 (24%)

So apparently if you do violate this iron-clad baseball law, your punishment will be winning the league championship.

The Rockies ignored that rule again, indulging in the prototypical shortstop: amazing with bat and glove, a born leader, the sort over whom the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and every other team with pockets deep and shallow would swoon.

I can’t figure out the last bozo metaphor in this sentence. "Pockets deep and shallow?" Does he mean teams with deep pockets and also other teams with shallow pockets, and he just forgot to name any of those? Or is he using "shallow" the way a teenage girl would use it, to indicate his disdain for the concept of paying for talent? Or is he just being a dummy and didn’t notice that his adjectives are contradictory?

By turning down the opportunity to hit free agency after 2014, Tulowitzki potentially left millions of dollars on the table. He certainly left the opportunity to play for franchises that need not operate with tight margins because of one man’s deal.

He also bought himself peace of mind, since, on the one hand, he really wanted to stay in Colorado, but — more importantly than that — he has a ten-year guaranteed contract now. If he gets impaled with a bat shard like Tyler Colvin did, or maybe hit in the face with a pitch and his career takes a nose-dive, he’s covered. He still gets eight shitloads of money.

Try this thought experiment. Imagine you’re 2010 Derek Jeter in the middle of this acrimonious free agent negotiation everybody and his brother won’t shut up about. Now imagine that you have the option to send a letter to 2006 Derek Jeter — coming off a season in which you hit .343 / .417 / .483 with a 132 OPS+ and 6.3 WAR — advising yourself to negotiate a six-year extension at a moderate raise instead of testing free agency. Think that might be a good plan?

The run on which the Rockies have gone since Tulowitzki arrived in 2007 certainly imbued him with the confidence that Colorado can mimic the traditional powers’ playoff prowess. Tulowitzki played in the World Series as a rookie. He made the playoffs again two years later. His 15-homer September this year pushed Colorado to the precipice again.

And the year Tulo was hurt and only worth one win the Rockies weren’t in contention. HmmmMMMmmMMMmmMmMMMmm.

And yet Rockies executives admit that attaining such success with Helton’s albatross nine-year, $141.5 million deal took an incredible confluence of timing and luck.

Success in baseball always takes timing and luck. Ask the 2001 Athletics, who had a ridiculously good team but lost the division by fourteen games — fourteen games! — because the goddamn Mariners went 116-46. The A’s won 102 games and finished a very very distant second place. You always need timing and luck, no matter what.

Locking up any other players of significance became an impossibility.

They managed to lock up Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle pretty well. Oh, also? They don’t make the playoffs in 2007 or in 2009 without Helton. He was worth 5 and 4.2 WAR, respectively. For the life of that contract, Helton was worth 31.7 WAR and was paid $119M. That is fairly close to an even value, and would be an easy positive without the two seasons he was too hurt to play any baseball. Which is unfortunate, but not foreseeable.

Did the Rockies overpay? Yeah, probably a little. But it wasn’t Vernon Wells-ian. And it’s not like you’re going to win shit signing a whole bunch of 1-2 WAR dudes for $6M apiece either, you know.

So as the Rockies celebrate Tulowitzki’s new deal, they do so knowing that Ubaldo Jimenez is now likely to leave after the 2014 season.

It’s probably fine for Jimenez to leave, since he’s going to get a gigantic overpay. He turns 30 in 2014, and that crazy fastball velocity’s going to begin to dip. And then all those walks are going to become a much bigger problem. In my opinion, better a huge contract for the 25-year-old shortstop than the 30-year-old fireballer with control problems.

And that Carlos Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client, is certain to do so.

The Rockies are notoriously impatient with Scott Boras, which I love them for. Anyhow, Carlos Gonzalez’s BABIP was fucking .384 this year. That ain’t sustainable. He’s not going to remain a 4-5 win player; he’s more like a 2-3. Tulo’s better.

Carlos Gonzalez by month, 2010:

March/April: .397 BABIP / .899 OPS
May: .329 BABIP / .796 OPS
June: .333 BABIP / .756 OPS
July: .441 BABIP / 1.150 OPS
August: .353 BABIP / 1.174 OPS
September/October: .440 BABIP / 1.043 OPS

The security of the Rockies picking up that $15 million option, then tacking $119 million onto it, overwhelmed Tulowitzki, enough not to chase his A-Rod moment

What an asshole, signing a long deal with a team he loves instead of chasing every available penny. Why can’t you be an upstanding baseball citizen like A-Rod, Tulowitzki?

If he were to have thrived these next four seasons and entered free agency at 30 and the game’s best shortstop, a $200 million deal would’ve been possible.

Sure. And if he had a 2014 like Derek Jeter’s 2010 — or, worse, his own 2008 — a $45 million deal would have been possible.

Except there was Nomar. His career that died at 35, and never did he make more than $11.5 million in a season. And Hanley Ramirez, the other contender for best shortstop alive, signed away three years of free agency to the Florida Marlins for only $46.5 million. Suddenly, close to $20 million a year didn’t look so bad, not in such a great city with such great fans.

Nomar suffered a severe wrist injury before the 2001 season that basically sidetracked him for the rest of his career. He had not yet hit free agency by that time.

As for Hanley, that’s a ridiculously team-favourable contract (though still nothing like the contract Evan Longoria signed). So, hey, that’s one! Meanwhile, the Dodgers are paying Rafael Furcal $10M/year to be about a third as good as Tulo. And for some reason I’m not clear on, the Red Sox are paying Marco Scutaro money to play baseball.

This is a marriage of convenience, though, a rarity in sports with good reason: rarely do they turn out well.

Leave your terms completely vague, and you can justify anything! Rarely do "they" turn out well? What are "they?" Contracts? Extensions? Shortstops? Whatever term I use to fill in this blank, it doesn’t seem to make the argument correct.

Even the model for great long-term deals, Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract with the Yankees, comes with a warning label. Over the life of the deal, even after splurging on $1.6 billion worth of contracts on top of Jeter’s deal, the Yankees won only one World Series.

Okay, great. "Number of World Championships won" is a terrible stat to use for evaluating a player (especially a player who’s won four championships you conveniently data-searched out of your argument), but never mind. I’d like you to read something a wise man once said. It goes like this:

What could’ve been, though. Oh, what could’ve been. On one hand, Tulowitzki played things safe. He was reasonable. And on the other, he lacked the fortitude to chase the greater glory that awaited him elsewhere. The money he could’ve gotten and the championships he could’ve won had he simply played out his current contract with the franchise that can’t help itself from taking a blade to its jugular.

So. The contract you identify as "the model for great long-term deals," which is also the contract most similar to Tulowitzki’s contract, and also for the player most similar to Tulowiztki, didn’t result in unlimited championships. But the reason Tulowitzki should have opted-out of the Rockies to go play for the Yankees — the team that signed the Jeter contract, remember — was because it would guarantee unlimited championships.

Is Yahoo sports hiring editors? Perhaps they should be.

It took O’Dowd, after all, nearly a decade to turn the Rockies from perpetual losers into a franchise worth emulating.

And what mummified the team for all those years? The contracts of Hampton and Helton, of course.

Helton’s still there. Still under contract. Was an integral part of getting the Rockies to the playoffs both times. Turns out the problem wasn’t just contracts in general — specifically, it was big contracts for bad players. Big contracts for good players are fine. Remember? Value for money? Signing 25 replacement-level players and spending the rest of the money on an armed escort to carry your fucking juiced balls from the humidor out to Timmy’s insecure fingers will result in a team that goes 35-127.

So here’s to both sides enjoying the love-in while they can. Tulo got paid. The Rockies got their man. It would be such a great happily-ever-after story if only the ending were happy.

The ending’s not for ten years, dummy. It might have less angst than the leaked beta copy you seem to have gotten from Usenet. And as long as it has fewer compound adjectives, I think it’s a win for society in general.


November 30th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

So about those MVPs

Sorry, they’re boring. I haven’t come up with anything fun to write about them at all. Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton? They’re the safe, obvious choices. Nothing wrong with them, just… nothing interesting to say, really. And they won by huge margins, so it’s not even like there’s a second-place guy who lost by one vote (note to Dusty Baker-stupid: seriously, suck it hard).

So instead of that, I’ll pick on Jeff Passan for writing this:

So with Dodger Stadium the cavern it is, and with the NL West reaffirming its status as a pitching-centric division, and with Vicente Padilla, for heaven’s sake, starting opening day last season, general manager Ned Colletti struck early – and expensively. If Garland hits easily reachable incentives, he’ll cost $8 million this season and next. Lilly will get $13.5 million as a 37-year-old in 2013, the Dodgers banking on his left-handedness and fly ball tendencies.

Cavern or no cavern, Dodger Stadium played as a plus-HR park in 2010. Not by much, sure, and it was a bit of an anomaly (it was minus-HR in 2009 and 2008), but it’s something a general manager would do well to consider before handing a 35-year-old pitcher $33M and hoping for lots of fly balls.

I mean, I love Ted Lilly. He’s a crazy head-case, and he was rock-steady for the Cubbies for four years. But he gives up way too many homers (1.5 HR/9 and 10.2% HR/FB in 2010). And if Lilly gives up too many homers, and your park is plus-homer territory… hmm.

All I’m saying is: [email protected]


November 28th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

You all know what I’m talking about.

Have you heard the shocking but true news? The Yankees and Derek Jeter have yet to agree to terms! The horror… the horror. For some weird reason, I guess a lot of people expected this negotiation to go pretty quickly; maybe they figured that, hey, the Yankees should just give him whatever he wants, since he’s the heart and soul of the free world and also he redeemed us for our sins.

The only problem with that theory, of course, is what it is that he wants: six years and $150 million. That’s a lot for a 36-year-old shortstop coming off the worst year of his career — consider that, by the time it’s over, he’ll be a 42-year-old designated hitter. The Yankees, meanwhile, have countered by offering what we at Fangraphs collectively declared would be the market offer: 3/$45M. So there’s a lot of middle ground there to make up.

One’s first thought coming into this has to be that, if Jeter’s free agent year had been last year, he’d have gotten his 6/$150M no problem. Unfortunately (from Jeter’s perspective, which is also God’s perspective), he had a shitty year in between his awesome 6.5-win year and his payday. And that cost him a ton of leverage. Looking at his numbers reveals that his BABIP was fifty points off his career average, which is something to consider. Also worth noting, however, is that he still overperformed expected BABIP by twenty points. Derek Jeter is historically a BABIP overperformer, which (if I had to guess) is almost definitely because he’s an extreme groundball hitter with plus speed. Fangraphs hasn’t noticed a decline in Jeter’s speed, so it seems likely he’ll bounce back next season (Bill James predicts that he will, expecting that he’ll make about 700 PA with a .344 wOBA, which is really really good for a shortstop; probably in 4 WAR territory, depending on his defense).

Of course, Jeter isn’t the only party to this negotiation whose leverage sucks. The Yankees don’t have shit to deal from either, and they know it. If they hold hard and Jeter walks, then what the hell do they do? Try to coax Edgar Renteria out of retirement and hope he can maintain his 2010 production of 1.3 WAR and not regress to his 0.3 2009 form? Frankly, the Yankees need Jeter for more reasons than just his undeniable sexy sex appeal.

So here’s what I think is going to happen. Both sides will keep up the tough-guy routine for another month or so, and we’ll hear Casey Close announce that he’s had some "interesting offers" from teams he won’t name (to protect their privacy, of course). Meanwhile, the Yankees will make a halfhearted effort to woo Jason Bartlett or some scrub like that. Then, around the end of the year (or maybe early January), the Yanks will come up with a new offer that’s a bit bigger than their current offer, and the Jeter camp will pretend to "think it over" for, like, a day. Then they’ll make some tiny little demand and the Yanks will agree, and both sides get to claim they "won" the negotiations.

What kind of deal are we looking at? Well, Jeter’s been pretty clear: he wants a long deal and $25M/year. He ain’t gettin’ either, though. But the Yanks will have to go a bit longer on the contract than the three they’re offering; I expect they’ll end up giving him four and a team option for a fifth. They won’t go up to $25M/year, which is crazy money for a four-win player, but they’ll probably nudge their $15M up a little bit, to $18M or so. So I’m thinking the offer the Yankees will make will be 4/$70M, with a team option for a fifth year at $15M. The Jeter camp will probably counter by demanding that the option vest if certain goofy criteria are met — given Jeter’s skillset, probably it’ll be something like 750 hits.

So that’s my prediction. We all know how good I am at predicting, too! So good that I honestly just checked to see if he’d signed while I was typing this. Just to be sure.


November 26th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

And now: Mets!

I guess Yahoo Sports is now printing articles by any damn fool, via its new "contributor network" mechanic. I guess how it works is like this: you write something dumb, Yahoo posts it, I make fun of it, and everybody wins. Except you, I guess.

Mets must become comically bad in order to win

They have that covered. So you’re predicting 110 wins for the Mets, then?

he 2010 New York Mets broke me in a way like never before.

Nice. Wonderful anal sex connotations in your very first line. This is going well.

It took me no greater than two weeks to realize that particular group of players and coaches had zero chance of finishing over .500.

You might be very slow on the uptake, Ralph. Everybody else knew that way way long ago, around when your general manager was signing lots and lots of backup catchers and totally forgot that baseball has a thing called "pitching." I guess Minaya’s thought process was something like "we got Wright, Beltran, Reyes… fuck, what was I supposed to do with all this money? Somebody I was supposed to hire… oh, look, Fernando Tatis is available!"

Some fans were fooled by the little spurts of talent the Mets showed during late April and early June. Not this guy.

Right on, brother!

While other Mets fans set themselves up for the predictable yet painful fall to the bottom of the division, I became immersed in Major League Soccer, NFL training camps and summer TV shows like Wipeout.

I… um. You might want to avoid admitting that you "became immersed in Major League Soccer." Because, seriously, soccer is really, really gay. Worse than prime-time game shows like Wipeout, even. Almost as bad as watching the Mets.

It’s not that I hated the Amazins. I just stopped caring. Why bother?

Well, they were pretty funny. Does that count?

Owners Jeff and Fred Wilpon have since brought in a new "Harvard/magna cum laude" front office that is already repeating mistakes from the past. Giving Jose Reyes $11 million … for 2011? Seriously? I wouldn’t make that move in MLB 2k11.

Yeah, fuck those Harvard guys. We all know what state that shit’s in! Clearly they don’t know anything about baseball. Somebody get Steve Phillips back in here — that motherfucker sure didn’t go to Harvard!

Also, why is it so shocking that the Mets would be paying their players for 2011? You thought they’d be hard at work revising the 2010 roster instead? Like maybe they can get MLB to call a do-over?

Jose Reyes, 2010: 603 PA, .282 / .339 / .434, 103 OPS+, .329 wOBA, 2.8 WAR.

That ain’t bad for a shortstop. Bill James predicts him to get 574 PA with a .345 wOBA in 2011 — that should be good for around 3 WAR (depending on his defense), which is worth more than $11M. The Mets have given out lots of bad contracts. This is not one of them.

The Reyes contract extension got my friend and I, both lifelong Mets fans, talking about the team’s future, namely it’s lack of one.

Is it unfair to pick on a dude’s writing if he’s like some J. Random Contributor scrub and not actually a paid columnist? Because all I have to say about that clip is: [sic] [sic] [sic] [sic] [sic] the Mets have been bad for two years and you’re declaring them doomed forever?

Individuals "in the know" assure me that this franchise’s minor-league system is grossly overrated.

Care to name any of these individuals? No, you’re good? Well, I’ll counter with some people in the know who say the Mets have a pretty damn good farm system, and that it’s likely to get even better. And I’ll even document that shit. You see how things work, in the world of real sports journalism?

Damn. You know your article’s in trouble when you’re a worse journalist than me.

It’s also painfully clear that this particular group of Mets cannot compete with the Philadelphia Phillies and Altanta Braves over 162 games.

This particular group of Mets is, like, two or three pieces away from contention, now that Beltran’s back from his knee whatever. If we assume that the Mets return the entire 2010 roster — I know, but just for the sake of argument — they’ll need a 2B and another starter. That’s pretty much it. None of their free agents have signed yet, so here’s what we’re working with as a core for theoretical 2011:

C: Josh Thole
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Luis Castillo
3B: David Wright
SS: Jose Reyes
LF: Jason Bay
CF: Angel Pagan
RF: Carlos Beltran

SP: Johan Santana
SP: R.A. Dickey
SP: Mike Pelfrey
SP: Jonathon Niese
SP: ???

RP: Hisanori Takahashi
RP: Pedro Feliciano
RP: Elmer Dessens
RP: Manny Acosta
CL: PUNCH == YOR HED

That’s a pretty good start. They have Wilmer Flores coming up through their system, and he’s not projected to stick at SS (his current position); perhaps they can bring him up to replace Castillo at 2B, if they think he’s ready. Though it would be hard to be less ready than Luis Castillo. They don’t have any pitchers in the farm who are Major League-ready, so they’ll have to go fishing; assuming they don’t land a major player like Cliff Lee, there are plenty of serviceable fifth-starter types available this year. Or maybe they take a chance on Brandon Webb, though he’s been looking really cooked lately.

Anyhow, the point is: the Mets aren’t very far from contention if their good players are actually healthy and can actually play. It’s injuries, man. That’s what’s killed them the last two years.

Now look what you’ve done. Your stupidity has made me defend the Mets. I feel sick.

There’s only one reasonable thing to do.

Fortunately for all of us, you have no idea what it is.

Bring back the 1993 New York Mets.

Suit up, Tim Bogar! The team needs you!

A team less than a decade removed from being “a dynasty,” the ’93 Mets won only 59 games and finished the year as the worst team in baseball. Shea Stadium was practically empty by August as the team playing in it was atrocious.

Amazing. Amazing plan. Let’s spend eleven shitloads of money on a team that will win 59 games and not sell any tickets at all. That’s a sure-fire path to success!

They were comically bad, though, like "take a shot each time Frank Tanana gives up a home run or Bobby Bonila swings at one in the dirt" bad.

Bobby Bonilla (which is how you spell that, by the way), 1993: 582 PA, .265 / .352 / .522, 132 OPS+, 3.4 WAR

I dunno, man. That’s pretty good. Dude hit 34 homers. Tanana was bad, sure, though it’s a nice cherry-pick; the 1993 Mets had Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, and Sid Fernandez all pitching really well. Tanana was the only lousy starter on the team. Hitting was the 1993 Mets’ problem, and… you named the one awesome hitter on the team in your analysis.

Good work.

There was actual entertainment value as you wondered how the team could possibly get worse.

That is always the case with the Mets, as I have mentioned on this blog once or twice throughout the years.

The reason I lost interest in the 2009 Mets was because I already knew how that story ended. Roller coaster Mets hang around for a bit, spend some time at the top of the division, fall slightly yet continue to hang around before finally succumbing to fatigue/injuries/players beating up old men en route to finishing with 70-80 wins.

The 2009 Mets? What year do you think this is, Charles? This might explain some things. Like why you thought it was so weird that the Mets would be paying their players for the 2011 season.

I assure you that a new manager will not equal a new adventure for this roster.

No, the manager is pretty meaningless. But Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, and K-Punch all being healthy and able to play baseball might help a little. Also will help: no more Jeff Francoeur.

Completely blowing up the Mets before the 2011 season is the only right move that can be made both for the franchise and its devoted fans.

Good. Good writin’. Good thinkin’, too.

Once Mets fans realize that the team’s current core has never won a league championship and will never do so, they’ll accept the fact that everybody not part of the longterm future must go.

The Mets should have won the league in 2006, but hit some rotten luck in the playoffs, which happens. They were very very close to making the playoffs in 2007 and 2008. Then they signed Jeff Francoeur and all their other players got injured in protest.

But, hey, give it up, Beltran and Reyes and Wright and Santana and Bay and Punch: some random dude says you’ll never win. You bunch of fucking cancerous chokers.

Everybody. David Wright. Jose Reyes. Carlos Beltran. Johan Santana. R.A. Dickey (my favorite Met of the past five years). Ollie Perez. K-Rod. All of them.

So. Everybody who is "not part of the longterm [sic] future" in your estimation is… all of them.

David Wright: makes $14M in 2011 and $15M in 2012. That prices him away from a lot of teams, which is a shame, since he’s the best 3B in baseball not called Evan Longoria, and will be worth way way more than he’s getting paid, even at those prices.

Jose Reyes: makes $11M in 2011. This dude honestly says it’s a good idea to cut a valuable player who comes off the books in one year anyway in favour of… well, you’ll see in a minute what he thinks the Mets should do instead.

Carlos Beltran: makes $18.5M in 2011. Bill James expects him to make 505 PA at .373 wOBA, which will probably be worth in the neighborhood of 4 WAR. And then, of course, he’s a free agent. But don’t take the compensation picks, Mets — cut this shit now for no benefit!

Johan Santana: makes $22.5M in 2011, $24M in 2012, and $25.5M in 2013. Is great — like super, super, crazy great — but is probably untradeable due to the fact that $75M is a shitload of money.

R.A. Dickey: is third-year arb eligible and will probably make about a million dollars in 2011. The Mets should cut him for what reason?

Oliver Perez: makes $12M in 2011. Is bad. Nobody will take him unless the Mets eat his entire salary.

K-Rod: makes $11.5M in 2011. Is probably untradeable due to punching a dude in the head. Will be a Type A free agent after the season anyhow, so there’s no benefit to cutting him now and forfeiting the comp picks.

Imagine the influx of young talent infused into the Mets’ farm system.

It won’t be much, since most of those players will be one-year rentals. Like, maybe a couple of C prospects or a solid B. Santana would bring more than that, but he’s way too expensive to trade.

Some of those youngsters may even be able to join the big league club immediately.

Wow, really? The Mets could trade all their good players and get back a handful of prospects who may or may not be any good at baseball?? Sign me up!

And what of those players who make up the "deepest farm system in the NL East?" Bring them all up in April, every one of them who is remotely ready to play in the majors.

That’s what I call player development right there! Bring all them A-ball and rookie league assholes straight up into the Majors and have them get in the box against Roy Halladay. Think how much they’ll learn!

The Mets will never – and let me repeat this, never be the Yankees or Red Sox and "buy" a championship. Even when they try to do so, they goof it up.

Lots of idiots talk about the Yankees and Red Sox buying championships. It’s almost as though they’ve ever done that. But a lot of the players those teams use are developed in-house, because the organisations are well-run. I think the only team you could really say "bought" its championship would be the 1997 Florida Marlins, who were a team of free agents on one-year deals.

Building from the ground up is the only realistic option for this team; a Cleveland Indians approach to baseball, if you will, except the Mets will actually keep a championship-caliber roster together for longer than two seasons.

"Just like the Indians, if you will, except that not like the Indians at all."

This brand of team building works. Ask the Florida Marlins.

Brilliant. Played right into my joke, which I swear I wrote before I read this. Of all the players on the 1997 Marlins worth more than 1 WAR, six were signed as free agents, three were traded for, and two came up through the farm system (and one was from the expansion draft). So that’s two players developed through a "brand that works" and nine players developed through a brand that, I would assume, does not at all work.

But maybe he meant the 2003 Marlins. Let’s check. I see three free agents, ten trades, and one solitary good-working-brand farm system product.

Great example, asshole.

The only difference is the Mets wouldn’t have to worry about a "Market Correction" killing the team. They’d be contenders for a decade at least.

The only difference is voodoo and magic.

There’s another plus to turning the Mets into the laughingstock of Major League Baseball.

Namely: laughing at the Mets.

For the first time in two years the Mets would actually be a team fans such as myself and my friends could rally behind. Watching a mediocre, middle-of-the-road baseball team for 6-plus months is mind-numbingly dull.

Either you’re just wrong, or you and your friends are idiots. Watching a terrible team for 6-plus months ain’t great either.

Frustrated fans, such as myself, could put their arms around a last-place team that’s actually going somewhere, one that has a future in sight.

What, you mean, like, you’d offer them hugs as a consolation while they’re winning 14 games?

Two 60-win seasons wouldn’t get me hanging my Mets flag outside my home, but they would get me out to the atrocity that stands next to my former summer home, especially once tickets are drastically lowered.

Unwarranted assumptions in this paragraph:

• A team composed entirely of A-ball players would win 60 games in the 2011 and 2012 National League, a feat the 2010 Pirates were unable to perform with some actual Major Leaguers on their roster.

• Ticket prices would be lowered at all — much less "drastically."

• More people would pay $7 to see a hopeless team than will pay $12 to see a mediocre team with actual recognisible stars on it.

• Anybody cares that you liked Shea better than Citi.

This time, I’d actually be old enough to partake in the previously mentioned drinking escapades during games. How else do you make it through a Mets game?

Awful writing. Check-minus. Also, you failed to mention those drinking escapades previously. Check-minus-minus.

And, wait, you’re only just old enough to drink, but you have the damn gall to lecture me about the 1993 Mets and how awesome they were? You were fucking three years old, asshole.

Obviously, nothing resembling such a plan is going to take place.

Correct. Because the Wilpons — as soul-wrenchingly awful and stupid as they are — are less awful and stupid than you.

The Wilpons would rather have a ballpark be two-thirds full for three years than suffer through two seasons of absurdly low turnout while the team evolves into one that could dominate the NL East for years.

Yeah, see, their plan is to evolve the team into a Dominatron 3000 without going bankrupt first. Crazy, I know!

So get ready for another meaningless winter, Mets fans. One that’s full of "meh" free-agent signings and lots of talk about "potential" from sports talk radio hosts. Another 79-win season awaits us.

And if you see this dude at the ballpark, pants him for me. Though, of course, you won’t, since he’ll be too busy sitting in his living room watching Major League Soccer.

Prove me wrong, Mets. I beg of you.

Now I actually kind of want the Mets to do well, just so I can stick it to this assnose.

Nah, I’m lyin’. I want the Mets to tank so badly Queens slides into the ocean.

Further research: Hmm, here’s this same asshole writing about how soccer is better than baseball anyhow. As if I needed any more proof that he’s a bad person who doesn’t know anything about anything.


November 19th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | one comment

Wait, what?

So I hear on notoriously terrible web site Kotaku that the new Assassin’s Creed game on the PS3 is apparently about killing Chief Justice Roberts in retribution for the Citizens United decision.

Never mind how terrible that article is — it’s goddamn Kotaku. Of course it’s uninformed and mincingly hip. Just focus on the fact that Ubisoft has actually included a plot point as stupid as that in a video game. That’s pretty fucked up right there.


November 19th, 2010 Posted by | Games | 3 comments

Dammit

Two years in a row I have to apologise to the BBWAA. Somehow, Emperor Felix Hernandez won a Cy Young even though he went 13 – 12 on the season. After Greinke last year… my little baseball journalists are finally growing up! It brings tears to my eyes, it does.

So let’s get this out of the way up front: Hernandez was probably the right choice, but it’s a bit difficult to tell, since, in baseball, there is defense, and we still don’t have a great handle on how to calculate defensive value. That means that BR and Fangraphs calculate pitching value differently, also, since they’re accounting for defense differently. Also it means my Gold Glove posts are like twelve stories high and made of radiation, but I guess you already knew that.

BR calculates pitching WAR attempting to neutralise for the team’s defense, and they declare Darth Felix, Sith Master of the American League, to be the best, with a nifty 6.0 WAR. Instead of going that route, Fangraphs builds pitching WAR from peripherals (K, BB, HR), thereby losing some information, but also not adding in any contamination from the team’s defense. They have Felix at 6.2, which is, obviously, better than 6.0. But not the best — Verlander’s at 6.3, and Cliff Lee is at 7.2. BR says 4.2 and 4.3, respectively. Felix is awesome either way you calculate WAR, which I appreciate. So there’s that.

But we can look deeper. Here are the top five vote getters, and, just to warn you, it’s a really weird selection:

Felix Hernandez (249.2 IP, 174 ERA+, 1.057 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.04 FIP, 6.0/6.2 WAR)
David Price (208.2 IP, 145 ERA+, 1.193 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.42 FIP, 5.3/4.3 WAR)
CC Sabathia (237.2 IP, 134 ERA+, 1.191 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.54 FIP, 5.4/5.1 WAR)
Jon Lester (208.0 IP, 134 ERA+, 1.202 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.13 FIP, 5.0/5.6 WAR)
Jered Weaver (224.1 IP, 135 ERA+, 1.074 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.06 FIP, 5.4/5.9 WAR)

Hernandez is pretty clearly the best of the group. So it’s a cinch, yeah? Yeah. Glad we cleared that — wait, what? You mean there are no fewer than two pitchers who were better than those other four dudes, but didn’t place? No fooling? Wait a second… we talked about this earlier, didn’t we?

Cliff Lee (212.1 IP, 130 ERA+, 1.003 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 0.8 BB/9 (!), 0.7 HR/9, 2.58 FIP, 4.3/7.1 WAR)
Justin Verlander (224.1 IP, 124 ERA+, 1.163 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.97 FIP, 4.2/6.3 WAR)

Neither of them got any first-place votes. Neither of them finished in the top five. So at least I still get to call you guys stupids a little bit!

Now let’s check the NL voting. There were basically three contenders:

Roy Halladay (250.2 IP, 165 ERA+, 1.041 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.01 FIP, 6.9/6.6 WAR)
Adam Wainwright (230.1 IP, 161 ERA+, 1.051 WHIP, 8.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.86 FIP, 5.7/6.1 WAR)
Ubaldo Jimenez (221.2 IP, 161 ERA+, 1.155 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.10 FIP, 7.1/6.3 WAR)

Now that’s what I call a tight field! Pathos! Drama! Now check this out:

Josh Johnson (183.2 IP, 182 ERA+, 1.105 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9, 2.41 FIP, 6.4/6.3 WAR)

The BBWAA can thank Johnson’s late-season injury for getting them off the hook. They were voting the damn thing to Halladay regardless, since ORMG HE WON 21 GAMEZZ!!! and he pitched a perfecto, but if Johnson had pitched a full season he would be the easy best choice here. But he didn’t, and that just salvages the pick. So, again, I get to call them theoretical morons anyhow. It’s a good ending for me.


November 18th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

I’m behind on my awards

Sorry about that. I had a prior commitment involving playing video games and putting it off. But I’m back now, baby!

The Rookies of the Year involved one surprising but excellent choice, and one surprising but really weird choice. Let’s start with the NL, since it’s older, and that means it’s more likely to die before I’m done writing this thing.

The NL Rookie of the Year was San Fransisco’s own Buster Posey, who, in an ironic turn of events, placed second in the Gayest Rookie Name of the Year voting to his own teammate, Madison Bumgarner. Posey would have been my choice, but I honestly expected Jason Heyward to win it. Heyward was probably the better hitter — Posey has a 13-point advantage in OPS, but this is a great example of how OPS doesn’t tell the entire story of a hitter. Posey’s advantage is in SLG, .505 to .456. That is non-trivial. But Heyward leads in OBP .393 to .357, and that’s considerably more important than SLG, all things considered.

WAR tells us a Heyward-favorable story, 4.4 to 3.0, which seems as though it should slam the door on Posey. But be careful: WAR is a counting stat, and Heyward played 34 more games. That’s about 4/3 as many games, which closes the WAR gap pretty handily.

But, wait, Darien, I imagine you saying: isn’t playing time really, really important? Aren’t you always going on about how players who play more games are more valuable players and should be treated accordingly? Well, yes. Yes I am. And if you’re running for MVP or Cy Young or Manager of the Year or the Rolaids thing or President of God or whatever, it’s an important consideration. But the Rookie of the Year, to my mind, is materially different, because rookies have no control over their playing time, really. Sometimes, as in the case of Heyward, they’ll make the team right out of spring training. Other times, the team will decide to keep its hot rookies in AAA (usually for arbitration-clock reasons) and let Bengie Molina stink things up for a few months so he can get a World Series ring anyhow. It’s not clear to me that Posey should be penalised because the Giants didn’t call him up until May 29. This still counts as his rookie year, after all.

So why would I break in favour of Posey? Well, the two players are both excellent, and very very similar in value per game played. The main reason I choose Posey is that he’s a catcher, and, quite frankly, I find it more impressive for a young player to break in as a catcher than as a right fielder. Posey had to handle the added difficulty of managing his pitching staff, which, while not something that’s as important as, say, hitting and throwing and catching, is certainly a thing that exists. Posey had to cope with the strain of squatting for nine innings night after night after night. And he still managed to hit exactly as many home runs as Jason Heyward, but in 34 fewer games. That’s good stuff. Posey-chu, I choose you! Good on you, sportswriters.

The AL ROY is kind of a weird choice, though. Neftali Feliz was fine, I guess, but there were like at least three better choices. To be fair, the AL rookie class was a lot weaker than the NL rookie class this year; the AL didn’t exactly have any Evan Longorias this year. Well, I mean, unless you count Evan Longoria. Which, as far as rookies are concerned, you should not; he is clearly not a rookie, as you can tell from the size of his paycheques.

Where was I? Ah yes: the sex. Feliz was fine and dandy — a 2.4 WAR rookie relief pitcher isn’t something to be sneezed at. But Austin Jackson and Danny Valencia were better by WAR. Never mind that. That’s not what I came here to talk about. I came to talk about Carlos Santana.

Carlos Santana was fucking jobbed by the Indians this year. They didn’t call him up until June 11th, and he went down on August 2nd with a knee explosion after the Red Sox’ Ryan Kalish bulldozed him at the plate. That was it for his season. In that less-than-two-months period, Carlos Santana did this: .260 / .401 / .467 / .868. His OPS+ was 144. He played league-average defense at catcher. He was worth 2.2 WAR in those 46 games — very nearly as many as Feliz, Jackson, and Valencia earned in full seasons. If the Indians hadn’t held him in the minors until the middle of goddamn June, this would be his award, no question.

The pisser is that he accumulated just enough roster time that this will count as his rookie year. I might have voted for him anyhow; he was stunningly brilliant in those 46 games, and almost as valuable overall as any other member of the class regardless. He probably deserved at least one vote. Were there no Cleveland homers to stick him on the ballot?

Enough about rooks. Let’s talk about old men now. I’m sure you’ve heard the news: God exists! He is real, and His love for us is everlasting. We know this because Dusty Baker-Stupid did not win the NL Manager of the Year, and that clearly is the work of a loving God. Bud Black of the high-lariously overachieving San Diego Dads beat him by one point. One point! I love that shit. Suck it hard, Dusty! You go to hell and you die.

Speaking of Mark Prior, his new boss R. Washington didn’t win his league’s award either. Perpetually confused Twinkies manager R. Gardenhire won it by a big chunk, which seems weird to me. Did all those voters just forget which Ron they wanted to pick? What the hell did Ron Gardenhire do, exactly? He took the best team in baseball and led them to a good-but-not-great 94 wins, and managed to edge out a team of old people who can’t hit run by a man whose greatest ambition in life is to make less sense than the Iron Shiek for the top spot in baseball’s stupidest division. Good work, Gardy! Grats on winning the AL central. Which you do every year. Because your team is awesome and the rest of those teams are bad.

Meanwhile, R. Washington at least managed a franchise that’s notorious for losing all the time and went to the World Series with them. I know we’re not allowed to count the stuff that happens during the playoffs, but you’d think he’d get credit for getting the Rangers to the playoffs in the first place. Or for doing lots of cocaine. Or for having a slugger who did lots of cocaine. Or, at the very least, a 300-year-old owner who threw out the first pitch in World Series game 3 and hurled a 65mph strike. Doesn’t R. Washington get any credit for that??

If you can’t tell, I don’t have any substantive arguments about the Manager of the Year. It’s a stupid award, and it doesn’t really have any criteria, and managers don’t really do anything that’s objectively valuable. But I do think it’s weird weird weird that Gardy won and not Washington.

I’ll cover Cy Youngs tomorrow, after the AL is announced. Are you ready for my shocking twist ending to the NL Cy Young argument? You won’t be able to handle the flavour!


November 17th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | 2 comments

Why don’t I have trouble believing this?

Mets to hold 4 second interviews

Admit it. You always figured the process was something like that, didn’t you. Well, perfectlydarien.com’s crack team of journalists has acquired transcripts of some of the Mets’ famous four-second interviews of yesteryear. Enjoy!

"What will your priority be in the offseason? Signing seven backup catchers? Great! You’re hired!"

"What’s the most important ingredient in a winning baseball team? Voodoo? Awesome! You get the job!"

"Do you know anything about baseball at all? No? You’re in!"

"Will you punch an old dude in the head on team property? Awesome! We like your style!"

"Do you ever get on base? Like, ever, at all, ever? If on-base percentage is so important, why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard? You’re our man, dummy!"

"Are you a deadly disease that will infect our paying customers? Just the attraction we need!"


November 17th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Hey, did you know

That if you go here to the 2010 free agent class, and you look at the list of free agent pitchers — which are sorted by career WAR — the very top name on the list is a relief pitcher? That seems odd to me.

By which I mean: holy shit that guy’s good.


November 14th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | 2 comments

Q: Could God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it?

A: Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter won the Gold Glove this year for the same reason he can snag a greatest-hits list of starlets and have his own scent of cologne and instantaneously own any room into which he walks:

Because he’s super, super, crazy rich?

He oozes Jeterness.

I think they make an ointment for that.

Perhaps you have not heard of Jeterness.

Surely I have not, for I am new to the vagaries of the baseball, not to mention baseball journalism and certainly the World Wide Tubes. Please enlighten me about this Derek Jeter fellow, of whom certainly nobody has ever spoken before, and whose name certainly does not return two million results on Google.

It is an all-encompassing and -embodying quality that amalgamates Derek Jeter’s greatest attributes into one succinct air of being.

Well, that explains that, then.

It is equal parts cool, attractive, intelligent, heroic, humble and confident. Men want Jeterness. Women swoon at those who have it.

So basically he’s exactly like TV’s Beyond Good and Evil’s Jade, of longest article ever fame.

And the New York Yankees are going to lavish him for it.

Apparently sportswriters will do the same.

Right now, for the first time in his career, Derek Jeter is a free agent, and this development is spurring a great debate.

And a lousy article.

There are two sides: to pay or not to pay, a fairly black-and-white construct.

Awesome mixed metaphor. It’s two-sided, but it’s a construct, see, and it’s black and white! Derek Jeter perhaps is an Othello chit.

Hardcore Jeter loyalists want the Yankees to open their overstuffed pocketbook and write him a blank check. Jeter realists see his age, skill set and quantifiable contributions to the team and want him back – he is, after all, the only shortstop in this free-agent class worthy of wearing Pinstripes – albeit at market price, which is a good $10 million a year less than Jeter will end up getting.

I was a part of the big goofy crowdsourcing experiment on Fangraphs, and the considered opinion of the Graphin’ Fans is that market value for Derek Jeter is around $15M/year. His average WAR/162 is 4.8, which is worth about $20M in marginal money. Take off a hunk because he’s old and coming off a lousy year, and $15M is about where you end up. I mean, he’s not Edgar Renteria who’s been brutal for years — in 2009, Derek Jeter was worth 6.5 WAR. 6.5! One year ago!

So the point is: you think Derek Jeter is going to sign for $25M/year?

The reality hews closer to the former than the latter, and it is because of his Jeterness. Just watch.

Oh, I will watch. I will watch with bated breath to see if your prediction of $25M/year comes true. Spoiler warning: it will not.

When Jeter sits atop the dais with Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi for the press conference to formally announce his signing, they will laud his leadership and warble on about how he’s a winner. The best part will be when someone talks about what Jeter means to the Yankees, then doesn’t bother giving actual examples, like it’s some self-explanatory phenomenon.

Maybe they just figure everybody in the press will explain it for them. Just like you’re doing now. Just like everybody always does.

Jeterness, at its greatest, is quite spectacular.

Yeah, man, we know.

It is diving into the stands

Which is a pretty weird thing for a guy who’s supposed to be in the middle of the field to do if you think about it for a few seconds.

and making plays deep in the hole at shortstop

And not making any plays that are even like shading toward his left at all ever.

and delivering in clutch situations during the playoffs.

Derek Jeter, career postseason: .309 / .377 / .472 / .850
Derek Jeter, career regular-season: .314 / .385 / .452 / .837

Alex Rodriguez, career postseason: .290 / .396 / .528 / .925

Jeterness also has this sick way of zombifying otherwise-rational Yankees fans into believing these singular moments of greatness somehow weave a tapestry of never-ending awesomeness, like Jeter is without fault, flaw or iota of weakness otherwise.

Jeter’s pretty damn good. Defense is lousy, and his power was never that great (and is tailing off), but he gets on base really well. Sportswriters like to ball-wash him for having… what are they called? Untangibles? Infringibles? Oh, right: imponderables.

Not that you know anybody who’d do a thing like that, right?

In the end, his Jeterness made his Gold Glove, and it makes it difficult to stomach, too.

No, his objectionably bad defense is what makes it difficult to stomach. And I prefer Alex Remington’s theory as to why Jetes won.

Anyone who watched a couple Yankees games this season – even the most ardent Jeter supporter – could say his defense isn’t what it used to be, and what it used to be was never much more than above average.

No, his defense is pretty much exactly what it used to be, which was: never much more than way, way below average.

Jeter wasn’t ever Luis Aparicio, Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel – and those are the only players to win more than his five Gold Gloves.

Actually, according to Fangraphs, Ricky Gutierrez is the only shortstop in history to accumulate fewer defensive runs than Derek Jeter. So here is a list of players Derek Jeter "wasn’t ever:"

• Chriz Gomez
• Shawon Dunston
• Michael Young
• Jose Offerman
• Jeff Blauser
• Tony Womack
• Alex Cintron

Should I? Okay, one more:

• Alex Rodriguez

So how, well into his 30s, does Jeter keep winning the award? It’s a number of factors, chief among them the paucity of recognizable shortstops in the American League.

I’d say chief among them is intellectual laziness on the part of the voters. I mean, you can’t name any other shortstops in the American League? Cesar Izturis has been playing for nine thousand years, and he’s pretty good (defensively, I mean). I hear there’s some fellow called Marco Scutaro who plays for the Red Sox — you’ve never heard of him? Not once in the many thousands of articles from before the season that talked about what an awesome hitter he is now that he’s finally "matured?" (Marky Scoots, 2010: .275 / .333 / .388 / .721) (Me, 2010: told you so)

As much as you’d like to think the voting bloc – managers and coaches in each league – puts thought and effort into the awards, sometimes it’s as simple as which name pops into one’s head first.

Right. Laziness. Like I said. And distinctly unlike what you said.

And when you think shortstop, you think Jeter. Because, really, who else is there?

When I think shortstop, I tend to think Starlin Castro. But that’s mostly because, even though he was hellaciously bad this year, he was not Ryan Theriot and I will never stop thanking him for that.

Elvis Andrus? Alexei Ramirez? Jason Bartlett? All more deserving, sure, but none with nearly the Q rating.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, fucking whoa there, hoss. One of these things is not like the others. Andrus I’ll give you. Ramirez I’ll give you. I’ll even throw in a Cliff Pennington, who you hilariously overlook in your list of unfairly overlooked players, adding a delicious slice of irony to my evening. But Jason Bartlett?

Jason Bartlett, 2010: -3 TZ, -3 TZ/135, -10.4 UZR, -13.8 UZR/150, 0 FSR

Congratulations. I believe you have found the only AL shortstop who was actually less deserving of the Gold Glove than Derek Jeter.

Also, what’s a Q rating? I’m going to assume it’s a new defensive metric made up by this guy. I bet it says Jeter’s the best!

And that is the thrust of Jeter’s free agency. It’s not about what he is as much as what he was, and what he was now helps define who he is.

That was a whole lot of babble right there. Is is was was who he is was he who who he is is not that it it is. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Jeter was a player worthy of a nine-figure deal: a Hall of Fame-caliber shortstop on a championship team. Those are rare, and they deserve to be paid accordingly. Once those skills diminish, however, so does Jeter’s usefulness. And allowing anything beyond a modicum of emotion to infiltrate the negotiations puts the Yankees in a position to lose.

All of those things are true. However, all of these things are also true:

• Jeter was pure liquid awesome in 2009. One bad year doesn’t prove he’s cooked.

• There are, as you said earlier, no other shortstops on the market who are worth buying. It’s like the dessicated corpse of Ultimate Supreme World Series Hero Edgar Renteria, and big fat fatty who never ever gets on base ever Juan Uribe. And Eckstein!

• I can’t even type the words "the Yankees’ farm system" without laughing. So let’s just say the Yankees’ trade-fodder system has nothing going on.

This won’t be the standard golden parachute, after all. Whereas companies bestow exorbitant bonuses upon retiring executives, the deal the Yankees offer Jeter won’t be for going away.

Uh… yeah. We know that. Did you just hear?

He’s still playing, still playing shortstop for now, and so he’ll be compared with other shortstops, and with other players in his tax bracket, and if he keeps playing like he did last season, the deal will only look more grim.

He will, more to the point, be compared with the other available shortstops. Who are all really, really bad. I don’t think Troy Tulowitzki is available right this minute.

Jeter will get at least three years, and though the Yankees want to talk about $15 million per year, the number should creep closer to $20 million in the end.

I thought you said earlier he’d sign for $25M. Or are you saying you believe — contrary to things like evidence and reason and even smelly things like consensus — that Derek Jeter’s market value is something like $7M? You’re kind of loopy either way here.

Last season, he was one of only five players to top that benchmark, and he doesn’t want to slide underneath it, not when the man to the right of him, Alex Rodriguez, made nearly 50 percent more than him last year. Jeter never complained about it because he’s bigger than that. You know, the Jeterness.

What? You’re looney-tunes, man. Jeter never complained about "only" making $22.6M to put 1.3 wins on the board because he’s "bigger than that?" Probably it’s because absolutely fucking nobody could make that much money, do that poor a job, and complain that he’s underpaid.

I mean, here. Alex Rodriguez made almost 50% more money than Jeter. But you know what? He contributed about 120% more wins: 2.9. So, yeah, Jeter probably knew better than to bitch, hey?

It does serve him well. It’s easy to hate Jeter the player because he’s so good.

It’s also easy to hate Jeter the player because he has five goddamn Gold Gloves and is the worst-fielding shortstop of all time.

It’s really, really difficult to abhor Jeter the person. He’s smart. He stays out of trouble. He takes ownership of his shortcomings. He’s warm. He’s revered by teammates, legitimately so. He’s genuine. He embodies the Yankee Way as much as Gehrig.

He’s so dreamy. If I were a woman, I’d vote for him for husband. Actually, since I’m in Massachusetts, maybe I will anyhow.

If there’s anything to dislike, it’s that there’s too much to like, and he sets an impossible example for the rest of us.

Kind of like how you go to a job interview and tell the guy your biggest flaw is that you work too hard, right? And then he kind of gives you a thin little embarrassed smile like he can’t believe you actually said that. Picture me doing that right now.

That’s what the Yankees are up against. They want to be judicious with this contract, apply to it all the logic in the world. But they can’t.

The Yankees, one must admit, are known more for solving problems by applying all the money in the world. Also they probably do about $11M/year in Jeter jersey and t-shirt sales, and that offsets it a wee bit.

This is Derek Jeter. He transcends sensibility. His Jeterness is corrosive on reason, intoxicating on emotion.

So I’ve noticed.

And in the end, it will wear down the Yankees and charm them again just like it does everyone else.

I’m just about ready to pay him the $20M myself. I need the Jeterness. I want to look at it, feel it, suck on it. I want it to ooze all over me.

But mostly I just want him to sign already so these articles will stop. Because they’re awful.


November 12th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | no comments