The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

If Gordie doesn’t watch it, I might have to start a new blog about getting him fired

Yes, friends, Gordon Edes is at it again, saying bad nonsense about baseball. You’d think someone who actually gets paid to write baseball words might actually know something about how to write them, but this appears not to be the case. To wit:

"The biggest winners at the trading deadline? The flip answer would be to say the New York Yankees, who were 21-7 in August, their primary move the pickup of utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. Brian Cashman, who made all his big moves last winter, could afford to stand pat."

I have to agree — saying that a team that didn’t make any trades at the trade deadline was a "big winner" would be at least "flip." Some may say it’s "stupid," in fact. Generally, in order to be considered a winner, one needs to be playing the game — you don’t win the lottery by not buying a ticket, Gordie. You just don’t lose like the people who did buy the tickets.

"But there is little doubt that the Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox are the teams that have profited most by their deadline dealings… Theo Epstein, in moves reminiscent of his 2004 trades for shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, upgraded the team’s defense by bringing back shortstop Alex Gonzalez and dealing for first baseman Casey Kotchman, and carrying the 2004 analogy even further, added Joey Gathright as a potential 2009 version of Dave Roberts."

There you have it, folks: Gordon Edes’ opinion of a team that was a big winner at the trade deadline is a team that got rid of John Smoltz, who has posted an ERA+ of 512 since leaving the team (in only eleven innings, to be sure), and Brad Penny, who has, so far, pitched eight extremely effective innings for the team that is getting his services at no cost, and picked up Alex Gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, and Joey Gathright. Of those three players, exactly one isn’t completely and utterly useless, and here’s a hint: his name doesn’t contain the letters "Joey Gathright."

Casey Kotchman is a usually-acceptable, though entirely unremarkable, 1B/DH type, which is the exact position the Red Sox do not need depth at. Offensively, he ranges from slightly-below-average to slightly-above-average, with a very-close-to-average career OPS+ of 96. If the dude had any comprehension of how to take a walk, he might be a decent batter. As it stands, he can fill a hole if you have only eight players not on the DL and really need somebody to play 1B.

You may remember Alex Gonzalez as the SS who stank it up so hard in 2006 that the Red Sox couldn’t wait to get rid of him. Offensively, he’s a wash; dude could strike out at tee-ball. Defensively, he isn’t an upgrade over a goddamn thing.

And Joey Gathright. Oh, Joey Gathright. The Cubs cut this asshole back in May even though they had nobody to replace him with. He’s just that good. If you’re looking for a corner outfielder with an OPS+ of 26 and exactly one career home run, well then Gathright just may be your answer! I mean, don’t get me wrong; Dave Roberts wasn’t exactly any damn good himself, but he was so much better than Gathright there’s just no comparison. Roberts played significant plus defense, whereas Gathright is borderline-minus. Roberts was generally hovering around average offensive performance at his position, whereas Gathright puts up numbers so bad you’d think he was a starting pitcher. Roberts has twenty-three career home runs to Gathright’s one. Joey Gathright is probably the very worst active player in baseball, and, no, I haven’t forgotten about this asshole or this asshole. I also haven’t forgotten about this asshole, who won a totally undeserved MVP in a year he led the league in outs. I guess he thought he could win another MVP if he led the league in outs again, because guess who’s leading the league in outs this year? Same asshole. Four times! Four times he has led the league in outs. That is not good.

What was I talking about? Oh, right, Gordie:

"Colletti had an obvious eye on October with Monday’s waiver-deadline deal for Thome, and Jon Garland gives him a starter with postseason experience."

I think what you meant to say there is "Colletti had an obvious eye on moving to the AL so he could use the expensive new DH he traded for," because Thome is old and broken and fat and can’t play the field anymore. However, unlike the last batch you wet yourself over, Thome can at least still swing a pretty mean stick. I suppose you’re right that they got a pitcher with postseason experience in Jon Garland, but another way to look at it is that they got a pitcher who was pretty good in 2005, hasn’t really been effective since, and costs an awful lot of money.

"Blame it on the groin injury that sidelined him in mid-June, or more likely, blame it on the trade talk that swallowed him up for weeks this summer. But there is little question, Toronto ace Roy Halladay has had an inconsistent season. After shutting out the Royals, 4-0, on June 7, one start after striking out 14 Angels, Halladay was 10-1 with a 2.52 ERA. In 13 starts since, he is 3-7 with a 3.80 ERA."

No, on second thought, let’s stick to blaming it on the groin injury. Seriously, Gordie, the man was lights-out until he got hurt, came back from the DL and hasn’t been so good, and you think it’s "more likely" that he was psychologically scarred by the idea of being traded to a winning team? You have some weird fucking ideas about baseball. These men are not made of Kleenex. The crushing psychological pain of possibly-maybe being traded to a team that has a chance to win anything ever does not ruin their ability to play. You know, except for this asshole.

"A persuasive case can be made that Joe Mauer is an easy choice to be AL MVP, but a handful of candidates – Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Kendry Morales, Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Cabrera – could yet make it a tough call."

No. It is not a tough call. It is undeniably the man who leads the AL in every significant offensive category while simultaneously playing excellent defense at motherfucking catcher: Joseph Livingston Wentworth Mauer III.

"To wit: Since the All-Star break, Jeter has nearly been Mauer’s equal as a hitter – Jeter has a higher batting average, .360 to .351, and his home run and RBI totals (seven and 24) are in the same universe as Mauer’s (11 and 31)."

Well, first off, Gordie, we’re not talking about the mythical "Most Valuable Player Since the All-Star Break" award (MVPStASB), which you made up. Jeter was in a funk in the first half. That still counts. Even that notwithstanding, let’s eschew BA (the difference between .351 and .360 is 2.5% anyhow) and RBIs (where Mauer has an actually-meaningful lead of 22.6%) and focus on grown-up stats. Mauer’s line, second-half: .358 / .418 / .597 / 1.014, for an sOPS+ of 165. Jeter: .352 / .403 / .508 / .911, sOPS+ 140. Does that look very close? I got to this post a day after Gordie wrote it, and the BA swing had shifted to give Mauer the edge; never mind that. The simple fact that that big a shift can happen in one game this late in the season is part of the reason (only part!) why BA is a dumb stat for dummies.

"Morales, meanwhile, has 15 home runs and 45 RBIs since the break, most in the AL in both categories, while batting .371."

Here he goes with the BA and RBIs again. This time at least he’s picked a player whose second-half adult numbers actually support his argument, though: .365 / .391 / .713 (!) / 1.104, for an sOPS+ of 184. That is awesome. If his first-half numbers were anything like as good, he’d be a serious contender, even though he plays marginal defense at 1B instead of awesome defense at C. But they were not. And, Gordie? They still count. Remember: this is not the MVPStASB.

"Teixeira has put up big power numbers while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense."

I like this one. Short and to the point. Doesn’t carp about RBIs or second-half splits or nonsense like that. Unfortunately, it’s wrong. Teixeira’s power numbers have been utterly unexceptional for a 1B: He has a line of .281 / .380 / .541 / .920, with a 138 OPS+ and 32 HR. That’s not bad, but it’s not lighting the world on fire. It doesn’t in any reasonable world put him in the same category as Jeter or Morales, much less Mauer, who, by the way, is a catcher. And Teixeira’s defense has not been particularly good; BA doesn’t have a 2009 FRAA for him yet, which is the most useful stat, but the rest of his defensive numbers are about where they usually are: slightly above average. I want to make fun of Gordie for calling this "Gold Glove calibre" defense, but, honestly, he’s probably right. Gold Gloves are stupid.

"Youkilis has proven a legitimate cleanup hitter in Boston."

Fuck, I’m sold. Em-vee-pee. I’m sick and damn tired of illegitimate cleanup hitters sneaking into my country and stealing my jobs and MVP awards. I mean, I like Youk, and he’s been good this season to the tune of .312 / .419 / .568 / .986 and a 148 OPS+, but Gordie ignores that slightly compelling data in favour of talking about the imaginary stat of "legitimacy," which is apparently defined as "amount of adorableness if he won the MVP the year after Dustin Pedroia."

"Cabrera’s big bat has carried the Tigers."

Yeah, sure has. Carried them all the way to waddly-first-baseman-land, where everybody’s fat and nobody can field for a great goddamn. The pitching is what has carried the Tigers this year, numbnuts. See how they’re tenth in the AL in runs scored? And third-best in runs allowed? Pitching. Pitching pitching pitching. Not fatty first baseman. I mean, Cabrera’s been fine, but he’s not competitive with Mauer. And the only thing he’s been carrying this season is lots of extra weight.

"Overlooked in the Mets’ disastrous season has been the play of second baseman Luis Castillo."

You’re right: Castillo’s play has been overlooked. As it deserved to be. .308 / .397 / .359 (!) / .756? 102 OPS+? Yay for you, Luis Castillo! Congratulations on being 2% better than average offensively!

"Since July 1, the Cardinals’ Big Three starting pitchers Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Joel Pineiro have gone 29-4. Is pitching coach Dave Duncan eligible for the Cy Young award?"


September 3rd, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

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