Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Baseball!

Baseball is my favorite sport. I seem to be writing less these days because there aren't as many baseball articles. All that is being written under "baseball" on websites is about Clemens and Congress and some guy named George Mitchell who I've never heard of before yesterday (seriously though, anyone else getting sick of the Clemens saga?). None of those things have anything to do with VORP or SNLVAR, so my one-track sabermetric brain is too stupid to write anything meaningful about them (unless Howard Bryant (SMACK!) plays the race card). I have yet to decide whether this paragraph is primarily serious or sarcastic.

Anyway, Glaus and Rolen are swapping teams, that's pretty interesting huh? Jerry Crasnick said that it's good for both parties. I agree with him! But just for fun, let's see what bogus reasons he can spew at us in an attempt to write an article long enough for publishing, shall we?

Toronto manager John Gibbons had a couple of highly-publicized blowouts with Shea Hillenbrand and Ted Lilly two years ago. But if you talk to people around the team, they'll tell you Gibbons is a "player's manager" who creates a comfortable environment for his guys.

If you cut to the core of this paragraph, you get the meaning: "Except for dealing with problematic personalities, John Gibbons is excellent at dealing with people!" Wow, sounds like a super dude. Also, what moronic player is going to tell an ESPN reporter that the manager is doing anything BUT creating a comfortable environment for the team? You think they're just going to make waves and tell the public if there really is a problem? Most-to-all players will publicly say that they like their manager. Maybe you're right, Crasnick, and maybe Gibbons is pretty good at that, but ask any of LaRussa's boys over in St. Louis the same question, and you won't hear a different answer (except for maybe Mr. Rolen). This paragraph basically says nothing about the quality of John Gibbons as a manager, when you think about it.

That's a good thing for Scott Rolen -- the Blue Jays acquired the third baseman in exchange for Troy Glaus on Saturday -- because Toronto's newest addition doesn't have a particularly good track record with authoritarian types.

Let's try a syllogism based on these first two paragraphs!

Premise 1: John Gibbons has a history of having personal problems with players with confrontational personalities.

Premise 2: Scott Rolen has a confrontational personality.

Reasonable Proposition: Scott Rolen is likely to have a personal problem with John Gibbons!

Rolen's former St. Louis buddy, David Eckstein, recently signed a one-year deal to play shortstop for Toronto, so the Jays won't have to spend much time building synergy on the left side in spring training.


With extreme apologies to the writers of I, Robot, I must confess, Jerry, I'm allergic to bullshit. "Synergy on the left side?" Is that an important thing? Are Joe Crede and Juan Uribe best buddies (do they even speak the same language?)? How about Julio Lugo and Mike Lowell? A-Rod and Derek Jeter get to the playoffs every year.....because they work so well together, right? Is THAT how these teams are doing it?

No seriously Jerry, exactly how many defensive plays per year involve both the shortstop and the third baseman? It's a stretch to say something like this about the shortstop and the 2nd basemen, much less 2 people who rarely throw the ball to each other.

And although the three years and $33 million left on Rolen's contract scared off some clubs, the commitment fits right in with Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi's timetable. The Blue Jays are built to win over the next three seasons, with Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, Alex Rios, Lyle Overbay and B.J. Ryan all tied up contractually through 2010 or beyond, and now the team won't have to fill a potentially gaping hole at third base.

So these are the components of a "built to win" team.

1) An overrated CF who collapsed last year and has turned in 2 notably above-average offensive seasons in his last 6
2) A legitimate ace (with a good amount of injury history)
3) An above-average corner OF
4) A pretty mediocre starting MLB 1B
5) A very good closer with significant injury problems.

Well, I'm sold. Watch out, Red Sox and Yankees. This sounds completely different than the Blue Jays who have been mired in slightly-better-than-average-itude for the past several years.

I'm truly disappointed, Crasnick. You should take this as a compliment, because I refuse to write this about mostly anyone else I scribble about, but you can do better.


Jarrett said...

I think we here at Fire Jay could all use a little more synergy.

And between their injuries last year, Rolen and Eckstein sure didn't build much synergy last year.

larry b said...

The worst, least interesting, "fucking fuck, I would rather be assaulted by Mike Tyson than read about this anymore" story out there is easily the Johan Santana trade saga.

"Yanks still in, says Steinbrenner"

"Red Sox continue to talk with Twins"

"Santana neither demanding trade nor demanding non-trade"

"Mets desperately trying to convince everyone they are going to get Santana"

It's fucking killing me. Just let me know when it's over. I don't want to read another goddamn word about it until he actually gets traded, or officially gets taken off the table.

Oh, and when listing Blue Jays, don't forget about Matt Stairs!

Andrew said...

pnoles - synergy on the left side has more to do with the 3B knowing the range of the SS next to him in relation to balls hit to his left, whether into the hole or slow choppers on the grass. It's pretty relevant, althought not on par with the 2B and SS relationship. I'd imagine Crasnick was going in that direction.

Chris W said...

The amount of times when a 3B chooses not to cut a ball off because he knows the SS can more easily make a play going into the hole and then throwing across his body are so minimal as to be nearly irrelevant

pnoles said...

Andrew, Chris W is right. In general, the 3B should make any play he can get to. Rarely, if ever, is it correct for him to let the ball go past, because that would leave the shortstop running in the opposite direction of likely forceouts, instead of the third basemen running towards them.

You just....don't like me, do you? ::sniff::

Tonus said...

David Eckstein, the Sultan of Synergy. A literal cacophony of chemistry. The Goomba of Glue!

pnoles said...

tonus, you are a label machine!

Andrew said...

I guess I'm just thinking from a Met fan prospective... Wright's biggest weakness IMHO is when he has to move hard to his left and make a throw with his momentum behind him - it's not always a pretty sight. Which is ok, because he's got a SS with a cannon of an arm and tremendous range playing next to him.

larry b said...

I love "Goomba of Glue," but is Eckstein Italian? Obviously his name is German, but he looks either Finnish or Antarctican.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a lot of past andrew comments that I don't agree with, but I will defend him on this one. More important than chris w's limiting case of choosing whether or not to cut a ball off is initial positioning. How many balls go through the left side of the infield per game? A relevant number, that can be reduced when the two infielders know each other and work well together.

pnoles said...

I'm not sure that's as important either, anon. Initial positioning is all give and take.....if the 3B shifts towards the SS, he's giving up a little down the line....the SS has a similar issue up the middle. Initial positioning is more determined by the inning's situation and the hitter at the plate than the guy defending next to you.

Andrew said...

When you have a SS with as weak an arm and as little range as the Herald of Heart to your left, your initial positiong is NOT based solely on the situation, I'm sorry. I don't know what else to tell you.

Andrew said...

OK. We need to move on from here. I can't believe what that pompous uber douche simmons decided to publish today and I refuse to read ESPN again until he is fired - it's gotten out of control.

dan-bob said...

But the thing is, their positioning isn't based on some bullshit "synergy", it's based on the players being good defenders - OR on the coaching staff being good position-ers.

From a GM's perspective, good synergy on the left side of the infield has to be like 329853475 on the list of things to accomplish when building a pennant winner.

larry b said...

I got the Simmons piece, Andrew. I'll take care of it tonight. It's a new all-time low, even for him.

pnoles said...

Andrew - the shortstops that you are talking about do not play Major League Baseball. Left side of the infield synergy is just completely and totally unimportant. I'm sorry. I would instantly trade the most left-side "synergy" in the league for the least left-side "synergy" in the league if it meant a boost of ONE PLAYER'S batting average by 10 points (and I HATE batting average as a performance measure). Synergy is the whole functioning better than the sum of its parts. The shortstop and third baseman use about as much teamwork as a wide receiver and a linebacker. Case closed.

Andrew said...

You're right dude. That's all your waiting to hear, so you're right. There are no major league shortstops with limited range and below average arms.

I'll keep that in mind the next time you guys are bitching about David Eckstein.

cs said...

Can't wait for the Simmons piece... the deciding factor in his highly scientific analysis of 2007 Pats-1986 Celts is a rambling dialogue from... his father. What a pile of shit.

pnoles said...

Didn't comprehend "Herald of Heart", that's my bad.

The weakness of Eckstein's defense certainly matters.