Monday, April 21, 2008

Gibbons and Ricciardi Are Two Ignorant Fuckheads

But sadly, it's not my job to make fun of them. It's my job to make fun of people who support them and give really awful reasons. We're talking Richard Griffin here, friends. Griff thinks that Frank Thomas was the recipient of the worst Blue Jays contract of all time.

Of 82 major-league free-agent signings in the Jays' 32-year history, the contract given to Frank Thomas on November 17, 2006, now ranks as the team's worst free-agent signing ever. Rounding out the Top-5 free-agent disasters are Erik Hanson (1996), Randy Myers (1999), Corey Koskie (2004) and A.J. Burnett (2005).

You're talking about bad Blue Jays contracts and avoiding talking about Vernon Wells's 7 year, $126M fiasco? The dude has a .268 career EqA, a solid 20 ticks below what Frank Thomas did last year. Granted, Wells signed an extension, so he wasn't technically a free agent, but come on.

With yesterday's release of Thomas, the Jays effectively gave him $18.12 million (all figures U.S.) for 696 plate appearances that produced 157 hits, 29 homers and 106 RBIs, with a .266 average.

What's wrong with that kind of production? Solid power....that batting average is a little sketchy, so you may have a point there unless Frank Thomas is really, really good at drawing walks or something....

Yes, he reached base 100 times on walks and hit-by-pitch,

See, but that's useful! You can't just shrug stuff like that off! That more than makes up for his low batting average! Oh no....unless.....

but most times that was just clogging the basepaths.

...which caused the Blue Jays to call their local basepath plumber, Humperdink McBuggins, who watched a tape of every time Frank Thomas was on base last year and came up with a estimate and told the Blue Jays, "Yo, J.P. I can fix this shiz, but it's gonna cost you 4.2 runs over the course of the season". And J.P. Ricciardi agreed in a second, because he takes his advice from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, who estimated the unclogging cost at about 10 times that much, rendering every walk (but not single, hey why aren't singles "clogging up the basepaths" too?) pretty much useless.

And lo, McBuggins brought over his gigantic baseplunger and baseplunged away the cloggity cloggage, reduced Thomas's WARP by a mere 0.4, and then everyone lived happily ever after. The End.

The question was always where to bat the Hurt. With Thomas in the five-hole, that was a fifth right-handed bat in a row.

Oh NO! Now the opposition has a slightly easier time using situational relievers against the Blue Jays! Hey, isn't there a such thing as pinch-hitting anyone on your bench? Oh right, my bad, not everyone in baseball has the defensive skill to be a DH. I've really gotta think these things through in advance.

Plus, he forever clogged the bases with his lack of mobility ... and that is not something that has changed since GM J.P. Ricciardi reached agreement with Thomas just three days into the '06 free-agent signing period. Another thing: in that abbreviated negotiating time frame, whom was he bidding against?

Are you telling me that paying someone $9M a year to hit .277/.377/.480 is stupid?

With Thomas gone, flexibility has returned to the batting order. With Lind on his way back, there is now room for him and Stairs to both play.

Yay! We get to play a disappointing young player and a dinosaur that had a mysterious breakout at age 39!

Plus, when they go on the road for interleague games with no DH, they have 13 men that can play a position.

You hear that, White Sox? Dump Jim Thome while you still can!

Wait, there's more. Griffin wrote something on this just before Thomas was released too.

A revised DH combo of Stairs and either Rod Barajas or Marco Scutaro could be easier to slot into the batting order than was the slumping one-man roadblock that is the Hurt.

How is that "easier"? Barajas and Scutaro are way tougher to spell correctly than "Thomas". meant better for the team. Yes, lets have a backup catcher who's career line is .239/.288/.409 be our designated hitter. No about the most .257/.321/.381 utility infielder in the history of baseball, that would be real EASY to slot into the batting order at a position DESIGNATED for the player to only be able to contribute to the team by HITTING.

Caveat: The utility infielder has the ability to make the entire crowd chant "MARCO!! ::clap clap:: SCUTARO!!" as seen in the 2006 ALCS, thereby firing up the team with his having-the-same-first-name-as-some-explorer-after-whom-a-really-annoying-childrens-pool-game-was-named-ness.

And where do you get off calling Frank Thomas a roadblock??? A "roadblock" in a lineup is someone who doesn't keep the line moving by making outs. A man who just OBPed .377 and has a career .420 OBP does NOT fall in that category.

Last season, his first with the Jays, Thomas also stumbled out of the gate. After 60 at-bats in 2007, he had 12 hits (a .200 average), two homers and five RBIs. Yet, further to his point, Frank remained in the lineup until finally righting the ship and finding his groove. This year, with three homers and 11 RBIs, he will not receive that same chance.

Let me rephrase that.

Here's a recent and insanely relevant example of a long term trend that Frank Thomas starts slow then gets his act together later. Frank Thomas started off slow this year. Therefore, cut him. Logic is great. I'm Richard Griffin. I get blazed and fornicate with donkeys every night and can no longer think clearly.

There is a bigger picture here for the Jays.

Really? Well they aren't paying any attention to it. They are taking a 10 game sample size and saying, "Our DH can't hit anymore! He sucks! He's a backup! Bench him! Don't like it? FINE! GET OUTTA MY OFFICE! GET ROD BARAJAS IN THE STARTING LINEUP ASAP!"

What's best for the team, in this case, is also best for the organization. A $10 million Thomas deal in '09 would become untradeable, the worst-case scenario for a largest-ever Toronto payroll that has scraped the $100 million mark.

Paying $10M for a pretty useful player? Horrendous! Hey, isn't this the team that wants to start Shannon Stewart in LF every day and release Reed Johnson? Vernon Wells is worth 7 years, right? B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett....they have awesome health records....don't they? But ZOMG! WHAT IF WE CAN'T TRADE FRANK THOMAS????

Thomas as a bench player can't play a position.

He can't do that as a starter either.

I can't wait for you to print your mailbag. I want to discuss how retarded this decision is some more. I didn't think the Blue Jays offense could get worse this year, but wow....just wow. Congratulations Toronto. Way to completely waste the success of a very promising pitching staff by sinking your offensive production into a wide, wide, Barajas-shaped hole. Watch out, David Ortiz.....your team might suddenly decide that Sean Casey and Kevin Cash need at-bats more than you do.

(I want to clarify the source of my -4.2 runs for Thomas's baserunning. The stat is Equivalent Baserunning Runs, which are calculated by Dan Fox in his excellent essay in Baseball Prospectus 2008 entitled "The Tortoise, The Hare, and Juan Pierre." The calculations are easy to follow and make a ton of sense. As it turns out, in a typical year like 2007, the difference between the best baserunner in the league (Juan Pierre, +11.6 EqBRR) and the worst (Ryan Garko, -8.8 EqBRR) is about two wins. And yet Pierre still isn't better than Garko. When taken in a team sense, the best baserunning team in baseball (Phillies) was between 3 and 3.5 wins better than the worst (Astros). So yeah. Baserunning. Not that big a deal. Just thought I'd was a pretty interesting analysis.)


Jeff said...

Wow that was terrible. That guy is an idiot. I hate local Sportswriters who cheer nonsensical moves (ahem, Bill Plashke).

Tonus said...

Frank "bases clogging" Thomas has scored 1,474 runs in his career, including nine seasons of 100 or more (eight of those in consecutive seasons).

Does any sportswriter recognize the sheer stupidity of claiming that a player has a low batting average, then complaining that when he *does* get on base, he's a liability? And since when is it better for a guy to make an out instead of getting on base? What's the worst that can happen when Frank Thomas walks? He might make an out on the basepaths?

Honestly, how outrageously idiotic is that whole idea? Gahhh, I just don't get it.

blanco said...

Mailbag Posted!

Martin said...

I think it ended up being Riccardi trying to save some face for the Jays and his manager for being called out by Thomas. I agree with the idea of benching him a bit over the next week or so, to get a more productive bat in there right now. It was the fact that Thomas started bellowing about it being a move to keep from getting his plate appearances that I think had J.P. do this dumb ass thing. The Jays should have just said "He's not doing well right now, so we are going to be playing Stairs more for the next week or two till Frank's bat comes around. We are confident that he will be the productive player we signed, over the course of teh season."

Instead he and Gibbons have had their pride hurt and ditched Thomas in another boneheaded move.

pnoles said...

That's exactly what they should have done, martin. Congratulations, you have more sense than an MLB GM in charge of tens of millions of dollars worth of assets.