Walt Weiss has emerged as the favorite to take over as manager of the Colorado Rockies, according to Patrick Saunders and Troy Renck of the Denver Post. However, Matt Williams' impressive interview on Monday has forced the club to take more time to come to a decision.
Weiss, who spent several years in the Rockies organization as a player, coach and scout, most recently held the head coach position at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo. Weiss spent 14 seasons in the big leagues, winning the 1988 American League Rookie of the Year award with the Oakland Athletics and garnering a selection to the 1998 National League All-Star team as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
Williams, who is currently the third base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, remains a strong candidate perhaps due to the strengths that D-Backs GM Kevin Towers laid out to the Denver Post:
"He's a blue-collar guy who loves the game. We call him the 'Animal' because everything he does is with such intensity. I have no doubt he would do well ... Matt is a winner. A baseball junkie."
A decision is expected to be made sometime this week.
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Post is seeking to sell its minority ownership in the Colorado Rockies.
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — The San Diego Padres have obtained right-hander Brandon Kloess from the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Blake Tekotte.
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BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have hired Juan Nieves to join John Farrell’s staff as pitching coach.
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Ken Griffey Sr. ?Fab Five? ? Card #3 – 1982 Topps ‘In Action’ Now that my Ken Griffey Sr. player collection is complete, it is time to show of my favorite five cards from the set. Card #3 – 1982 Topps, In … Continue reading →
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NEW YORK (AP) — San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal has been suspended 50 games because of a positive test for testosterone.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mark McGwire was hired Wednesday as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he’ll work with All-Star sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
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I'm sure if you visit Beyond the Box Score then you have heard of Nate Silver, but the former sabermetrician did pretty well at projecting last night's presidential election: Election Forecasts - FiveThirtyEight Blog - NYTimes.com
Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation discusses what a baseball fan can take away form Silver's success: This is a Nate Silver article that's related to baseball - Baseball Nation
And you know what? Silver's numbers were better than just about anyone else's, but they were still imperfect numbers. He doesn't think of himself as a wizard. He knows there were things that could have could have messed up the model, which is why he always left a little room for doubt. He probably already has some ideas on how to rejigger his formulas based on Tuesday's results.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs presented a similar piece (no cat gif, though) that delved into some of the same ideas about imperfect data modeling: Nate Silver and Imperfect Modeling | FanGraphs Baseball
Last night was undoubtedly a win for data-based analysis, but let’s be honest, the results don’t always turn out that well. Just as we shouldn’t have discarded Nate’s model had the results been different, we shouldn’t believe his model is perfect because the results did line up with what he projected. His model is still imperfect, but it’s also still useful.
Minor League Ball has a great resource for 2013 draft profiles, in my opinion Sean Manaea is a guy to keep a keen eye on: 2013 Draft Profile Index - Minor League Ball
Dex of Gaslamp Ball gives us five interesting reasons for why the San Diego Padres should acquire free agent starter Dan Haren: Five reasons the San Diego Padres would/should pick up Dan Haren - Gaslamp Ball
That tradition of course being to pick up pitchers after an off year and make the most of them. In Dan Haren's case, a bounce back to pre-2012 means another Cy Young Award Winner in Petco Park (fences be damned). Another season like 2012 in Petco Park means a Cy Young contender.
Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus looks back some failed (and successful) predictions from within the industry: Baseball Prospectus | Pebble Hunting: Are GMs Smart or Not Smart?
Once a year, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick polls baseball executives on Hot Stove topics. This year Crasnick surveyed “22 general managers, assistant GMs, advisers, scouting directors and talent evaluators in the field for their opinions on seven questions that are likely to drive media coverage,” and the results are characteristically fun: Josh Hamilton to the Brewers! One year and $2 million for Melky! Many other things! It’s one of my favorite pieces each offseason, and I hope it goes on forever, or at least until I die, because it makes me sad to think that the world will keep going when I’m gone.
Major League News: Another year, another brutal disappointment for the Atlanta Braves and their[...]
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A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the following question on Twitter: Using the power of hindsight, how much would it have taken to build the Astros into a contender this year? The idea was simple: Assign the Astros the best cheap free agent signings of last offseason where necessary (including minor-league acquisitions), keep payroll within reason (expand it by, at most, 10%), and just see how far it gets them. By using WAR (for these purposes, we've gone with Fangraphs' implementation) and some adjustments based on playing time, and we can estimate how many wins the Astros would have had.
In taking a skeleton of a team like the Astros and putting them through this retrospective exercise, we can get a sense of the cheaply available talent on the free agent market, and how it actually applies to a real major-league team. Was there enough out there, given the perfect set of offseason moves, to have transformed the Astros into a contender? In a word, no.
A couple of notes on methodology before we get going: we assumed that we would be starting with everyone in the Astros organization at the end of the 2012 season, and that we couldn't simply make any trades I wanted, so we avoided exchanges with other clubs except for those actually made by Jeff Luhnow and the Astros, since it was clear that both parties would agree to that deal. We also assumed we had perfect knowledge of how a player would perform in 2012, and that Opening Day payroll would rise from roughly $61 million to around $70 million.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Mark Melancon for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland : This was a no-brainer, even at the time, as Luhnow traded a good reliever for a position player and a back end starter. Weiland ended up hurt for almost all of 2012, but remains under contract and cheap. Lowrie was worth more than 2.0 wins above replacement, in spite of his own injury problems.
Select Fernando Martinez off of waivers: He's got a reputation as a bad guy, but we're an organization that needs talent, and Martinez was the #20 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America once upon a time, and he's still only 23.
Select Rhiner Cruz in Rule 5 Draft: He will be terrible, but he'll make the league minimum and we have a lot of bullpen spots available.
Sign Justin Ruggiano: We know he's going to have a breakout year, so we still sign him as a minor league free agent, and we don't trade him to Miami in May.
Trade Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero for Kevin Chapman and D'Andre Toney: Bourgeois and Quintero are both expendable replacement level guys who will earn more than a million dollars combined, whereas Tony and Chapman are interesting lottery tickets for years down the road.
Select Justin Maxwell off of waivers: A great lefty-masher, Maxwell will not play every day against righties.
Photo credit: Kent Horner
Don't sign Chris Snyder: His injury plagued 2012 with a 65 OPS+ isn't even worth the $750,000 we're paying him.
Don't sign Jack Cust: Because what was he really going to offer? It was a waste of money from the moment he signed the deal, not when he was released.
We're set at catcher (Jason Castro), second base (Jose Altuve), shortstop (Lowrie), two of the three outfield spots (Ruggiano and Maxwell). We're planning to keep Wandy Rodriguez, Lucas Harrell, and JA Happ in the rotation, and Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, Wesley Wright, and Wilton Lopez in the bullpen.
Remaining Needs: First base, third base, outfielders, reserve catcher, backup infielder, starting pitcher, and reliever.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
First of all, the low-end first baseman market is atrocious. Obviously, we're not going after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, and giving a million bucks to Lyle Overbay wouldn't be a good use of resources, so we're stuck with the unholy platoon of Brett Wallace and Carlos Lee at first.
We're skeptical of Chris Johnson, so we'd prefer to bring in Eric Chavez. To sign him away from the Yankees, we're going to have to promise Chavez the starting spot and more money. Let's say it takes $1.5 million to lock him down. Chavez will be an upgrade both offensively and defensively, but he's definitely not durable, so we'll need to keep Johnson around to back up at the corners.
We're very concerned about Jed Lowrie's injury history, and with perfect future sight, know he'll be going on the DL at some point. We'd like to sign Jeff Keppinger as a backup infielder (and potential platoon partner for Chavez), but he won't be able to play short. I don't want to play Marwin Gonzalez, so I'm going to have to overpay a little for John McDonald ($1.75 million), who is much better offensively and a defensive whiz. We also need a backup catcher, so we'll sign Gerald Laird for $1.5 million and promise him more playing time than he'll get backing up Alex Avila.
There is no way we're going to enter the season with Jordan Schafer, Brian Bogusevic, or J.D. Martinez, so we're going to mix and match in the outfield. We've got Maxwell and Ruggiano, and we're going to add Jonny Gomes for $1.5 million and Juan Pierre for $1 million. Pierre will start in left field against right handers, while Maxwell will play center against lefties. Ruggiano will play right field against lefties and center when a righty is on the mound, while Gomes will split time between left (vs. LHP) and right (vs. RHP).
Photo credit: Jason O. Watson
Our rotation could also use some help. Wandy is good, as is Lucas Harrell for some reason, and we're going to have to make do with J.A. Happ and Bud Norris because we can't replace everybody. Jordan Lyles and Dallas Keuchel, however, are atrocious. Since our goal is respectability, we'll plan to keep Rodriguez all season, which will cut into some of Keuchel and Lyles' time, but we should also pick up Bartolo Colon for $2.5 million and let him have 24 starts before he gets popped for PED use. That's a total of 38 extra starts for the Astros, and should pretty much preclude the need for the gruesome twosome.
In the bullpen, we're not going to add anyone, but we are going to hold on to Brandon Lyon and keep Mickey Storey and Xavier Cedeno up with the big league club all year. That should severely curtail our need to rely on duds like Cruz, Fernando Rodriguez, Fernando Abad, and David Carpenter.
With all that out of the way, here's a table with the players we're adding and subtracting and an estimate of the difference in the number of wins we'll be getting:
Add Eric Chavez
Add John McDonald
Don't call up Marwin Gonzalez
Add Gerald Laird
Don't sign Chris Snyder
Don't sign Jack Cust
Add Jonny Gomes
Keep Justin Ruggiano
Add Juan Pierre
Stash J.D. Martinez at AAA
Divest team of Jordan Schafer
Stash Brian Bogusevic at AAA
Keep Wandy Rodriguez
Keep JA Happ
Sign Bartolo Colon
Stash Lyles and Keuchel at AAA
Keep Brett Myers
Use Storey and Cedeno for full season
Money added from Lunhow's offseason deals
Jeff Luhnow & George Postolos | Photo credit: Bob Levey
This is harder than it looks. We all like to believe that there's an abundance of free or cheap talent out there for a team to bring in. We also all like to think that if an owner and GM would just open up the purse strings a little bit, that it would be pretty easy to make a bad team good. The truth, however, is that the free agent cupboard is relatively bare at the low end (understandably so) thanks to a market that has gotten much more efficient in recent years. And unless you're able to go out and sign Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, and Aramis Ramirez, you're not going to be able to take a terrible team and make them even into a .500 club in a single offseason without significant turnover or maturation from within the organization.
Even if their team can't win, fans want them to be respectable, but ultimately, the effort to field an unembarrassing team just doesn't seem worth it. I mean, we increased the Astros' payroll by 13% in 2012 (breaking Julian's proposed 10% ceiling) over what it really was on Opening Day, and we went from 55 wins to 71 with perfect knowledge of how players were going to perform. The effort to add a couple extra wins to a bad club to placate a few extra fans simply can't justify itself.
Michael Bates is one of SBN's Designated Columnists and one of the minds behind The Platoon Advantage. Follow him at @commnman. Julian Levine is a regular contributor to Beyond the Box Score. Follow him at @giantsnirvana.