The Miami Marlins are not likely to be heavy spenders heading into the remainder of the offseason. Given their massive trade-off of multiple high-salary players from earlier this offseason, this should come as no surprise. The Fish are looking to stay as budget as possible in filling out the remaining roster spots.
But that does not mean that the team is not still interested in spending a little bit of money. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Fish have a few million remaining in their budget with which to acquire some relief pitchers to fill out their bullpen.
The Marlins are sifting through the batch of unsigned free agent relievers as they focus on a bullpen that was looking rock solid this time a year ago but is now filled with holes. After signing Placido Polanco for $2.75 million, they still have a bit of leftover money from the Yunel Escobar trade with which to obtain an inexpensive relief arm or two. (Remember, after trading Escobar and his $5 million salary to the Rays last month, the Marlins vowed to re-invest that net savings in payroll.)
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/fish_bytes/2013/01/my-hof-ballot.html#storylink=cpy
This is an interesting comment for a number of reasons. The fact that the Marlins "vowed" to re-invest the money they saved in trading Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays has little predictive value in whether the Marlins actually do use the cash. The team has more than proven itself unreliable in its money-based decision-making; at any given moment, that re-investment plan may have gone down the drain quickly.
More importantly, it is odd to see the Marlins decide to spend money again on one of the least important areas on the team, relief pitching. The Fish are not exactly replete with bullpen arms, but the team is not missing them entirely either. The Marlins are set at the closer position with Steve Cishek, but the club has young upstarts like A.J. Ramos and Tom Koehler along with more established players like Ryan Webb potentially filling out the back end of the 'pen. In previous years, a group like this one would have been supplemented with scrap-heap pickups at bare-minimum prices. Is that what the Marlins have in store this season?
I browsed the remaining free agents and took a look at a few names the team could consider with the $2.5 million or so remaining of Escobar's salary.
Will Ohman: In 2010, Ohman spent 17 games with the Marlins as a late-season acquisition and did fairly well, but his game collapsed in the last few years while playing for the Chicago White Sox. He lost a lot of strikeouts in 2012, but for $1 million or less, the Marlins could do worse than a guy whose primary problem in recent years has been the one thing Marlins Park stops the most, home runs.
Rich Hill: Hill worked parts of the last few seasons with the Boston Red Sox out of the pen and had decent success in very limited innings. The Marlins could take Hill for a trial to see if his still excellent stuff can find any semblance of control while at the same time being assisted by Marlins Park's favorable dimensions.
Francisco Cordero: As late as 2011, Cordero was still somebody in that he held a closer job and was a passable bullpen pitcher. The 2012 season was a complete collapse year, and it is not surprising that Cordero played poorly given that his numbers were on the decline. But with his name being tied to the closer role in the past, a hot start may net the Marlins a minor prospect at midseason.
Matt Lindstrom: It is surprising to see Lindstrom with less interest than expected given his good year last season (47 innings, 2.68 ERA, 3.16 FIP). He still has the same BABIP problem he always had with the Marlins, but it seems he has found a way to harness some control and thus not rely on getting more strikeouts to be effective. With an improved Marlins defense and deep fences, maybe Lindstrom could establish himself for a midseason trade.
None of these options are worth the full amount the Marlins have to offer, but if the team can get one or two of these players on one- or two-year deals a la Randy Choate before 2011, it may benefit the Marlins in the end. At the very least, the Fish will give themselves more opportunities to turn a hot start into a middling prospect to add to the team's sudden minor league depth.
Happy Hall of Fame day to all those still paying attention to baseball a month and half out from pitchers and catchers reporting for duty.
We've gotten some really great articles posted the last few days discussing the Hall of Fame and our beloved Astros. Coincidentally enough we have two horses in the race for the Hall of Fame Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, both had fantastic careers and are locks to get in in the future. A majority of writers agree with me as the latest ballot polls show Biggio and Bagwell as the leading vote getters. Unfortunately for Biggio and Bagwell, a majority of writers writing your name on the ballot doesn't get you elected, 75% does. And while Biggio and Bagwell are the leading vote getters it appears they'll just make it or fall just short of induction into Cooperstown.
The first, is that Biggio and Bagwell were overall pretty terrible in the playoffs:
Craig Biggio, .234/.295/.323 in 40 playoff games.
Jeff Bagwell, .226/.364/.321 in 33 playoff games.
Now, 185 plate appearances (PA) for Biggio and 129 plate appearances (PA) for Bagwell are a great example of the term small sample size, or SSS for short. Small sample size essentially means there's not enough data to make a definitive conclusion about a players ability. For hitters, 500 plate appearances is the ideal sample size for analysis, at 500 PA most hitting statistics have stabilized. Biggio and Bagwell for there careers have over 21,000 PA from which to analyze how good they were as players, yet, some use less than 200 PA to make an argument against their inclusion into the Hall of Fame.
I understand it's the playoffs and maybe we should give playoff appearances a little more weight even then there's still a huge gap in sample size. I'm all for giving extra credit to Jack Morris or Curt Schilling for 10 shutout innings or a dominating outing that includes bloody sock. It is the Hall of Fame not the Hall of Statistics, I get that, but giving extra credit doesn't mean it should define the argument for or against their inclusion into the Hall of Fame. So unfortunately Biggio and Bagwell's playoff career is a negative, that's fine because we're still only looking at one side of the argument.
During the Killer B era the Astros played in the playoffs:
The St. Louis Cardinals twice in the National League Championship Series.
And the Chicago White Sox once in the World Series.
Instead of addressing each individual series lets focus on the five times the Astros faced the Braves.
The first three series with the Braves (1997, 1999, 2001) Biggio and Bagwell struggled to hit for a .200 batting average which is bad, in fact it's really bad, but you have to take into consideration who they were facing. Astros hitters faced Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz in eight of those ten games. I'm not trying to make excuses for Biggio and Bagwell, they should have hit, but when everything is taken into consideration there is a reason why they didn't hit. Taking on perennial Cy Young candidates is no east task and many hitters would not have fared much better against that trio of pitchers.
The two years that Biggio and Bagwell had success against the Braves in the playoffs (2004 and 2005) only John Smoltz was still with the team and he was in the bullpen. Biggio and Bagwell's playoff record should certainly be taken into consideration but only with the correct weight and context.
The other argument against I want to address only deals with Bagwell and has a small link to suspicions surrounding his use of PEDs. In 1990 Bagwell hit only four homruns for the Red Sox at AA New Britain. In 1991 he hit 15 homeruns in 100 more plate appearances with the Astros. Was it PEDs? Or could it have been the ballpark he was playing in? Bagwell's four homeruns for New Britain was second on the team to Eric Wedge, who hit five.
Bagwell's 880 OPS with New Britain led a team which was averaging a .649 OPS. Among Eastern League hitters Bagwell's 880 OPS was second in the league to Mitch Lyden's .896 OPS. All hitters in the league were averaging a .662 OPS. New Britian, and for that matter the Eastern League itself, was a pitchers haven. Bagwell was already a very good hitter and one of the league leaders offensively before he was traded to the Astros. Simply comparing Bagwell's four homeruns in the minors to his 15 in the majors and accusing him of PEDs is misguided and flat out wrong.
In the most recent post, I took a guess at the hitters who might start the year with the PhilliesRead the Rest...
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1990 Headline: Jim Palmer & Joe Morgan Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame On this day in 1990, both Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan were elected into the Hall of Fame as part of the ‘Class of 1990′. Jim … Continue reading →
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Theo Gerome at Hot Corner Harbor looks at what young players need to do to set themselves up for the Hall of Fame: Best Players 27 and Under and the Hall: Two Separate Ideas
So, Dan Szymborski ran an interesting article over at ESPN a few weeks ago in which he projected the careers for MLB’s 24-and-under stars to see who might be looking at the Hall of Fame. I enjoy looking many years into the future, and I’ve been meaning to look at the many young stars of the game for a while now. Now seems like a good time to do so, especially with a Hall of Fame context.
BtB's own Ari Berkowitz wrote a piece about Sandy Alderson and his regime over at Amazin' Avenue: They're Not The Same Old Mets And That's The End Of The Story
As I'm sure you already know, it isn't easy growing up a Mets fan. We’re constantly disappointed, whether it’s game 7 of the 2006 championship series, big name free agents not panning out (I’m looking at you Jason Bay), or futile season after futile season.
R.J. Anderson at Baseball Prospectus looks at the future of baserunning in his column, Painting the Black: The Future of Basestealing
A few weeks ago, prior to the holidays, I called Coco Crisp the league’s best basestealer. Being the best anything is a temporary position, so when you label someone the best you get people thinking about who will be the future best. In this case, that probably means Billy Hamilton. But the lack of video makes it next to impossible to review Hamilton in a thorough manner. Besides, writing "He’s so fast," over and over is a boring read. Instead of Hamilton, I opted to review two other players with a shot at usurping Crisp: Mike Trout and Desmond Jennings.
Jeff Moore of the Hardball times looks at the Rangers' excess of infielders: Jurickson Profar to begin season in minors
On Monday, a report came out quoting Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels stating that the team's top two prospects, shortstop Jurickson Profar and third baseman Mike Olt, will likely begin the season in the minor leagues unless the Rangers have full-time at-bats for them. Daniels was quoted in the article as saying "we believe in Mitch Moreland."
Michael Barr at Fangraphs explores pitchers who couldn't quite finish that complete game: Complete Game, Interrupted
Similar to my post earlier in the summer on what a beautifully morbid season Cliff Lee was having, I tend to have a fascination with the way baseball sometimes refuses to be fair. I blame Tom Paciorek
If you would like to submit something for Sabersphere, email me at SpencerSchneier22@gmail.com.
Today's BtB Retro comes from Bill Petti: The Best Short Pitchers of All-Time (7/12/11)
Following up on my earlier look at the best short position players of all time, I decided to look at how vertically challenged pitchers fared historically.
The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its player selections for induction into Cooperstown today. Players selected will join former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O’Day and 19th Century ballplayer Deacon White in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013. This year’s ballot is a loaded one with names like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, along with old-timers like Dale Murphy (in his last year on the ballot) and Jack Morris (in his next-to-last year on the ballot). The stacked ballot, along with the complications of performance-enhancing drugs has led to confusion among writers, with some even refusing to return ballots (a noble act or a juvenile tantrum, depending on your point of view).
Among the eligible names on the ballot are five former Royals. To be eligible to be on the Hall of Fame ballot, a player must have played in the Major Leagues for ten seasons. Now, four of these players don’t stand a chance of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and including them with names like Barry Bonds makes them seem like crummy ballplayers. But in reality, it is quite a feat to last in the big leagues for ten seasons. So we salute these five fine ballplayers, who donned Royals blue.
Jeff Conine was a 58th round selection in the draft by the Royals in 1987, a draft that also netted them Kevin Appier (a borderline Hall of Famer) and Terry Shumpert (a starting second baseman for a year or two). It would be their last good draft for a couple of seasons (until 1991 when they landed Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa).
Jeff was kind of old when they took him out of UCLA, and they brought him up very slowly, blocking him at first base by terrible first basemen like Todd Benzinger, Carmelo Martinez, and Warren Cromartie ( who wasn’t terrible, but was just really, really old). In 1992, instead of giving Conine a chance, the Royals signed Wally Joyner to a lucrative contract. Conine learned to play some outfield in an attempt to get playing time, but the Royals then acquired Felix Jose and refused to trade or release Kevin McReynolds. Thankfully for Jeff, the Royals left him unprotected in the 1992 Expansion Draft, opting instead to protect light-hitting shortstop David Howard. Fans knew it was a bad idea at the time, but the Royals argued Howard was the only shortstop on the entire roster, and if you play baseball without a shortstop, you probably won’t win baseball games. Think people!
The Royals seem to have this recurring trend of not believing in first basemen in the minors who put up numbers but don’t fit whatever archetype they think a first baseman should fit. Before Jeff Conine there was Cecil Fielder, who languished in the Royals system before he was dealt to Toronto, jumped to Japan, and came back to become an All-Star slugger. Before Cecil there was Ken Phelps who was a Royals minor league stud before they let him go only to watch him become a slugger in Seattle and later a punchline on “Seinfeld.” Before Phelps there was Randy Bass who was a AAA slugger for several teams including the Royals before becoming a legendary gaijin slugger in Japan. More recently we had Justin Huber, Calvin Pickering and Kila Kaa’ihue who may have become great, or may have flopped, but we’ll never really know.
Conine went on to flourish in South Florida, becoming a fan favorite with the nickname “Mr. Marlin.” He hit .290 or better in each of his first three seasons in Miami and developed some power, hitting 25 home runs in a shortened 1995 season. The Royals reacquired him in 1998 to play left-field, but the strench of the organization brought him down and he had the worst season of his career. They immediately traded him the next season to Baltimore and Conine resumed being a league-average first baseman/corner outfielder for several seasons.
Before there was Roberto Hernandez 2.0 a.k.a “Fausto Carmona”, there was Classic Roberto Hernandez. The Puerto Rican-born Hernandez grew up in New York City, before attending the University of Connecticut, and later the University of South Carolina-Aiken, where a ballpark bearing his name now sits. He was drafted by the Angels, bounced to the White Sox, and made his Major League debut as a 26 year-old starting pitcher against the Royals in 1991.
The White Sox decided to move him to the pen, and Roberto’s career really took off. From 1993 to 2000, he saved 254 games, the third most in baseball over that stretch. He signed a big free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but after two years of not competing, the Rays decided to move him. The Royals were trying to deal impending free agent outfielder Johnny Damon and were seeking a reliever in any deal to shore up their historically bad bullpen. When the Dodgers were unwilling to move starting pitcher Eric Gagne in a deal with reliever Antonio Osuna, Athletics General Manager Billy Beane swooped in with a three-team trade proposal that included the Devil Rays sending Hernandez to the Royals in a package that included A’s catcher A.J. Hinch and minor league shortstop prospect Angel Berroa. The Royals agreed, much to the derision of their fans.
Kansas City sports writers reasoned that since the Royals had been a 77-win team in 2000 with 30 blown saves, and Roberto Hernandez had saved 32 games in 2000, the Royals were going to be truly competitive now! Except Roberto was now 37 years old, the offense took a major hit without Damon, the rest of the pitching staff was still awful, and the team lost 97 games. Roberto was pretty crummy in his short two-year stint in Kansas City, and the Royals were more than happy to see him go. Unbelieveably, he would pitch for six more teams after age 38, including two separate stints with the Mets.
Reggie was a really good player for a long time, but never great. He made one All-Star game, in 1995 early in his career, and that was the only year he received MVP votes. It was the only year of his career he finished in the top ten in the league in batting average, home runs, RBI, OPS, or WAR. But he was otherwise a pretty solid player when healthy, which was not very often. Not once in his career did he ever play more than 140 games in a season, despite spending his entire career as a regular.
Reggie Sanders spent his first seven seasons with the team that drafted him, the Cincinnati Reds. But once he hit free agency he bounced around the league. San Diego. Atlanta. Arizona. San Francisco. Pittsburgh. St. Louis. He was good enough to continue to find employment, but not good enough that anyone wanted to invest a multi-year deal with him. Everyone was afraid he was about to fall off a performance cliff, and they didn’t want to be the team left holding the bag. And of course, he fell off the cliff in Kansas City.
The Royals signed the 38-year old Sanders to a two-year $10 million deal in 2006, the biggest free agent contract ever handed out by Allard Baird. His legs were shot (so of course they asked him to steal bases fifteen times, and he was caught eight of those times) and he played just 112 games in two seasons.
He did join the 300 Home Run/300 Stolen Base club with the Royals, an illustrious club that included Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, Bobby Bonds, and….Steve Finley (Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez have since joined the club as well). I always thought it was funny this was brought up as evidence that Sanders was some awesome player to be mentioned with Willie Mays, but really it meant that the club itself was probably pretty mediocre. As Groucho Marx said, “I don’t care to be part of any club that would have me as a member.”
Lee is the only one of these players that stands a chance of being elected. He retired as the all-time saves leader (since passed by Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera), collecting 478 saves for eight teams.
Lee Smith was a Royal – kind of. If you look at his Player Record at Baseball-Reference, you will see no obvious evidence of it. But in 1998, the Royals signed the 41-year old Smith and invited him to spring training. I like to imagine how that went:
Smith, clad in a t-shirt with an expletive printed on it and some oversized zubas because the Royals could not procure baseball pants sized XXL, towers over the Royals coaching staff at their complex in Baseball City, Florida. After twice refusing to put out his cigarette upon calls from pitching coach Bruce Kison to please refrain from smoking while on the playing field, Smith lumbers to the mound, takes the ball in hand, and fires ten 95-mile-per-hour beebees at catcher Sal Fasano. He then turns, removes the lit cigarette out of his mouth and flicks it in the general direction of dumbfounded onlooker Glendon Rusch, and asks the trainer for some Ben Gay.
“What team am I playing for again?” Smith asks Kison.
“We’re the Royals,” responds a perturbed Kison.
“F*** this sh**, I’m goin’ back to Louisiana,” grumbles Smith as he trudges off the field, never to be seen again.
Rondell is the answer to the question – who is the only major position player acquired by the Royals at the trade deadline in anticipation of a pennant race? (the only pitcher was Brian Anderson, the same season – 2003). The modern trading deadline has only been around since 1986, conveniently missing most of the Royals success. But in 2003 the Royals got off to an unbelievable start, then tried to tread water while a weak Central Division tried to sort itself out. In the hopes of staving off a Twins comeback, the Royals acquired White and cash from the San Diego Padres that July for pitchers Brian Sanches and Chris Tierney.
White had long been a very good player, but could never stay on the field due to injury. 2003 was one of his healthier seasons, and he was rewarded with his only All-Star appearances. After the Royals acquired him, he was sensational, putting up a 1.013 OPS in 22 games and electrifying Royals fans with a near inside-the-park home run in his very first game in Royal blue.
The Royals made little effort to retain Rondell, instead “upgrading” that winter with slugger Juan Gonzalez in an attempt to recreate the magic in 2004. It failed. Rondell would go on to be useful in Detroit for two seasons, and not so useful in Minnesota for two more, before calling it quits.
Those are your former Royal "Hall of Fame Ballot Eligibles." Would you vote for any of them for Cooperstown? Who would you vote in? The complete ballot is here.
(797) MISSISSIPPI VS (798) TENNESSEE
Take: (798) TENNESSEE
Reason: I’m not sold on Cuonzo Martin as a head coach at this level. I’m not impressed with the hoop IQ of this Tennessee team. My pre-season opinion that the Volunteers were overrated and nothing more than a middle of the pack SEC team looks accurate, especially with Jeronne Maymon now apparently redshirting due to injury. Ole Miss is playing good ball and just on the numbers, they’re the better team here. All that said, I’m looking at this as a statement game for the hosts. Off the disappointing loss to Memphis, I’ll call this a major character check for Tennessee. Figures close but with the knowledge that Maymon isn’t going to be putting on the jersey this season, I’m sensing a major effort from the Volunteers tonight, so I’ll chance Tennessee as small chalk.
Not so long ago, the MLB offseason was considered one of the most exciting times for New York Yankee fans. It was a time when hot stove headlines were greedily hogged by the Bronx Bombers with news of the team?s latest, big-name acquisition. Well my[...]
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1989 Headline: Johnny Bench & Carl Yastrzemski Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame On this day in 1989 both Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ironically, both players spend their entire … Continue reading →
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