Baseball Wiseguys

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Wednesday Round-up

Never Trust a Politician

Looks like the Nats move to DC is in serious jeopardy at the moment. The DC council met Tuesday to approve legislation that would allow a ballpark to be built for the Exposenators. And it was approved, but not before Linda Cropp added in a stipulation that half of the money for the new park would have to come from private financing. That would be all well and good, if MLB had known about this in September, when Mayor Williams brought baseball to the city under entirely different pretenses. Bud and Co. are going to be pissed off, and rightly so, enough that they could go find another city for the Nats to play in after the 2005 season. The scheduled jersey unveiling that was to take place today at ESPN Zone has been postponed, most likely so MLB can regroup and decide just how to respond to this traveshamockery.

DC now has until June to find private financers to cover half the stadium cost. This is a serious setback, and even if Mayor Williams is able to find some backers, MLB may take revenge on the city and decide to move on once again.

Here's a sneak preview of your jerseys folks. Buy them now; they're sure to be a collector's item when the Nats become the [Insert City Here] Gypsies in 2006.



Yanks-Sox Rivalry News


A lot to catch up on in the AL East Arms Race these past few days...

Red Sox + Wells - Pedro + mystery SP = ???

Yanks + Wright + Pavano - Lieber = ???


Pedro to the Mutts is a huge blow to the Sox for '05 and possibly '06, but their fiscally responsible ways helped the team to avoid a long term nightmare, should Petey's shoulder start to break down. They are now scrambling to find another frontline starter, with possibilities ranging from AJ Burnett to Tim Hudson. Clement is looking at the D-Backs, so Boston may have to really open up the wallet to grab him quickly.

Where the hell is Arizona getting all this money to sign free agents? Are they banking on trading RJ to NY, or do they simply think that since they're already bankrupt they may as well go down in flames? Hopefully it's the former, and the Yanks can pick him up cheaply if they panic closer to spring training.


Choo-Choo!

JMU's Dukes head to Chattanooga to take on Montana in the 1-AA championship game this Friday night, televised live on NESN3. It should be a tough game, as Montana will be heavily favored. But hopefully the fact that the 21,000 seat stadium is located much closer to JMU's fanbase than Montana's will give them a bit of a homefield edge.

Both teams sports identical 12-2 records, and each got revenge last week for one of their regular season losses, JMU beating William & Mary handily 48-34, while the Grizzlies took down Sam Houston State 34-13. The Dukes are one of only a few teams in 1-AA history to reach the title game by winning three straight on the road.

I don't have time to spew tons of stats, so if anyone is interested, a 61 page PDF of Game Notes is available here.

Once again, all I have to say is GO DUKES!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Dukes 48, Tribe 34

Can I get a hell yeah!

GO DUKES GO!






Friday, December 10, 2004

Hot Dog Fingers

'Roids...

A random steroid question that's been bothering me:

So BALCO comes up with 2 ways to take THG, orally via the clear, and topically via the cream.

This is a steroid, right? It builds your muscles up faster than people should be allowed to, right?

So do they rub the cream on their muscles with their bare hands? If so, shouldn't we be looking for sluggers whose fingers have 'biceps' between each knuckle? I'm talking big, gigundo, ripped digits?

Or is there maybe some skinny BALCO peon that did it for them, and all the thanks he gets is some autographs and an inability to dial a cell phone due to his huge hot dog fingers?

1-AA Does it the Right Way

JMU vs W&M tonight...wet weather in Williamsburg, as expected. Pound it on the ground, Madison.

GO DUKES!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Release the Hounds!

Around the Majors
Baseball's arbitration deadline passed yesterday, which typically marks the start of impact free agents signing with new teams. As you might expect, a lot of deals were signed yesterday, all around the league.

The Cubbies re-upped their double-play combo for one more year, signing Todd Walker at $2.5M and Ramon-spelled-backwards at $8M. I think the Nomar deal is win-win for both sides involved (forgetting for a moment the fact that Nomar turned down 4yr/$60M last winter) and am interested to see how 2005 turns out for him. Despite being a Yankee fan, I've always respected Nomar, and it was disappointing to see how he and the Sox both seemingly quit on each other last year. It was an ugly scene, so maybe a healthy '05 and a playoff berth can put a little shine back into his star. He's still only 31, and a possible 2005 projection for him, if healthy, could look like this (I am doubling his '04 stats since he played about half as many games as he normally does.)


AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS
Nomar02 635 197 101 24 120 63 41 .352 .528 .880
Nomar03 658 198 120 28 105 61 39 .345 .524 .869
Nomar04 642 198 104 18 82 60 48 .365 .477 .842
Proj05 646 198 109 22 96 61 44 .356 .501 .857


Brad Radke stayed on with the Twins for two years and $18M, and Matt Morris sticks with the Cards at one year and $2.5M plus possible incentives. And the market for FA pitchers grows thinner...

Yankee News
A lot of news late yesterday, as the Yankees inked Jaret Wright to a 3yr/$21M deal and Tony Womack for 2yr/$4M. I gotta say, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. I think I am going to rename the new 2B to Tony Woeful, because he seems to be just that. Yes, he is capable of stealing a base now and then, but he is basically the anti-Moneyball leadoff hitter, with a career OBP of .319. Yuck. He's basically an older, slightly faster version of Miguel Cairo, whom it seems the Yankees have cut ties with by not offering arbitration yesterday. Two years, for a 35 year old second baseman? Doesn't make any sense to me unless the Yanks are planning on signing someone like Polanco and use Womack as the back-up.

The Wright signing is interesting. It most likely paves Lieber's way out of town; he is rumored to be headed to Philly for a 3 year deal. As much as I liked Lieber, he is a good deal older than Wright, so if the Yankees are going to throw a KrisBensonDeal at anyone, I'd rather it be someone younger. There are a couple of huge concerns with Jaret however. Can he stay healthy after years of injury struggles? And can he be the same pitcher away from NL hitting, and away from the stellar Atlanta pitching gurus? He pitched 186 innings last year, his highest total by far since the late 90's...it will be interesting to see if 2004 was the year he put it all together, or if the Yanks just pissed twenty mil down the toilet...

Nats
With one of my sleeper FA picks heading to NY in Jaret Wright, the Nationals will now turn to other starters on the market, possibly Odalis Perez. He's entering his prime years, and has throw three straight seasons of 180-220 innings, without any real sign of injury risk. Not much other on-field news involving the team, though I am still anxiously awaiting the availability of fitted Nats hats in local stores.

NCAA 1-AA
With all the bitching and moaning about the BCS of late, it looks even more absurd when you consider the fact that all of the lesser divisions of college football play a well constructed playoff system. I know the money is of another scale entirely, but there's still gotta be a way to make it work.

The big game this weekend will be played on Friday night, as the JMU Dukes travel to Williamsburg to take on the Tribe in the 1-AA semifinal. W&M edged JMU on a late FG to beat them last month, and the two teams tied for the Atlantic 10 Conference title. The two teams could hardly be any different, as W&M features a passing attack that rolls up nearly 300 yards a game, while the Dukes more resemble the old power Giants teams, focusing on a strong defense and over 200 yards per game rushing. They are calling for rain on Friday, whch could force both teams to the ground...Go Dukes!


Monday, December 06, 2004

Simple Numbers

Old Math

Hank Aaron > Barry Bonds


New Math

Barry Bonds + BALCO > Hank Aaron

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Bombshells

Yanks
So last night a 'story' that we've expected for months finally broke. Giambi admitted in front of a grand jury that he did in fact use steroids at various times in the past. This firmly entrenches Jason as the poster boy for 'roid use in the majors...to go from a .330 hitter to .208 in such a short time is stunning, especially for someone with as good of a batting eye as he has. We'll have to see what the Yankees' stance on this is, but I don't think trying to void his contract would be a good move, because what if more players are exposed down the line? Guys like Sheffield or Cairo or whatever- the Yankee brass does not want to put itself in the position that says, "We do not condone steroid use, but if you are productive you will still have a place on the team." Not a good message to send to future free agents. The best thing for the Yanks to do is just limit his playing time and hope he either starts to produce again if the talent is there, or retires and fades into Bolivian.

And just to be sadistic, here's an '05 projection for Giambi based on my (not yet patented) 3 parts 2004, 2 parts 2003, 1 part 2002 formula. Not bad for $15 million, huh?


GM AB H R HR RBI K BB OBP SLG OPS
Giambi02 155 560 176 120 41 122 112 109 .435 .598 1.033
Giambi03 156 535 134 97 41 107 140 129 .412 .527 .939
Giambi04 80 264 55 33 12 40 62 47 .342 .379 .721
Proj05 118 404 102 69 27 76 96 85 .381 .465 .846

In other Yankee news, it seems Jeter wouldn't exactly welcome Pedro into the clubhouse with open arms. For someone who spends so much time cultivating his image to be almost as bland and non-confrontational as possible, this is quite a statement. (I also happen to agree with him.)

Big Unit talks may be tabled for now, according to news reports. Arizona's demands seemed to be climbing higher every day, so they Yankees must either be really frustrated enough to call it off, or are confident that no one else will swoop in and grab RJ before the D-Backs start to sweat too much about paying him big bucks next year.

Kenny Lofton to Philly for Felix Rodriguez? Do it.

Nationals
Not much news here lately. I'm not big on getting into the politics of the whole stadium deal; I prefer to deal more with the on-field product. With Paul Wilson having signed back with Cincy, Bowden will now turn his eye towards other mid-level free agent starters. I really hope that either Odalis Perez or Jaret Wright are in a Nats uniform this year. Both are fairly young and could pay big dividends without a major investment. Perez's stock dropped like a rock after his playoff performance, so now might be the time to jump at him.