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Sunday Thought

Baseball fans of all colors: saying, repeatedly, that “we aren’t going to whine about all of our debilitating injuries or use them as an excuse” is just a passive-aggressive way of whining about injuries. Please, feel free to complain. They hurt, literally! Injuries, in our mind, are a perfectly reasonable explanation for a team’s difficulties. They suck for us as fans and crimp chances, and if they come in spates that is even worse. When an injury happens it means that a guy is being replaced by a guy that a team didn’t want to play ahead of the guy who was playing.

So we don’t really begrudge people (YF or SF alike) complaining about the bad luck of injuries or their effect. Bragging that you aren’t going to complain is silly. And, at heart, just another way of complaining.

33 replies on “Sunday Thought”

you know i hate it when we agree on something sf, but yeah, i’ve floated this notion a couple of times in the past few days, that just how many injuries are enough for yf’s to start saying man, we can’t get a break [no pun intended] injury-wise…with the latest colon and martin injuries, i feel like i’m close to that point…and of course your point is right on about teams preferring to play one player over another…i think that’s the whole concept behind WAR, isn’t it?…i mean as nice a surprise as chavez was, does any yf really want him full time over arod for example…ironically, now he [chavez] is hurt…colon got the starting job out of spring training because we didn’t want to give it to that other guy, what’s-his-name, and martin was signed because we didn’t trust posada any more, and didn’t want to rely on cervelli full time…then cervelli gets hurt, for awhile…now martin is hurt, which hurts [oy] because he started out well, then started to fizzle, but was still proving to be the best of the 3 choices for the yanks…it’s well documented that the yanks were already thin in starting pitching, and while the popular joke was wondering how long we really could rely on fat bart and ready freddy, the fact is colon emerged as one of the more effective starters on any staff…the bullpen, supposedly a strength, now appears to be down to robertson, mo, and a bunch of guys joe doesn’t trust…one of the sf’s made a comment to me the other day that when the yanks start losing key position players, then we’ll have something to whine about…i say that when you lose your starting catcher and your pitching staff is reduced to the rubble ours is, it’s ok to start wimpering, if not full-fledged whining…while i’m at it, i’m going to whine about all the hbp’s…arod got hit again yesterday…probably a coincidence, but he and granderson absolutely pounded homers in the past couple of games against the obviously frustrated indians…ump thought it was intentional…girardi knows it is…the homer has become the yanks only offensive weapon, and it seems lately anyway that the popular opinion is that the best way to take it away is to hit the batter…you give up 1 base rather than 4…don’t know any pitcher that wouldn’t make that trade…i’m guessing the neaderthal in some of these guys tells them that it’s better than an intentional walk because you get the same result and the pleasure of plunking the guy that keeps making you look bad…i certainly hope it doesn’t happen, but if a yankee position player gets hurt by one of these thugs posing as pitchers, then you will really hear me bit*h….

I hope you weren’t referring to me SF…if so, please don’t assume you know what the hell I’m thinking. NO ONE knows what the hell I’m thinking…I hardly know most of the time.
Injuries suck. Injuries can ruin a season. BUT, it’s part of the game and maybe a blessing in disguise? Maybe we find out what some of the younger players have so we can trade them for Ichiro. Who knows???
Bottom line, we are still in the mix after having played like GARBAGE for 2.5 months. We’ll see.

Nobody in particular, krueg. It’s a constant thing at this site, the injury-excuse talk. I just am not bothered by injuries explaining travails.

Dude, give up on Ichiro. He’s finished. He’s not even a singles hitter anymore and his defense is now suspect. Of course, now Cashman will trade for him.
As for the injuries, it’s bunk as an excuse. Maybe it gives fans a reason to stop paying attention. But decent organizations can find depth in their system. Mauer’s loss wouldn’t be as bad if they hadn’t traded Ramos for Capps.
The Yankees would be doing much better if they hadn’t traded Dunn and Melancon, let alone Clippard, for nothing in return. Berkman was not an upgrade over Miranda and Vazquez was a opportunity cost to develop more pitching. As it is, both Noesi and Phelps deserve five starts in MLB. Warren is getting close too. Hell, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen, to say nothign of Jose Tabata, would help the pinstripes these days. What a fucking waste.
Injuries are just a BS nonsense excuse when fans don’t want to admit their team prepared poorly for a season. It’s the rare team, especially in this age of PED prosecution, that survives a full season. The question isn’t the 25-man. It’s the 40-man plus that makes all the difference.

Here’s Cafardo on Ichiro:
“Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners — When is he ever spoken about in a negative light? Probably never. Ten straight 200-hit seasons, a .328 career average. But where has it gone? He hit .210 in May and started 5 for 36 (.147) in June. He is a 10-time Gold Glove winner but ranks last among major league right fielders in UZR. At age 37, is this a slump or loss of ability? He entered yesterday’s game at .252, 76 points below his career average, and on Friday, he was out of the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 30, 2009.”

Here’s my Sunday thought: If Ortiz is this productive all season long, don’t the Sox have to give him a multiyear deal?
Hell, if I’m the Yankees I’m offering Ortiz years at $30 million to yank homers down the RF line. That’s after Cashman trades Montero away for Billingsley.

“colon got the starting job out of spring training because we didn’t want to give it to that other guy, what’s-his-name”
Actually dc, he didn’t. Despite the fact that he outpitched Garcia in spring training, Bartolo started out in the Yanks’ pen as their starting 5 on opening day consisted of CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova, Freddy. With the days off in early April they were able to delay Freddy’s first start until the third time through the rotation, but on the fourth time through they finally started Bartolo because Hughes had laid 3 eggs. In fact, Bartolo’s first three appearances for the Yanks this year were out of the pen in relief of Hughes before he finally took over his spot.
Re: injuries, the Yanks have lost the guy who was supposed to be their #3 starter (Hughes) and the guy who had asserted himself as their #2 (Colon) in addition to the decimation of their pen (joba, Feliciano, Soriano) and the position/bench-player losses (martin briefly, Chavez).
But CC and AJ have been healthy and their 1-7 hitters have been pretty much healthy, and their two best arms in the pen this year (Robertson, Mo) have been healthy. I really don’t think injuries explain much of anythign for this team. The games blown by their pen were primarily blown by guys before they got hurt (esp Soriano) or guys who haven’t been hurt all year (Mo), or just suck (Boone).
The anemic offense has not been due to starters missing games but rather starters unable to hit with RISP.
I don’t think injuries are helping them in any way obviously, but until Bartolo’s replacement(s) turn in 1 or more turkeys, or the pen fill-ins implode, I don’t see much impact yet on the results from these injuries.
Frankly, outside of their games vs. Boston all year, this team has played very well. And has banged out a ridiculous number of runs despite no one hitting for a particularly good average.

Indeed IronHorse. The Yankees, to my mind, have been overperforming expectations. A big chunk of that belongs to Colon and Garcia, but Granderson being the best outfielder in baseball certainly helps as well. Martin being the best free agent signing in baseball also certainly helps.
In a year where I just didn’t expect much from this team, given the off-season and their woeful development of pitching, I’m surprised. I just wished they used the year to figure out what they have on the farm. Hopefully they will now and will avoid the need for a desperate trade like Nady or Vazquez or Berkman – moves that did little to help but shunted helpful youth out the door.

Regarding moving one NL team to the AL, to make two 15-team leagues: I’m against it. That means that at any given time there will be one team in either league that’s not playing. Juggling that would make things much more difficult, imo. Though if you do move a team, the easiest thing is to undo Selig’s Brewers move and send them to the AL West. Then each league has 3 divisions of 5 teams.
The best long-term solution is to eventually add two more teams and have two leagues of 16 teams. A Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon would work well.

Colon and Garcia are pumpkins. They’ll lose their luster soon enough.
Martin, by contrast, is under team control for another two years. And he’s been hurt the last month. If they called up Montero, he’d get the rest he deserves.

And while we’re at it, Granderson isn’t “the best outfielder in baseball”. Bautista, Berkman, Holliday, and Braun all have him beat currently. He’s still one of the best outfielders in baseball for sure, but it’s a little hyperbolic to call him “the best in MLB” and then turn around and lambast Paul for writing “love letters” about the Sox’ current streak.

> Portland, Oregon
Portland lost their AAA franchise this past year. PGE Park formerly split duty for baseball, soccer, and college football; it’s been remodeled for the Portland Timbers MLS club and is now Jeld-Wen Field. Not that the stadium was ever ideally built for baseball in the first place.
The nearest minor-league team is the single-A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 50 miles south. The AAA Tacoma Rainiers are 140 miles north.
I doubt Portland City Hall/Multnomah County will ever get its shit together long enough to build a new stadium as part of luring a AAA franchise back to town, let alone a big-league club, much to my overwhelming disappointment. Professional baseball in Portland is now just a memory.

Selig’s Brewers the NL is the biggest BS of his tenure. He threw away their history for easier competition. I agree they should be the ones to move back.

I don’t have time to run numbers today – or this week at all frankly – but when you add Granderson’s defense and baserunning ability, I would be surprised if he dropped any lower than top 3 among outfielders.
Martin is simply not the best FA signing. The most obvious counter-example is AGon, who is simply having an MVP year, has played no small part in rejuvenating Ortiz, and is shored up for many years to come. Martin was a gem secured by the Yankees at a discount to start at a position where they desperately needed a quality veteran still in his prime. That is all. It is a lot – and I made that case myself in a Martin-dedicated post here, but let’s not make it out to be something it is not.
I would love to see a balanced schedule and (almost) don’t care how they get to it.

AGon wasn’t a free agent. Rizzo, in fact, is crushing NL pitching.
As I’ve looked more into it, Andrew McCutchen might be better. Bautista and Kemp have serious defensive issues.

“I would love to see a balanced schedule and (almost) don’t care how they get to it.”
Me too. I know baseball has always had the two leagues but it seems to me that everyone should play everyone.

Well the combination of those two ideas (everyone plays everyone and the AL and NL remain apart) is exactly what I would love to see: namely everyone in the AL play everyone in the AL an equal number of times; everyone in the NL play everyone in the NL an equal number of times, and the top X teams make the playoffs for their respective leagues. What I don’t like is the playoff slots within leagues being allocated across teams playing vastly different schedules. It is OK I guess when there is no wild card – then the best in each division make the playoffs and even if the divisions themselves are horribly unbalanced, at least there is fairness within each division. But once you introduce a wild card system that gives playoff spots to teams in a league-wide competition, where the teams vying for it are often playing vastly different levels of competition, it just seems really silly.
My bad on AGon. Wasn’t Beckett a free agent this past off-season? If so, he is turning out pretty well too. As for Bautista, I am not sure about his range (I’m sure it doesn’t rival Granderson’s, but I’d be surprised if it isn’t at least as good as Swisher’s), but if I’m not mistake, he has an excellent arm.

According to Fangraphs, Granderson currently ranks fourth in WAR among all major league outfielders, behind Bautista, Kemp and McCutcheon. Within a half-win of him (which is a virtual tie over a full season, so within striking distance at this point is I guess how I’d put it) are Stubbs, Braun, Span, Joyce and Ellsbury.
Baseball-Reference ranks Granderson 12th, behind Bautista, Kemp, McCutcheon, Span, Braun, Joyce, Ellsbury, Berkman, Quentin, Beltran and Stubbs.
The only major differences in the lists are the WAR for Span (+0.5) and Granderson (-1.1). Why does B-R take such a dimmer view of Granderson?
B-R gives him 3.5 fewer batting runs, 0.7 fewer baserunning runs and 2.5 fewer fielding runs. That’s a 6.7-run difference and accounts for most of the discrepancy. The rest is likely the different baselines the two sites use for replacement level, which is frankly pretty annoying. But that means Total Zone and Base Runs, the two systems B-R uses to calculate fielding and batting runs, respectively, like the other outfielders a little better and Granerson a little worse than wOBA and UZR.
The quality of those dozen or so outfielders after Bautista, McCutcheon and Kemp are such that a few changes here and there totally shuffles the deck. I wouldn’t have a problem saying Granderson is one of the four or five best outfielders in baseball this year, as long as we can agree it’s something like a five-way tie for that distinction with Span, Ellsbury, Braun and Joyce.

“AL play everyone in the AL an equal number of times; everyone in the NL play everyone in the NL an equal number of times, and the top X teams make the playoffs for their respective leagues. ”
That’s exactly it. It really should be that simple. With 15 teams you play everyone else 11 times. That’s 154 games. That’s two four game sets and one three game set. You get the home and home and then the alternating set every year.
And then the season should end there at 154 games. Leave the interleague for exhibitions and the post-season.
Agree completely on the post-season as well. There should never be a season like 2008 where the Yankees had the better record than the White Sox and yet missed the playoffs, playing a division with two other playoff teams. I don’t know why more wasn’t made of this sad fact at the time.
Let the top 5 teams in league make the playoffs with the two lowest playing a three game set to advance. Or since they’re shortening the season in my fantasy land, make it the top 4 with seven games all around.
Of course, life isn’t that simple.
Beckett wasn’t a free agent either. Looked more into this one as well, and there’s an argument for Berkman. But Martin is still under team control for another year.

Thanks for running htose numbers Paul – that’s a huge difference between BR and Fangraphs on assessing Granderson.
I am not sure I agree with .5 wins qualifying as “being in a virtual tie” when the overall scale we’re talking about doesn’t even go to 5.0 on either system. Maybe .1 or .2, but .5?
If you go by Fangraphs, Curtis is closer to having the second highest WAR among OF’s than any one of the guys you list as being tied with him is to beating him out for 4th best on that list. The top 4 there are 4.7; 3.6; 3.5; and Granderosn at 3.3. After that, no one is higher than 2.9. So Granderson is .3 from being all alone in second place while no one is within .3 of even tying him for 4th. If we’re going to essentially round-up the 4 guys who fall after Granderson, than we’d need to give the same generous appraisal to his ranking.
But the issue here as you point out seems to be in the vastly different valuations given to him by those two systems and I don’t know enough to argue which is more accurate/trustworthy or whatever…

Centerfielders playing at a high level get extra credit in my book. The stats help, but it’s McCutchen or Granderson.
Ellsbury is looking great. You just have to worry it’s fleeting. What’s up with his defense though? It goes from wildly positive to willy negative to everything in-between. Span’s defense also looks funky. Joyce may actually be legit. Kemp too.

I guess I am one of those people then SF! Injuries are injuries, everyone goes through them. Teams like the Yankees and Red Sox should never use injuries as a crutch. With the amount of money they spend and have there should always be contingency plans. Obviously you cannot replace A-Rod or A-Gonz, but you should have a plan in place to at least try with the resources both teams have. This is why having guys in the farm system is so important. Having guys like Carlos Silva (yes I know he blows, but he blows a lot less than other teams backup, backup, backup starting pitcher) and Justin Maxwell and keeping your minor leagues stocked in so key. Again I am not delusional, I know that those guys can’t be replaced but you need to plan ahead for them and at least have capable back ups. In addition with the resources they have making trades to replace the injured players shouldn’t be an issue either. They can eat bad contracts from teams that are no longer in the race (Beltran, etc…) something the Brewers and Padres can’t do. So you won’t hear me complain about injuries and if that makes me a complainer anyway than so be it. :)

“I hate that idea, Krueg. Maybe I’m a traditionalist but I like it best when the two leagues don’t see each other until the World Series.”
I obviously have no tradition! I just think it would be cool to play everyone, plus like IH said, people play different schedules to this would make it even. Two leagues, top 6 in each league make the playoffs? Shorter regular season schedule, more teams in the playoffs, better MLB! (and less crying from the smaller market teams)

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