There are times in my life when I think to myself, “Diesel, it’s time to scrap the bitterness. Maybe you need to find your spirit.” Those are the times I spend a couple of days doing my best to smile at every old lady I see, refrain from rape jokes and not gun the GTI when there’s a pigeon in the road. For a short time, this makes me feel better. Then, out of nowhere, a horrible piece of sports writing will appear on my computer monitor while I’m putting a hurting on some chicken lo mien, and I immediately go back to being an asshole.
I wish I could say this stuff was cathartic, but the truth is I just fucking hate Phil Rogers so much, I wish I could sodomize him with a dirty toilet brush. And not gently, like that usually implies.
Here is the latest justification for his impending, unsanitary colonoscopy:
Gentlemen, start your checkbooks.
You’re a funny man, Phil. Heh. It’s funny, because it’s like “start your engines,” only with checkbooks instead, since owners are going to be using checkbooks to pay for free agent contracts. Heh.
There's only one problem with the gaudy numbers that Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Lee traditionally put up: They are guaranteed to lead to big contracts but do not necessarily translate into victories.
Along with Alfonso Soriano, these are the biggest bats on the market, and it figures someone will pay them accordingly (Lee appears headed to the Houston Astros; Ramirez possibly to the Los Angeles Angels). But for all their thunder, Lee and Ramirez have combined for only 55 at-bats in the playoffs (and a .218 average), generally playing on also-ran teams.
Their teams were a combined 147-176 last year. Lee did not deliver when he was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers at the July deadline, and Ramirez disappeared when the Chicago Cubs needed him to step up while Derrek Lee was sidelined.
One scout says the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics applies to free agency. "You can take any stat, I believe, and damn near make any point you choose with it," he said.
We’ll ignore the dangling participle in the second graph, and get right to the stupid, unfounded meat of Rogers’ argument. According to idiots like Rogers and his scout friend, who I really think is either the equally-offensive Jerry Crasnick or simply Rogers himself pantomiming Jerry Lewis in his head, individual numbers are useless unless those numbers came while a player was in the midst of a pennant race. This is dumb.
Here is what Rogers could say if he was interested in being right: Lee, Soriano, and Ramirez are all good hitters. But none of them are great hitters, because they don’t get on base enough.
Ramirez’s 2006 OBP: .352 (50 BB in 660 PA)
League average at 3B: .354
Lee’s 2006 OBP: .355 (58 BB in 695 PA)
Soriano’s 2006 OBP: .351 (67 BB in 728 PA)
League average in LF: .359 (AL was .347, for those who are curious)
So, while all will put up gaudy power numbers, on the whole they actually cost your team outs against the league average. Is that what you want to be paying north of $10 million a year for? Maybe not.
But, of course, the real problem with all three is that their teams didn’t win enough. But, I promise, if any of them had been Eckstein, the Cubs, Brewers, Rangers and Nationals would have all won the World Series at the same time.
Jeff Suppan deserves a big contract. After all, he's the poor man's Greg Maddux, making 30-plus starts eight years in a row, and he's never been compensated accordingly. He earned a total of only $9 million from the St. Louis Cardinals while going 47-29 the last three years, including three wins in the playoffs. But there's nothing special about his stuff, and he's coming off a season when his ERA jumped from 3.57 to 4.12.
Huh? Since when did making more than 30 starts become the baseline for Greg Maddux comparisons? Did Jeff fucking Suppan just get compared to a guy who is considered by some to be one of the 10 best pitchers of all-time?
Greg Maddux career ERA: 3.07
Jeff Suppan career ERA (I shit you not): 4.60
Daniel Cabrera compares more favorably to Sandy Koufax than Suppan does to Maddux. I think Phil Rogers is sleeping with Jeff Suppan.
Roger Clemens, who says he hasn't even thought about whether he wants to pitch in 2007 -- yeah, right -- took home $664,858 per start for his abbreviated season with the Astros this season, and he's not getting younger. The plan was for him to be fresh for the postseason, but Houston finished 1½ games behind St. Louis in the woeful NL Central. Houston was 9-10 in Clemens' starts, a quirky fact that belies his 2.30 ERA.
Quirky? Gilbert Arenas is quirky. That statistic is absolute proof that wins and losses are a completely meaningless statistic. Or, did Roger Clemens “just pitch well enough to lose?” Because, I swear, if you had said that, I would have switched out the toiled brush for a spiked bat.
Kip Wells, the quintessential 30-start guy when he's healthy, was shut down for foot surgery shortly after being traded from Pittsburgh to Texas last season.
This is probably my favorite part of the whole article. You know how many pitchers started 30 or more games last season? Roughly 70 (sorry, can’t find the exact stat, but this is pretty close). So, Kip Well’s claim to fame is that – when healthy! – he will be able to do something that only 70 or so other pitchers in the major leagues can do. Rogers makes no mention of whether or not you’d really want Wells starting 30 games for your team, because that would require actual qualitative analysis.
Also, because I can’t resist:
John F. Kennedy is the quintessential two-term president when his head isn’t getting blown off. Kirstie Alley is the quintessential supermodel when she’s not laying waste to a Chinese Buffet. Patrick Roy is the quintessential family man when he’s not beating his wife to within an inch of her life. Bill McCartney is the quintessential role model when his daughter isn’t sucking down chocolate like Daddy-O’s. Colorado is the quintessential intercollegiate model when its coaches aren’t implicitly endorsing rape. Loren Wade is the quintessential college running back when he’s not capping teammates. I could go on like this forever.
There’s more, but I really do need to work sometime today.