Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More on bad GMs

This BP article by Nate Silver is perhaps the single best short-form analysis of any franchise's administration I've read.

Ryno asked me what I thought about the Barrett trade the day after it happened, and I kinda ho-hummed it. Maybe it's because I like Bard a little more than I should. But, coming into this season, Barrett was probably the most valuable non-elite catcher in the majors (Mauer, Martinez, McCann, Martin, Posada) and some could have made an argument that his exclusion from that group wasn't such a no-brainer. Now, after less than a half-season and two incidents with teammates, he's sent off in what essentially amounts to a salary dump.

Barrett's 2007 weighted mean PECOTA Projection: .295/.357/.482

Barrett so far in 2007: .251/.299/.411, which is almost exactly his 10th-percentile projection ... meaning, he's playing as bad as he possibly could be considering his skill set, without the aid of amputation.

He could continue playing like shit and getting into fistfights with teammates. Or, he could revert to form and become, arguably, the sixth- or seventh-best offensive catchers in the majors (his defense is indefensibly bad, but whatever). What's most likely to happen?

What I'm saying is: What a fucking trade for the Padres. Even if it doesn't work out, what's the harm? You get somewhere in this game by either being bold or being rich, and the Pads are nothing if not the former.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Lou Piniella really is a good fit for the Cubs.

St said...

Wait a second ... so Michael Barrett, a guy who's had exactly one season that could be considered anything close to remarkable (last year), is on the threshold of being an "elite" catcher.

Yet three or four days ago, you said that Carlos Ruiz, a guy who, in his rookie season, has been better than Barrett in every single category you can quantify except for HRs (and Barrett's got a big edge in ABs) -- and a guy who can play defense -- was a "non-prospect," a person the Cubs wouldn't want to replace Barrett.

Explain that. Or are you going to claim you didn't say it?

Diesel said...

I'm done defending myself against this shit. I'd rather not waste my time defending myself against your convenient, context-less rehashes of things I say to you during meandering internet chats that are the very opposite of well-thought-out argumentation. For all the shit you've given me about cheap-shotting people or being facile in my approach to making points, it's pretty interesting that you keep doing this.

And, yeah, Ruiz was a better prospect than I thought he was. So the fuck what? Go look at Barrett's last three seasons, and then tell me if your boy can be counted on to slug better than .479 for three straight seasons. For that matter, how many catchers have done that in the majors? And I'm not cherry-picking, either: For his position, Barrett has been one of the better batmen in the majors the last three seasons.

But I'm sure you'll dig up some drunk conversation we had in 2003 where I said that Michael Barrett fucked donkeys or something, and consider that some kind of rebuttal.

St said...

Maybe you should try being done making ridiculous statements about things you don't know much about, like Carlos Ruiz. Instead of pretending as if I'm imagining things that you actually said.

Would the context have made a difference? Does it change Ruiz's value if I discuss how you mentioned it in the middle of a discussion about whom the Cubs would accept in trade for Zambrano?

Blame me all you want. You consistently overstate your case for effect, especially in cases when you don't know as much as you claim to about the topic.

I also disagree that Barrett's value is as high as you seem to think. Isolate one statistic all you want -- his career body of work is not all that impressive.

Diesel said...

Since we're in suggestion-giving mode, I'll offer a couple:

1) Maybe you should stop cherry-picking things people said in the context of a larger argument that was fundamentally correct — Ichiro was likely going to be overpaid as a free agent, the Cubs would not trade Carlos Zambrano for Aaron Rowand and Carlos Ruiz, the Brewers are not a lock to win the Central (which is precisely what you said) — in an effort to try and avoid allowing that I might actually have a fucking point. It's argumentative dumpster diving. You criticized me (on the blog, which everyone reads, as opposed to conversations, which no one else is privvy to until they hear your recounting of them) for doing the FJM bit a little too much, but that's essentially what you're doing, minus the bolding of the snips. Pot, kettle.

2) Maybe you should realize that "career body of work" is probably less telling of a player's expected current value than "last three seasons," especially when the player in question was called up by the Expos when he was 21. Is it possible that his learning in the bigs might have led to him taking a while before hitting his stride?

3) Maybe you should realize that my "constant overstatement" is perhaps my way of entertaining myself during conversations/arguments/drunken video game sessions with friends (even if the frequency of my doing do is, ironically, overstated). It certainly would appear, in fact, that I'm not the only one who is entertained by this. But, since you seem so bothered by it, I'll simply stop making any statement that can't be proven by the stats you feel comfortable with, which are not nerdy or have weird acronyms and show up in box scores.

Here's me turning over a new leaf:

Albert Pujols is, arguably, the best hitter in baseball. But there are lots of other good hitters too, who at random intervals might be better. So let's hedge it, for the sake of accuracy in blogging. Because, god forbid, that assertion might turn out to be wrong by virtue of its exactitude, and that is certainly a regrettable thing.

On second though, let's just say there is no best; everyone is good in his or her own way. Who are we to say what is best? Down with superlatives!

Now that puts the "argument" in argument blog.

St said...

1) See, that's the thing -- none of those claims are what you originally said. That's your MO: first you say flagrantly overstated things, then when somebody calls you on them, you backtrack and claim you said something reasonable instead. You told Ryan the same thing you told me about Ichiro -- ask him what you said.

What I'm doing is taking issue with things you actually said. You're the one being disingenuous and touchy about it.

If I'm lying, then why don't you tell me exactly what you said about Carlos Ruiz. If you didn't say he was a "non-prospect," what did you say? Enlighten me.

And even if you did only say that the Cubs wouldn't trade Zambrano for him and Rowand, that's far from factually correct. It might not happen, but saying it's an outlandish idea is exaggerating pretty badly. You're talking about a walk-year pitcher for one of the better starting CFs in the NL and a promising rookie at a need position. Apparently that's crazy.

2) Your Barrett argument is half-assed and you know it. You cherry-picked one statistic -- slugging percentage, the only one on which you could base such an argument -- and used it as some kind of verification that Michael Barrett is a good catcher with the potential to be elite. If you really want to do a full post on his career statistics, even recently, please do. But I suspect you won't, because you know he's not an elite catcher and he never really has been, except possibly last season, and even then it's debatable. But apparently the only years that count are the last two, because he was called up by the Expos when he was 21 -- ten years ago.

3) I have no problem with you entertaining yourself however you see fit. I don't have a problem with you saying whatever. I do have a problem with you getting all pissed off when I -- in good fun -- recount what you actually said, then claiming that you never said it and blaming me for making it up.

Diesel said...

Shadow-boxing is tiring. Keep up the good work, Socrates.

St said...

Maybe you should buy yourself a cross and put it in your front yard. That way, the next time you feel persecuted, you can climb up and nail yourself to it.

Diesel said...


Diesel said...

On Michael Barrett:

What I said: Barrett was probably the most valuable non-elite catcher in the majors (Mauer, Martinez, McCann, Martin, Posada) and some could have made an argument that his exclusion from that group wasn't such a no-brainer.

Year, VORP, Major league rank
2004, 25.2, 9th
2005, 28.1, 4th
2006, 31.3, 5th

So, slugging percentage isn't the only statistic I could use to back up my "half-assed" argument, FYI.

As for the rest of it, if you say it's good-natured, fine. But it's bears mentioning that I don't really have a front yard, and I think the cross would get me in trouble with the HOA. Perhaps I could sneak a waterboard by those property management nazis.