Two For Saturday

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thought for Today

How about we win two today to improve to 4-9?  Actually, from now until Thursday, our one off day, we play two games per day on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday (B games all three days).

Today’s Lineups

at Colorado

Erstand, CF; Ozuna, 3B; Thome, DH; Hall, C; Mackowiak, RF; Perez, 1B; Cintron, SS; Spivey, 2B; Terrero, CF; Buehrle, LHP.

vs. Oakland

Owens, LF; Uribe, SS; Crede, 3B; AJ, DH; BA, CF; Sweeney, RF; Gonzalez, C; Rogo, 1B; Lopez, 2B.  Broadway pitching.

Garland’s Health

Don’t be overly concerned with the knot in Jon Garland’s arm.  It is something he had for the first time last spring and it just took time to work itself out.  Every starting pitcher’s arm is different in preparing for the season.  Most guys, including Jon, also go through a "dead arm" period in spring training and once more at a point during the season.

Fifth Starter

Gavin Floyd’s outing on Thursday is a great example where stats can be deceiving.  He pitched well but gave up a home run in his final outing of work after a misplayed ground ball.  While the boxscore wasn’t pretty and the stories weren’t positive, inside camp, people were pleased.

"He had a hammer curveball, attacked the strike zone and threw consecutive changeups," said Ken Williams.  "That’s just what he has to do."

John Danks was very impressive yesterday in 3.0 IP of relief.  Charlie Haeger pitched in a B Game Thursday and was hit around.  Just like with breaking balls, it is very difficult to judge knuckleballs in Tucson.  That’s why everyone was so excited with how sharply Floyd’s curveballs were breaking.  A good sign.

Baseball Prospectus

There has been some conversation in the media and around baseball that Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system is projecting us with a 72-90 record for 2007.  I’d take the over.

In fairness to BP, the analysis is basically a computer system that projects runs created, runs scored and runs allowed for players based on past performances and future expectations (based on historical data) … they would probably explain it better and more succintly than that, but it’s my blog.

In 2005, BP projected us with a 71-91 record, good for fourth place, seven games better than the Royals.  We know how that year turned out, and BP published an article that July explaining why their projection turned out so wrong.

Last year, BP projected a 90-72 record, spot on, and a second place finish.  The Twins were projected to win 94 and the Tigers 78.

As a very general rule, BP doesn’t like our pitching staff because of our ballpark (hitter friendly), our ages, our fly ball to ground ball ratios (given the ballpark) and our declining strikeout-to-walk ratios for some starters.

Offensively, because their projections are based on mass historical data, any older player is automatically assummed to regress slightly each year (a safe general assumption but wrong in some specific cases) and players who have fought injuries at times in their careers (read Thome, Dye) are always assumed to be more suscpetible to injury now.

Anyway, I understand the logic, but still think we will win more than 72 games in 2007.

Explanations

I read through some of the reaction to my posts from the other day.  Please allow me to clarify a couple of points that drew reaction.

When I talk about players having to be willing to trade maximizing salary in exchange for the security of more years on the contract, I’m not just talking White Sox, or Mark Buehrle.  I am talking any player in this industry.  Bascially, every player who reaches that stage knows that by taking a multiyear contract (security), they risk forfeiting some dollars (since wages don’t ever seem to be flexible downward in baseball).  Conversely, teams know they risk a drop in performance or paying a player to rehab a serious injury.

It was not meant that White Sox players had to take less to stay.  Any player for any team who wants a longer term deal, in the end, could not be maximizing earning potential over the length of the contract (call it the Pippen Principle).  My example, if I sign you to a six-year contract today to play shortstop, and if you remain healthy and continue to perform at a superior level, by the time the sixth year comes around, you very likely will be "underpaid" compared to the market in 2012.

But if you have gotten hurt at some point over those six years or suffered a drop off in performance at some point, then you probably have been "overcompensated" (for your actual production) over the life of the contract.  That’s the risk the club takes.

Make sense or just confuse things more?

Also, when I wrote that piece a couple of days ago, I assume a difference between extensions (which you reach with your own current players and that tend to be about three years in length) and free agent signings, which can be of any length.

For example, this year roughly 117 free agents signed with new teams.  Thirty-seven of those (about 33 percent) signed for three years or more, meaning 67 percent of free agents signed for one or two years.  Of the long deals, the breakdown was this:

8 Years … 2 (Soriano and Zito)

6 Years … 1 (CLee)

5 Years … 6 (Suppan, Pierre, Lugo, Meche, Drew and Matthews)

4 Years … 5 (Speier, Catalanatto, Eaton, Lilly, A. Gonzalez)

So, by my math (admittedly some margin of error), only six free agent pitchers signed deals of four years or more with a new team in 2007 (Zito, Suppan, Meche, Speier, Eaton and Lilly).  Nine more sign three-year deals (Embree, Marquis, Bradford, Schoeneweis, Batista, Schmidt, Stanton, Walker, Williams).

My point: deals of longer than three years are the exception and not the rule in the industry.

3 Comments

I love Mark Buehrle.

Well stated Scott. Looking at the breakdown of the long term contracts is eye opening. I just can’t believe that anyone would sign Soriano and Zito to 8 yr deals and CLee for 6. I am glad the Sox didn’t do something that stupid… I hope th Sox start winning some games soon.

Caught the game today..offense looks good. Whisler was really off, and they took advantage. We’ll gladly take this win!

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