I wrote to Chris Jaffe yesterday about my blog post responding to his piece and he replied promptly. I won't post the email here but he basically said that park factors matter a whole lot more than he had anticipated. For example, the Green Monster at Fenway screws up the system due to its immense height; hitting a ball more than 10 feet over it or a wall's length beyond it is pretty damn difficult. I'm sure others are working on figuring in park factors for those numbers. I'm too lazy to do it myself at the moment but once I hear more, I'll post it here. In any case, Chris Jaffe is a great guy so please, continue to read his stuff at the Hardball Times.
Now, in other musings:
Apparently, Ned Yost is thinking about batting Jason Kendall 9th and putting the pitcher in the 8 hole. Now, Kendall had an OPS of .610 in 2007. Yup, that number is not a typo. To put this monumental suckage in perspective, Dontrelle Willis has a career OPS of .639 and Carlos Zambrano has a career OPS of .580. While I would prefer for Yost to bat Kendall 34th in the lineup, that isn't possible, at least not in this universe (but maybe in this one, if we're lucky). If Kendall does continue to get on-base closer to his career clip of .375 and not the horrid .301 that he posted last year, this move makes a lot of sense especially if Braun hits 2nd. Tony la Russa hit his pitcher 8th last year with some moderate success and the writers of "The Book" seem to agree that this could produce an extra couple runs a year. So all in all it's a fine gambit that will probably seem odd to purists but will continue to put a smile on the face of theorists around the globe. Whether or not Joe Maddon will try out his new kryptonite strategy against Big Papi and A-Rod remains to be seen.
But lost in all of this theory is the fact that Jason Kendall is a horrible ballplayer. In what world is he worth $4.25 million guaranteed with another $1 million incentives? He's worse than Neifi Perez since Perez was paid "only" $2.5 million last year to be absolutely horrible. On a side note, did you know that Perez has made nearly $21 million during his career to post a lifetime OPS+ of 64? So having Kendall hit anywhere is a loss for the Brewers, those 2 runs be damned. I am sick of teams throwing money at veteran players who have only proven that they suck. Give the kids a chance and if they fail, at least you're only out a bit of money as opposed to the millions that Kendall, Perez, and their ilk soak up. Plus, who knows when you'll hit pay dirt?
Now, on to veterans who deserve jobs, or fliers at least. I must admit that I am surprised that Barry Bonds does not have a job. No matter what drama he brings, the guy can flat out hit. For example, if the Mariners added Bonds to their lineup, they would have a legitimate chance to challenge the Angels. Plus, Bonds wouldn't be a significant downgrade defensively over Raul "The Statue" Ibanez if at all and he would be a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) upgrade offensively over Jose "Why Do I Have a Job" Vidro. That said, I'd still take Adam Jones back and start preparing for the future. But then again, maybe the M's will defy logic and statistics and somehow rip the division away from the Angels. Though if they do, I'll shave my head. Promise.
The situation for David Wells is more difficult. I have to admit that I am fond of Boomer if only because he actually got a case of gout (beat that, Bartolo Colon!). Regardless, I think that he should at least get a minor league deal as extra insurance for a team with a young rotation, much like Bartolo Colon received. No matter what his physical shape, Wells throws strikes. Sure, he gets hit much harder now than he did before but he's a great clubhouse guy who knows a ton about pitching. There are plenty of teams out of contention who could use a guy to soak up some innings to keep inning counts down for young arms and options/service time unused for replacement starters when the inevitable injury bug hits. Plus, he'd cost a whole hell of a lot less than Jason Kendall and might even provide more value. And as a final benefit, he could even lead these guys in a pinch.
That's it for tonight. More about manatees tomorrow.