MLB Lightning Strikes 8.4.2011

All Star Game, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Prospects, Trade Rumors

The trading deadline was not the finish line.

Soxfinger is about to press the button.

Amid all the threats from White Sox GM Kenny Williams (AKA the James Bond villain known as Soxfinger) that he was going to blow up his roster for underperformance, there wasn’t much of a chance of him doing it while the team was at or near .500 and within 3 or so games of first place.

Now, after the trading deadline, the White Sox have lost every game they’ve played and looked awful doing it.

Their veterans are putting out the aura that they’ve relaxed with the passing of that arbitrary date of July 31st.

In case they hadn’t noticed, most of them have contracts which will allow them to get through waivers. The others who’ll be claimed—Mark Buehrle, Carlos Quentin, Matt Thornton—had probably better prepare themselves to be moved.

Soxfinger might even do something drastic with Gordon Beckham.

They’re 6 1/2 games out of first now and have lost 5 straight.

Williams is going to blow it up. Soon.

Red Sox evaluation validation.

With the news that the Red Sox made an aggressive and substantial offer for Ubaldo Jimenez, his value was validated.

Whether that’s accurate or not remains to be seen and judged. The Red Sox have made mistakes in their evaluations, especially with pitchers. But the Red Sox have such industry-wide respect for intelligent analysis that the perception will mute the worries about his performance over the past calendar year. It was so with Jose Bautista when the Red Sox tried to pry him from the Blue Jays and it’s the same with Jimenez now.

THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!

Perhaps if I alter my familiar rant regarding A.J. Burnett—“THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!”—and added statistics to prove the point of “THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!” people will start to get it through their thick skulls that THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!.

Here are Burnett’s career numbers and averages.

Year W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP ERA+
1995 2 3 .400 4.28 9 8 33.2 27 16 16 2 23 0 26 2 4 7
1996 4 0 1.000 3.88 12 12 58.0 31 26 25 0 54 0 68 7 3 16
1997 3 2 .600 4.39 12 11 55.1 36 34 27 3 43 0 63 8 0 12
1998 10 4 .714 1.97 20 20 119.0 74 27 26 3 45 0 186 8 2 6
1999 6 12 .333 5.52 26 23 120.2 132 91 74 15 71 0 121 5 2 16
1999 4 2 .667 3.48 7 7 41.1 37 23 16 3 25 2 33 0 0 0 126
2000 0 0 2.19 3 3 12.1 4 3 3 0 9 0 12 0 2 2
2000 3 7 .300 4.79 13 13 82.2 80 46 44 8 44 3 57 2 0 2 92
2001 0 0 1.93 2 2 9.1 4 2 2 0 4 0 10 0 0 0
2001 11 12 .478 4.05 27 27 173.1 145 82 78 20 83 3 128 7 1 7 105
2002 12 9 .571 3.30 31 29 204.1 153 84 75 12 90 5 203 9 0 14 122
2003 0 2 .000 4.70 4 4 23.0 18 13 12 2 18 2 21 2 0 2 91
2004 0 0 4.91 2 2 7.1 9 5 4 1 4 0 10 1 0 3
2004 7 6 .538 3.68 20 19 120.0 102 50 49 9 38 0 113 4 0 7 112
2005 12 12 .500 3.44 32 32 209.0 184 97 80 12 79 1 198 7 0 12 116
2006 2 0 1.000 1.89 4 4 19.0 11 5 4 1 6 0 22 2 0 1
2006 10 8 .556 3.98 21 21 135.2 138 67 60 14 39 3 118 8 1 6 115
2007 0 0 1.80 1 1 5.0 3 1 1 0 1 0 7 0 0 0
2007 10 8 .556 3.75 25 25 165.2 131 74 69 23 66 2 176 12 0 5 119
2008 18 10 .643 4.07 35 34 221.1 211 109 100 19 86 2 231 9 2 11 104
2009 13 9 .591 4.04 33 33 207.0 193 99 93 25 97 0 195 10 1 17 114
2010 10 15 .400 5.26 33 33 186.2 204 118 109 25 78 2 145 19 0 16 82
2011 8 9 .471 4.54 23 23 142.2 129 78 72 21 63 1 123 7 0 14 93
13 Seasons 118 109 .520 4.03 304 300 1912.2 1725 940 857 193 806 26 1741 96 5 113 106
162 Game Avg. 13 12 .520 4.03 34 34 215 194 106 96 22 91 3 196 11 1 13 106
FLA (7 yrs) 49 50 .495 3.73 134 131 853.2 719 395 354 66 377 16 753 31 1 44 111
NYY (3 yrs) 31 33 .484 4.60 89 89 536.1 526 295 274 71 238 3 463 36 1 47 96
TOR (3 yrs) 38 26 .594 3.94 81 80 522.2 480 250 229 56 191 7 525 29 3 22 112
NL (7 yrs) 49 50 .495 3.73 134 131 853.2 719 395 354 66 377 16 753 31 1 44 111
AL (6 yrs) 69 59 .539 4.27 170 169 1059.0 1006 545 503 127 429 10 988 65 4 69 103
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2011.

He’s consistently inconsistent. That makes him consistent.

He might pitch as he did last night again in his next start.

Or he might pitch a no-hitter.

That is A.J. Burnett.

THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!

Accept it and stop complaining.

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Soxfinger, Tony Tantrum And Another Casualty Of Moneyball

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors, Uncategorized

Let’s do this in order.

First the White Sox traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for veteran righty reliever Jason Frasor and 25-year-old minor league righty Zach Stewart.

This is not a “give-up on the season” trade by White Sox GM Kenny Williams (aka the James Bond villain known as Soxfinger). He dumped Teahen’s salary and gave up a pitcher in Jackson who they had no intention of keeping. Jackson’s good, but he’s represented by Scott Boras and the White Sox payroll is already bursting at the seams. It made sense to get a veteran reliever in Frasor to bolster the White Sox leaky bullpen.

In analyzing Stewart apart from what I can see in his minor league numbers, I’ll say this: it’s unwise to bet against Williams’s pitcher-recognition skills. It was Williams who acquired both Gavin Floyd and John Danks when neither were on anyone else’s radar; yes, he made the expensive and retrospectively mistaken decision to acquire Jake Peavy, but Peavy is a former NL Cy Young Award winner—it just hasn’t worked out. You can give him a hard time for trading Daniel Hudson to get Jackson, but it’s not something to go crazy over.

Clearly Williams sees something in Stewart to inspire him to make this trade.

Teahen is another failure from the 2002 Billy Beane/Athletics “Moneyball” draft in which Beane and his staff were supposedly “counting cards” in selecting players.

No commentary needed as to how that worked out.

After that was done, the Blue Jays spun Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Corey Patterson and Octavio Dotel to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters.

Miller is supposedly going to to the White Sox.

Let’s find a rational explanation. Or two.

Once Jonny Gomes was off the market, did the Blue Jays feel they had to make a move on Rasmus? (Satirical.)

Was Joel Sherman wrong in the assertion that the Cardinals were asking for a “ton” in a Rasmus deal? (Likely.)

Did the Cardinals judge this return as a “ton”? (Possible.)

Or is it all of the above? (Hedging.)

All kidding(?) aside, this trade has Tony LaRussa‘s fingerprints all over it.

The curmudgeonly baseball manager/non-practicing lawyer that LaRussa is, he’ll deftly separate himself from the trade and deflect responsibility and evidence in all directions to save the man in the mirror.

It turns out my repeated statements that LaRussa’s doghouse was “entrance only” were mistaken; there’s an exit, but it happens to lead to another town on a questionable exchange policy.

LaRussa wanted Rasmus gone and this is another case in which the front office is appeasing the manager to try and win now.

That doesn’t make wrong the analysis that Rasmus was never going to fulfill his promise in St. Louis; nor that his “stage-father” Tony Rasmus wasn’t going to back away from interfering in his son’s career to let the Cardinals do what they wanted. It’s just the way it is.

On the surface, it’s a weak trade for the Cardinals.

Jackson’s a rental; as mentioned before, his agent is Boras and the Cardinals have got to save their money to keep Albert Pujols. Jackson’s a good pitcher and will help them.

The key for the Cardinals will be Rzepczynski. He’s spent this season in the bullpen and that may be where he is for the rest of the season with the Cardinals having traded Miller, but he’s got starter stuff and a gentle delivery that bodes well for his durability—he reminds me of Mark Mulder when he was in his prime. Had Mulder not had the hip problems, I believe his shoulder would’ve stayed in shape to continue pitching as well as he did for the Athletics early in his career and not had its premature end.

Patterson and Dotel are veterans from whom you know what to expect—such as that is.

The Blue Jays got themselves an everyday center fielder in Rasmus who won’t be saddled with the pressures he felt in St. Louis. A clean start might be exactly what he (and his dad) need to fulfill his promise.

For the White Sox, this is a move for the now and the future; for the Cardinals, it’s a move to improve immediately; and for the Blue Jays, they’re hoping to be in a legitimate position to contend in 2012—and I think they will be.

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