Saturday, January 07, 2012

How Money Makes an Albatross

Say the word, "Zito," to just about any baseball fan in some sort of psyche test and you get a response of, "Bad Contract." And the funny thing about us as fans is that we turn Zito into some kind of pariah. There were two things that are not Zito's fault. First, his skills faded. Secondly, despite the signs that his skills were eroding, some schmuck gave him scads of millions of dollars. That's hardly Zito's fault, is it? Why hate on the guy? There is another player almost equal to Zito in terms of fan antipathy. Before the big reveal of who he is, let's pull out the old comparison trick.
  • Outfielder A: .274/.332/.467, OPS+ career of 109, career Total Zone Fielding Runs of -30, UZR for career of 1.1 bWAR total of 29.7, fWAR of 36.2.
  • Outfielder B: .274/.323/.506, OPS+ career of 112, career Total Zone Fielding Runs of -54, UZR for career of 61.6, bWAR total of 23.4, fWAR of 35.3.
How can fielding stats be so different? Anyway, outfielder A has played 15 seasons and 1,807 games. Outfielder B has played 13 seasons and 1,606 games. So the WAR per games played evens out some. They sound like pretty darn similar careers, don't they? Yet, one is reviled and the other adored (perhaps not by analysts though). In case you haven't guessed, outfielder A is Torii Hunter and outfielder B is Alfonso Soriano. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

But the money Alfonso Soriano gets paid skews all thoughts of him as a player. Well, sure, he has iron hands and no instincts in the outfield. He is perceived as selfish. Hunter is the darling of center fielders who will always be remembered for his catch against Barry Bonds in the All Star Game. But the honest truth is that for their careers, their relative worth has been extremely close. It's the money that spoils our perception.

It's a sad fact of life that the Chicago Cubs gave Soriano a contract that was well above his worth. The contract was back-loaded so the first couple of years of the deal actually made Soriano a bargain. According to Fangraphs, Soriano was paid $24 million in total those two years and was worth $48.5 million with his play. That's a steal. But the pay scale kept getting larger and Soriano got older and now he's making $19 million and has no way he can earn that kind of money. But again, is that Soriano's fault? Would you not sign that contract if it was put in front of you? Sure you would. It's not his fault the Cubs were stupid.

Somehow we take the knowledge of contracts like that and with most of our blue collar histories expect a player to become transcendent of the deal. A player's strengths and weaknesses are pretty much established after eight years in the majors, are they not? A guy with concrete hands are not going to soften no matter how many cans of Jergens Lotion you put on them. It's similar to a guy marrying a girl who has always been a planner and worker bee to suddenly become a free spirit after the marriage. People don't change. They are what they are. It's not the doughty girl's fault the groom had misguided expectations. Wow, how did this get autobiographical?

Alfonso Soriano hasn't been a bad major league player. He's hit more than twenty homers ten straight seasons. He's hit more than forty doubles four times and once hit more than fifty. He's never been noted for his plate discipline, but that was well established before the big contract. If you took away all that money, people would look fondly at his career. He's not Hall of Fame player, but he could be in the Hall of Good.

The money makes Alfonso Soriano an albatross and a weight around the Cubs' necks. But it's not Soriano's fault. He just signed his name on the dotted line when it was put in front of him. Blame the former Cubs' regime, but don't blame Soriano. He was what he was and he is what he is and that would have been the same not matter how much he got paid. Oh, and that other guy--Torii Hunter--is going to make only a million less than Soriano this coming season. That freakin' albatross!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fictional Prince Fielder and Scott Boras Conversation

This writer does not know either Prince Fielder nor Scott Boras. Fielder might be the most patient person in the entire world and might just completely trust the biggest sports agent in the business. All this writer knows is that if it was this writer whose entire life was on hold well into the start of January, there would be a bit of concern. That would especially be the case if only one team seems to be in the running for Fielder's services. As such, what follows is a totally fictional conversation that might occur between the two gentlemen concerning Fielder's future. If this writer was Fielder, this conversation would definitely happen.

Fielder: What's going on, Scott? When am I going to get my deal?
Boras: You have to trust me, Prince, I'm working on it all the time and you'll be very happy.
Fielder: All I know is that your clients seem to be the only free agents without deals right now.
Boras: That's because I get my clients the best deals and that takes time.
Fielder: Hey, that folder on your desk has my name on it. Can I see it?
Boras: Uh...What this? I'd rather you didn't. It's simply my notes of the conversations I've had with teams about you.
Fielder: Why does it seem so thin?
Boras: I write in shorthand. It's a trick I picked up.
Fielder: Uh huh. Look, there's a lot of stuff I have to work out before getting settled in a new area and Spring Training is right around the corner. We've got to get something done.
Boras: Like I said, Prince, you have to trust me. Everything is going according to plan.
Fielder: So what teams are in on me?
Boras: I'm working a lot of different avenues. There's a lot of interest in someone with your age and ability.
Fielder: Can you be more specific?
Boras: That's not how it works, Prince. Discretion is a big part of what I do.
Fielder: Hey, man, this is my life we are talking about. This vegan crap is expensive and I had to dip into my savings. I have a right to know what's going on.
Boras: Patience, my friend, patience. Before you know it, you'll be set for life.
Fielder: Are the Brewers a fall back plan?
Boras: They are in the mix.
Fielder: I read something about the Nationals.
Boras: They are certainly interested.
Fielder: Texas would be cool. I could hit a million homers there.
Boras: I'm talking to them.
Fielder: C'mon, man, get something done. I've got boxes to pack and stuff.
Boras: Just keep your workouts going, Prince, keep yourself in great shape and you'll soon be rich beyond your dreams.
Fielder: I dream big, Scott. Make it happen.
Boras: Hang tight. I should be calling you within days.

Of course, as soon as this Fan hits the Publish button, a deal will be announced. But where? And with who? The market for Prince Fielder seems mighty tiny for a guy who can swat like he does. He's the last big prize still out there and we are all hanging wondering what's going to happen. In the words of the fictional Scott Boras, have patience, my friend, have patience.

Victor Martinez Is a Unique Hitter

There is an old adage in baseball that if you put the ball in play, good things will happen. Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers puts the ball in play a lot and good things do happen. But it's the way he does it that makes him special. The Fangraphs' leaderboard shows us that Martinez puts the ball in play with the likes of guys like Juan Pierre, Jimmy Carroll and Placido Polanco. But there is no way that he's the same time of hitter as those guys. Pierre, Carroll and Polanco have slugging percentages (in 2011) of: .327, .347 and .339 respectively. Martinez had a slugging percentage of .470.

So that makes Martinez somewhat unique in what he can do. Like those other guys mentioned in the first paragraph, you can't get many pitches by Victor Martinez. His 3.3 percent swinging strike percentage was the fifth lowest in the majors last season behind Pierre, Carroll, Brett Gardner and Ian Kinsler. His contact percentage for pitches he swung at was the third highest in the league behind only Pierre and Carroll. His contact percentage on pitches in the strike zone was the second highest in the majors behind only Juan Pierre. And yet, with the exception of Kinsler, who we will get to in a minute, none of those other hitters can match what Martinez does with his number of contacts with the baseball.

How many people realize that Victor Martinez hit .330 in 2011? Maybe more than this writer realizes. Just as importantly, Martinez had a .380 on-base percentage. Except for the exposure in the playoff series against the Yankees (who kept him pretty much in check), it sure seemed like a non-story. That might happen if your batting mate in the order happens to be Miguel Cabrera, one of the best hitters of this generation. But can we at least float the possibility that Cabrera had his best offensive season of his career after being paired with Victor Martinez in the batting order for the first time? Cabrera was also reaching his peak years at the age of 28, so it's difficult to make that call. But it couldn't have hurt  to have Martinez as his line up mate.

What is unique about the duo is that they mash without striking out. Between the two players, they walked 154 times while only striking out 140 times. That makes them truly unique among other 3-4 duos around baseball. You're not going to get many easy outs with those two.

Martinez now has ten seasons in the big leagues. The first two were of the cup of coffee variety. So he has eight full seasons under his belt. His career slash line is: .303/.370/.469. has a nice feature where they determine what a batter has done in his career per 162 games (the full length of a season) and for every 162 games, Martinez has had 183 hits, hit 20 homers, hit 39 doubles and has driven in 104 runs. That's a pretty good career right there. And clearly, he's become a smarter hitter too. He used to be susceptible to the change up. He isn't any more while having positive numbers against all other pitch types.

Let's get back to Ian Kinsler. From previous posts here, you should know that this author feels that Ian Kinsler is the most unappreciated player in baseball. Not only does he play great defense, but his is right in Victor Martinez's category for contact percentage. Kinsler has more plate discipline and more home run power. But that power does not translate to a higher slugging percentage. Martinez has a higher slugging percentage for his career than Kinsler by three points. The huge difference between the two players is while both have high contact percentages, Martinez's translates to more safely batted balls.

Kinsler's BABIP bounces up and down from year to year. Some of that is luck. Some of it is the quality of contact. But for his career, Kinsler's BABIP sits at .282. Victor Martinez's career BABIP sits at .316 and it's not a fluke. Martinez had a BABIP of .286 in his first full season in 2004. Since then it's been well over .300 every single season.

Victor Martinez is a unique hitter. He's one of the toughest outs in baseball and has been for quite a long time.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

BBA Link Fest - Generally Optimistic

Thursday sneaked up fast this week (spell check doesn't think "snuck" is a word - pshaw). Must be that Monday holiday thing. Except, this Fan is self-employed or unemployed, however you want to categorize it. Thursday is link day here in the FanDome and as the president of the General Chapter of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, one of the goals as such is to introduce you to a world of great baseball writers. So please be kind enough to click the links below and leave a comment or two. Bloggers love comments.

- What kind of president forgets one of his chapter members? This one apparently. Completely left out Mike Cardano and his excellent X-Log last week. To make amends of sorts, you get two links from Mike this week. First, there is the chop-licking thinking about media coverage of the Marlins this season. Next, Mike analyses what Adam Dunn's fantasy value will be in 2012. 

- Jackie Micucci over at Through the Fence Baseball ponders the Yankees quiet off-season.

- Over at Sully Baseball, Sully thinks Theo Epstein is earning his keep after last night's news.

- The Sports Banter's focus is on all sports, so we'll have to be content again this week with the ever entertaining Monday Mullet, Dave Stieb!

- The Replacement Level Baseball Blog bounces some great thoughts on the recent BBA press release of our organization's Hall of Fame choices.

- Curley Bender over at Crum-Bum Beat thinks that Larry Walker is a Hall of Fame player. This Fan loves when smart people come to the same conclusion he does.

- Our French baseball expert expounds on Francisco Liriano's Winter League debut over at

- While three of the four writers at The Platoon Advantage logged in this week with their HOF picks, the fourth had an interesting thought process on intent and what PED users were trying to accomplish.

- While Old Time Family Baseball always has great writing and interesting post, this week, this Fan is eternally grateful for the site linking to another site's 50 great baseball gifs. What fun! And thanks! Laughed until there were tears.

- Another great week of content over at MLB Reports. The featured link this week is Peter Stein's take on Gio Gonzalez and Mark Buehrle in the National League. But the Jon Heyman interview was super too.

- MLB Dirt picked up another great writer this week. Don't they ever tell this Fan anything? Geez. But how can you quibble with the high quality of kvschnitz and his first article there?

- Oh man, this is terrific. What a genius post as Michael Holloway reinvents a scene from Moneyball. Bwahaha. Check it out and Michael Holloway's Baseball Blog.

- Over at Major League A**Holes, their writer thinks Chicago's American League GM is acting all Theo Epstein-like.

- Left Field doesn't want to be out in...well...left field on his 2012 Hall of Fame "ballot." But it's certainly worth reading!

- Theo over at Hot Corner Harbor continues his excellent retired numbers series. This one is on the Cleveland Indians. Has this Fan mentioned that it's high time the Red Sox retired Wade Boggs' number?

- The Hall of Very Good, or HOVG if you are hip like this Fan is, has a very entertaining post this week on Nomar Garciaparra's incredible belief system. Amazing.

- This Fan loves Grubby Glove's "What's Wrong With This Card" series. Talk about fun. Here's the latest.

- If you want to read something really good, check out Golden Sombrero's excellent prospect series. But since we are stuck on gifs this week, check out this one on Vlad Guerrero.

- This Fan's wife calls all of A-Rod's women post-marriage, "Skanky." Ouch. Baseball Index has all the information you need on A-Rod's't say it...

- Over at Diamond Hoggers, TheNaturalMevs is not shy in giving opinions. So this week's Francisco Cordero post shouldn't be a surprise. But it is good reading!

- Self-deprecating humor is often good humor. Matt Whitener makes an art of the craft in his recap of self-booboos for 2011. Cheap.Seats.Please!

- Mario Salvini (our Italian friend from Che Palle!) recalls some great moments from 2011.

- There was a lot of buzz around our chapter about the Zambrano trade (including yours truly). And Call to the Pen has a great take there too. But let's talk about Fernando Rodney instead!

- Yay! Blogging From the Bleachers is back! Aaron has a great new gig covering the Nationals (which should be exciting in 2011!), but at his original site, he covers the Jason Frasor trade. Welcome back, mi amigo!

- Sooze over at Babes Love Baseball marvels at Coco Crisp's afro. It is a thing of wonder!

- Ryan Sendek wants you to help him pick his fantasy baseball team name(s). Head over to his Analysis Around the Horn post to vote. The Fan will withhold his pick until next week. Why does "withhold" have two "H's" and "threshold" only one?

- 85% Sports has some information on the Ryan Braun situation that is definitely worth the read.

And finally, this Fan will toot his own horn a little bit. 2011 was this site's most successful year ever. So thank you readers and thanks to many of these sites for their retweets and friendship. Your faithful Fan churned out 695 posts last year for a three year total of 2,095 posts. To quote Ringo, "There's blisters on my fingers!"

Trading a Z for a V is Good in Scrabble

Chicago is going to be a sleepy baseball town in 2012. No more Ozzie Guillen managing the White Sox and if reports are correct, no more Carlos Zambrano on the Cubs. That would be like the Republican Party losing Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. This author will let you decide if that's a bad thing or not. What this author intends to decide is if Chicago losing Carlos Zambrano is a good thing or not. The temptation is to write a single word sentence and move on to other things: Yes.

But that would be taking the easy way out. Zambrano will only be 31 in June. So it's not like he's an over-the-hill, washed-out arm. He has lost a couple of MPH on his fastball of late. But that could be due to all the time he has missed for his antics. He hasn't pitched 200 innings since 2007. He was worth three and a half wins in 2009 but sunk down to less than two and a half in 2010. He bottomed out last year with a value less than a win. For a guy making $18 million, that wasn't a good value proposition for the Cubs.

Frankly, if this Fan were a pitcher and played in front of that Cubs' defense, which was second from last in defensive efficiency last year, this Fan might have also had a hissy or two. Good luck to him with that Marlins' defense, which wasn't much better (though they did upgrade at shortstop this off season). If you were really old school, you might love Zambrano's career win-loss total. The guy has won forty-four more games in his career than he's lost. Even last year, he was 9-7. The guy's a winner, right?

But nobody thinks like that anymore, do they? Well, okay, maybe they do. His winning record sure does look good when placed side by side with Chris Volstad. Volstad might be on the Vernon Wells' even/odd year vortex. Volstad was a combined 18-13 in 2008 and 2010. But he was a combined 14-26 in the odd years of 2009 and 2011. If we believe in such random events being a pattern, then 2012 should be a good year for him.

Now that the Fan has covered things from the Murray Chass angle, what have we really got here? The Cubs basically are paying $16 million for Chris Volstad's services in 2012. $15 million of that goes to the Marlins to cover most of Zambrano's salary. The other million or so is what Volstad will make in his first arbitration year. We've got a problem here because Volstad has never had a season (even or odd) that was worth more than $7.2 million. So the Cubs are overpaying for him by more than double in 2012. But Volstad will be under Cubs' control until 2015, so even if he is only worth $7 million a season, he'll be a value in 2013 and 2014 and the Cubs won't have to worry about Zambrano anymore.

It's hard to believe that this deal was only based on the desire to get rid of Zambrano. Though Theo Epstein has done that before when he got rid of MannyBManny in Boston. Volstad has to have an upside that the Cubs see and to this author's hazel eyes, there just might be one. Volstad suddenly became homer-plagued in 2011. Could that be flukish? The homers were essentially his problem in both odd year meltdowns. His homer to fly ball rate the last four years looks like a Wall Street chart: 3.9 percent, 17.5 percent, 8.8 percent and 15.5 percent. Volstad also gave up his highest rate of hits per nine innings in 2011. Was that flukish as well with a BABIP of .310? Remember, the Marlins defense was awful too in 2011.

There are things to like in Volstad's numbers. He lowered his walk rate (6.8 percent compared to a career 8.1), increased his ground ball rate (52.3 percent compared to a career 50.4) and sported a 3.64 xFIP and 3.84 SIERA, both decidedly lower than his actual ERA.

Volstad has to improve to three-win pitcher for 2012 to pay off Zambrano. That's somewhat unlikely, but not impossible. But Volstad doesn't have to be a three-win pitcher after 2012 to be a bargain. Zambrano for the Marlins? He's only going to cost them $3 million this season and it shouldn't take much for him to be better for them than Volstad was in 2011. It would be great if he could find his fastball again and lower his walk rate (not to mention his personality pain threshold). It will be costly for the Marlins if Zambrano has a remarkable season. According to the report linked earlier, Zambrano has a $19 million option for 2013 if he finishes in the top four in Cy Young voting. But who sees that coming?

One other thing. Carlos Zambrano can really hit. Volstad can't. That might be worth another half a win by itself.

All Zambrano has to be is solid for the Marlins to make this worth their while. When playing Scrabble, you'd rather have a V than a Z, but if you can make a word with a Z, it's worth ten points. V words only gain you eight points. Take that however you want.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Joe Torre as a Manager

Joe Torre was in the news today as he has stepped down from his position with Major League Baseball. Of course that news accorded some friends over at Twitter an occasion to roast him a bit. It was all in good humor, but still. Joe Torre is the Ronald Reagan of managers. Torre, like Reagan, made it look so easy that his leadership will never be fully appreciated. One Twitter buddy basically stated that Torre was just as good as his teams. Was he? How can we measure that statement? Do his four World Series titles count or did he just not get in the way of the richest team in baseball?

This author likes looking at Pythagorean win-loss totals for teams against a team's actual record as some sort of indication of a manager's success. It's not perfect. After all, it is the players that win or lose games. But managing is, by definition, giving people opportunities to succeed. Torre certainly seemed to do that. And he did so in one of the most stressful environments in baseball history. With George Steinbrenner above him, the New York and world press beside him and huge expectations of an entire city beneath him, Torre became the focal point and allowed most of that pressure to fall on his back and not on his players.

Okay, back to the Pythagorean win-loss thing. What this particular statistic measures is how many runs a team scored compared to how many they allowed and what that run differential should have meant for an actual team record. Let's look at Joe Torre's years with the Yankees and later with the Dodgers. We'll do it in list form. In the following list, the Pythagorean win-loss projection (P) will be listed followed by the actual team record (A) and then the difference in plus or minus.
  • 1996 - P (88-74), A (92-70), +4 - Yankees
  • 1997 - P (100-62), A (96-66), -4 - Yankees
  • 1998 - P (108-54), A (114-48), +6 - Yankees
  • 1999 - P (96-66), A (98-64), +2 - Yankees
  • 2000 - P (85-76), A (87-74), +2 - Yankees
  • 2001 - P (89-71), A (95-65), +6 - Yankees
  • 2002 - P (99-63), A (103-58), +4 - Yankees
  • 2003 - P (96-66), A (101-61), +5 - Yankees
  • 2004 - P (89-73), A (101-61), +12 - Yankees
  • 2005 - P (90-72), A (95-67), +5 - Yankees
  • 2006 - P (95-67), A (97-65), +2 - Yankees
  • 2007 - P (97-65), A (94-68), -3 - Yankees
  • 2008 - P (87-75), A (84-78), -3 - Dodgers
  • 2009 - P (99-63), A (95-67), -4 - Dodgers
  • 2010 - P (78-84), A (80-82), +2 - Dodgers
The totals on that list indicate that for his fifteen year run, Torre was 36 wins above his team's Pythagorean win-loss record. That hardly seems to be a manager that is just as good as his team. Joe Girardi is dead even with his Pythagorean record since taking over the Yankees. Don Mattingly was -2 last year with the Dodgers.

How does that compare to other managers? Great question. Mike Scioscia has a great managerial reputation and certainly had a terrific run before the last couple of years of his team outperforming their run differential. In Scioscia's twelve years with the Angels, he is +25. That's great, but so is Torre. In Tony LaRussa's sixteen seasons with the Cardinals, his actual record compared to his Pythagorean works out to a +6. Jim Leyland is +7 in six years with the Tigers. Bobby Cox was +7 for all his years in Atlanta.

There is certainly an argument that Joe Torre wasn't a great manager before he came to the Yankees. His teams never did anything when he managed the Mets, Braves and Cardinals. And that's a valid point. But in those fifteen seasons, he was only -4 in actual record compared to his teams' Pythagorean win-loss expectation. And that's not half bad really. Perhaps he learned on the job though. Can we give him that?

But since 1996, the only one that comes close to Torre is Scioscia and even so, Torre averaged a +2.4 per season compared to Scioscia's +2.14 per season. Was Joe Torre the perfect manager? Don't ask David Wells and Gary Sheffield that question. But the results are hard to argue. Four world titles. A string of first place finishes.  Plus his actual wins compared to his run differential seem to paint Joe Torre as one of the great managers of his generation.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Rethinking Larry Walker's Hall of Fame Case

Larry Walker isn't getting a whole lot of Hall of Fame love. According to this wonderful Hall of Fame tracker, Walker is getting one vote for every four ballots cast. On this Fan's previous post concerning the Hall of Fame, Walker wasn't good enough, long enough, especially with inflated numbers due to Coors Field. Bill over at The Platoon Advantage thinks he should be in. Joe Posnanski voted for him. Peter Gammons did not. So the respect meter for this Fan is all over the place. After reading Bill's piece, this writer went to Larry Walker's page and frankly, was kind of blown away. So what are the arguments against him?

Well, there are the counting stats. He only reached 2,160 hits. He "only" hit 383 homers. He "only" drove in 1,311 runs. So he has none of those magic numbers that seem to guarantee induction. But do we really do that any more? Looking at the love Rafael Palmeiro is NOT getting, the answer is probably no. We have gone beyond magic numbers in these kinds of considerations. WAR and Win Shares and OPS+ and other things have come to the forefront in this new world. Everyone's magic number for WAR these days seems to be 70 for a career to be Hall-worthy. Fangraphs gives Walker 73.2.

What about the fact that he only played more than 150 games once in his career? George Brett was injury-prone. Barry Larkin was injury prone and it looks like he'll get in this year. Mickey Mantle missed a lot of time during his career. Should that matter? Or should overall excellence over a period of time matter more? It would seem based on those other names that it should.

No, the biggest ding against Larry Walker has been that his greatest years came at Coors Field before they had the humidor for the baseballs. Walker had some of the most amazing seasons but they all occurred at Coors Field as his home ballpark. The argument is that his home park over-inflated his numbers and we should take that into account. And yes, there is no doubt that Larry Walker was unbelievable at Coors Field. His slash line in that park was: .381/.462/.711. Whoa. But the question comes down to this: Only in this modern age of statistics do we pay attention to home/road splits. Voters never did in the past.

For example, Walker didn't play as long as Mel Ott. But if you look at their career slash lines, they stack up pretty well. Walker's career: .313/.400/.565. Mel Ott's: .304/.415/.533. But Mel Ott hit 511 homers. But did you know that Ott hit 323 homers at home in the Polo Grounds where the right field fence was close as apposed to 188 on the road? If Mel Ott had hit 376 homers for his career, would we look back at him the same? George Brett played with a slick surface in Kansas City for many years. He hit .320 at home for his career and .280 on the road. So why are we punishing Larry Walker? And do we really know that he wouldn't have had those great years if he had played them say for the Yankees instead?

But Walker wasn't just a great hitter who happened to play many home games at Coors Field. He was a terrific fielder for all but the last two seasons of his career. He accumulated almost 10 wins as a fielder for his career. He added 154 assists from the outfield. And he was an excellent base runner for his entire career. Statistics for such things only became sophisticated enough to measure base running toward the end of his career, but even then, Walker was getting above average ratings there to the very end. He stole 230 bases in his career with a 75 percent success rate.

OPS+ is park adjusted and Walker still finished at 140 for his career. In his final year in Montreal, he put up a .322/.394/.587 season. So greatness seemed to be in the offing no matter where he played. And playing in Montreal might just have been the reason his health was never great in his career. That place had a devastating impact on the careers of Andre Dawson and Vladimir Guerrero too.

The bottom line is that this Fan was wrong about Larry Walker. It is wished that he played more games and that he didn't play most of his career in Coors Field. But put all that aside. When you measure value and overall play, he has the credentials to be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.