Saturday, November 29, 2008

Are Adam Dunn and Jason Giambi Worth a Contract

A comment to a recent post here asked why Adam Dunn wasn't in the free agent discussion found in the post. The same question can be extended to Jason Giambi. Both batted in the .240 to .250 range last year. Both are inadequate fielders, but are they worth a contract offer?

If you casually look at the numbers, slow-footed, glove-deficient players with that kind of batting average and strikeout rate would seem to be obvious choices for the "no way" pile. The casual fan would lump him in the same category as Richie Sexson. Then again, during Sexson's good years, that's not a bad comparison.

Let's compare Adam Dunn to Ichiro Suzuki. We can already concede that Ichiro is a better fielder and baserunner. Would you guess that Ichiro was on base 264 times in 2008 and Adam Dunn only 20 times less at 244. Would you also guess that they both had exactly 265 total bases? Would you also know that despite playing on the Reds for years, Dunn has scored over a hundred runs in three of the last five seasons? And wouldn't you value Dunn's 206 homers in the last five years over all Ichiro's singles?

Heck, Giambi only had 35 less total bases than Ichiro in fifteen less games? There is something tangible in those two big guys consistently clogging up the base paths and putting more pitches on the arms of those apposing them. Day in and day out, Giambi and Dunn may have a strikeout each game, but also a hit and a walk or both and one of those hits will travel a long way. There is value in what Giambi and Adam Dunn do to apposing pitchers day in and day out.

Giambi can be an even better deal with someone after getting away from Yankee Stadium. The Jason Giambi from the Oakland days would hit the ball all over the field. Once with the Yankees, he started pulling everything and "The Shift" was instituted and took away a lot of those line drive base hits he used to get. If he went back to hitting the ball where it was pitched, Giambi would be down right dangerous.

Adam Dunn's real weakness is batting against left handed pitching. He batted only .197 against them in 2008. That's brutal. But if the Fan can get a guy on base 244 times a year and knew he would strike out 160 times the same year, the Fan would take that trade off.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Some Random Thought for Black Friday

1. How can those Wal-mart shoppers look at their families after killing that poor security guard in their stampede?

2. Why don't fringe free agents set themselves up for discount sales on Black Friday to guarantee those jobs for another year?

3. How come those ads at the bottom of most sports articles on-line keep changing the supposed IQs of ball players every day? Manny Ramirez was at 153 one day and 125 the next. Though that may have merit. He is at 153 while batting and setting himself up for big contracts, but much lower in left field.

4. How can ESPN writers get away with frivolous posts that look like they were phoned in or texted with their blackberries? I sort of miss the old newspaper days when those good writers, and they are good over there at ESPN, still had to answer to the editors they worked for.

5. How could the Rockies give away Holliday and not expect their fans to react with anger and angst? The people in charge of the Rockies must be related to the stupid producers that allowed Jim to be killed in Ghost Whisperer. End of this viewer's Friday night fix. I'll have to look at that lovely lass on her bio pages.

6. Will the Barry Bonds saga ever end? This is a Wal-mart layaway run amok.

7. Good for Mussina for walking away this year. Perfect timing. Sheffield, take note.

8. How is it that all those people who voted for Obama because of all the jobs being shipped overseas complain at the mall all day when locally made products aren't as cheap as their Chinese counterparts and turn their noses up at them?

9. If you were a Cuban baseball prodigy, wouldn't you risk any leaky boat to be able to skip the minor leagues and go directly into the elite pay ranges of MLB? The communists should take over the Dominican Republic so those baseball-hungry players down there can get top dollar for coming to the U.S.A instead of losing what little signing bonus they get to bad apple scouts.

10. Article I'd like to see in San Diego: Discarded Star Pitchers Get All Peavyed.

11. Don't you all root for Dontrelle Willis to find a way to pull it together again?

12. Don't you wish for some miracle cure for Baldelli?

13. Am I the only old goat that can't find the energy to figure out which player has the best WARP, OPS+, etc.? Can't we put away posts that sound more like a chemistry class and just list the stats in a separate section of the MLB page on Yahoo/ESPN/MLB?

14. Can anyone really tell me why a new Guns N Roses CD conjures up all this excitement? I guess I need a tattoo or two to figure this one out.

15. Is it possible for any kid to get a big rectangular box under the tree and still be surprised that it's the latest Guitar Hero game?

16. Two of the biggest mysteries in life: Why would anyone willingly wait an hour or two to check out on Black Friday to save a few dollars? Isn't life too short already? Why would you purposely want to eat food that burns all the membranes away from the inside of your mouth? How did Chipotle, or however you spell it, just show up one day out of the blue and be the latest food catch phrase?

17. Why do weight challenged, FANatics eat too much turkey and then do self-penance by shopping on Black Friday?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - 2008!

After finishing a terrible football game on television and in anticipation for our upcoming feast, there are a few minutes to contemplate another MLB off season. And it is a very entertaining off season. Which free agents will land where? What team will really improve their 2009 season outlooks with a big trade or free agent signing? The off season truly is almost as fun as the season itself. Here is a look at some big free agents on the market:

C. C. Sabathia. While stunningly successful in his short stint with the Brewers, there are question marks surrounding Sabathia for the future. First, he is coming off his second straight poor post season. Surely, Sabathia got the Brewers where they needed to go based on his heroic pitching down the stretch. Whether he was spent or not ready for the big stage, he pitched poorly in the short season. Secondly, as has been discussed before in this space, the man is big, with a big frame. The Flagrant Fan has this theory that players with big builds only have an eight year window of high performance (search this blog space for more on the topic). Lastly, he seems hesitant to come to a big east team. Early favorites: Dodgers, Giants, Angels. Oh, one other note: The man likes to hit. A National League team seems likely.

Mark Texiera. The Yankees want him badly as do the Red Sox. It seems only logical that the home of Mickey Mantle should be the place for this big, switch-hitting first baseman to play the bulk of his career. There are many voices out there, however, that seem to indicate he would prefer the West Coast. Early favorites: Yankees, Angels.

A. J. Burnett. Burnett had a fantastic year for the Blue Jays and seemed to dispel the concerns about his health. He kills the Yankees and they, barring signing Sabathia, seem the most likely suitor. The Dodgers seem another favorable possibility with Texas lurking. Favorites: Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers.

Derek Lowe. When Lowe was with Boston, he seemed streaky and unprofessional. He would be horrible at times and brilliant at others. With the Dodgers, Lowe has learned how to throw strikes consistently and the only question seems to be his age (36) and how long to tender his offer. The Yankees don't seem a natural fit due to a below average fielding infield for a sinker ball pitcher. The Giants make sense as do the Dodgers. Early favorites: There do not seem to be any for a really good pitcher. But worry not. He will sign somewhere.

Rafael Furcal. The Giants have expressed interest and since Omar V. will not be back with the Giants, the move makes sense. Here is an idea for the Yankees: Sign Furcal, move Jeter to second (it's time, my friend), and move their current second baseman to left. That sounds like a great idea. Cashman? Early favorites: Giants.

Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Veritek. The Fan thinks both of these players are done with productive years. Neither one seems to be an ideal signing, especially for more than one year. Both want to be the main guy and their performance no longer warrants that frame of reference.