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Monday, November 24, 2003
chin muzak
rob neyer was a big part of my path towards understanding baseball (i'm still on it.) it was he who led me to the importance of on-base percentage, he who showed me the wisdom of bill james.

rob's too busy writing books these days to produce good columns, but i thought it'd be fun to run some commentary on a recent chat.

the contrapositive, of course, is "if i tell you a lie, then you asked a question."

steinbrenner is definitely that rash. he ruined the yanks in the eighties, and he'll ruin them again. in the 80's, he screwed the farm system with big free-agent signs. sound familiar? if you have no farm system, then you cannot have any of the best players in the game, because players peak at 28, and they're usually not free yet. also you have no bench, and no insurance against injuries. cf: enrique wilson. next year, the red sox win the division. then they start fighting the blue jays.

that said, cashman will not trade johnson unless it's a blockbuster.

he shouldn't trade him at all, though, because nick johnson will be one of the best five hitters in the game over the next five years. if you doubt, let's talk in 2008.

i don't know what rob means by "impact hitter", but either there are only a few or we're far apart in our evaluation of nj.

the only danger, and it is significant, is injury. nick's had wrist issues, which is scary.

wrong again, rob. the orioles do not need to sign free agents, and they do not need to trade for expensive players who are past their prime. this is not the al central we are talking about. they are in a division with the yankees and the red sox. the only way to beat those guys is to get good young players, players who are improving. signing a player at his peak results in years of overpayment, with threefold missed opportunity: (1) you could have spent the money elsewhere. (2) if he's a free agent, you lose picks; the farm suffers. if it's a trade, obviously you lost talent, and it was probably young. (3) the only way to go is down, not up.

i have no idea who'll sign tejada, but rob is pretty correct on this one. his 2002 avg was clearly luck, but 2003 had a horrid start, so i would say he's somewhere in between. tejada, by the way, is an underrated defender, as are all a's. even eric chavez. people think he's the best in the game, but he's one of the best of all time.

it's not the pitchers; it's the defense. who knew that was the best way to find marginal value? waitaminnit, i think we have our answer. . . .

no, it's not a good point. let's look at those trades . . . hinske was traded for billy koch, who filled a need (closer), and was turned into keith foulke, who is a killer, plus mark johnson and joe valentine. johnson is a useful catcher and valentine is a live arm that went to the reds as part of the jose guillen trade. we've gone on a bit of a tangent, but that is a retarded series of upgrades.

plus, where was hinske gonna play?

berroa was part of a nine-player deal that also included the tampa bay devil rays. the a's lost aj hinch and ben grieve (another rookie of the year). but they got johnny damon and mark ellis. just damon would have been worth it. he's an incredible fielder. oh yeah they got corey lidle too.

it's not fair.

the a's trade good players because they have good players. loads of 'em.

rob wins this one. all i can think of are piano legs hickman and old hoss radbourne.

apparently it's co-written with bill james. i'm psyched.

come on, rob, have a little imagination! how 'bout eric chavez? or nick johnson? or hank blalock? all of these players will have more value from now than a-rod or pujols.

i would take mark prior, personally. although the workload he's gotten scares me a little.

other possibilities: marcus giles, rafael furcal, josh beckett. i would actually take nomar garciaparra before a-rod. contact hitters last longer.

delgado was better, but it's close.

kerry wood has obvious hall of fame talent and a record of great performance, and he's 26, but prior is better.

the twins probably win this one, because they cut a lot of salary. but pierzinski's a hell of a player.

looks like rob got the details, but it's apparently not certain now that the trade will go through. we'll see. anyway, the value here is in dumping long.

the kielty/lilly trade is also a money-saver. plus kielty is a quality defender.

beane wins both.

bonds produced more value over replacement than pujols. but the reason he won is he played for a winner.

the ibanez signing is a big mistake. he's a free-agent past his prime. but the mariners are fighting for second place anyway, so who cares.

the royals got lucky this year, but they could get lucky again, and it's a pitiful division. of course it's just as likely that allard baird will deal them back to the basement.

what the hell kind of name is "allard", anyway?

wrong division??? bh kim is gonna be just fine. he would be a good starter, but his strikeout rate doubles as a reliever. i think they should use him like the a's use chad bradford. ie, whenever there is serious trouble.

the marlins have a lot of young talent, but they're gonna ruin their future by spending money on pudge or lee or lowell. what they should do is offer arbitration to all of them, and wait. ed: lee is not a free agent. whoever goes away will bring compensation picks; whoever stays will provide value on the field.

they're not gonna do these things, because it would piss off the fans. remember the fire sale of 1998? what's funny is the 2003 title is a result of that. but the fans don't listen to reason. what you have to do is forget about pandering and just win. but there's only one team that does that. (you guessed it---oakland.)

happy thanksgiving to you, rob!
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