Friday, June 03, 2005

The Waiver Wire: DeVore-ced From Reality Edition 

First up, the news many of you have already heard -- the trade of minor league OF Doug DeVore for erstwhile major league San Francisco right-handed reliever Matt Herges. Herges was DFAed Sunday by the Giants, but I don't see how this can be bad. Herges at least has a positive VORP (barely), while several relievers on the squad (and I'm looking right at you, Mr. Ligtenburg) do not. In a system lousy with good corner outfielders, trading DeVore can be viewed only as a good thing, both for the Diamondbacks and Doug. Best of luck to him. We'll find out tomorrow where Herges ends up, and I'd guess that Ligtenburg gets dropped from both the 25- and 40-man rosters to make the move work...

The trade brings to mind Jim's rant on the Green and Ortiz signings. It's going to sound like I'm picking on him here, but I'm not. (I'm picking on everyone, and I know Jim was just setting up an interesting comparison.) I'm merely pointing out a tendency and pitfall of fans: focusing on the outliers, particularly the negative ones. Now, I've criticized Ortiz's performance recently, and I haven't had anything good to say about Green, either. But where's the article that praises the Glaus signing (the third major FA signing)? Where's the discussion that talks about the smaller decisions made (Cruz for Fossum, Counsell, Clark, Clayton)? Some of those haven't worked out great thus far, some have. And what about the decisions that were made that resulted in no action? (Yes, Jackson and Quentin are still in the Diamondback system.) And who knows how these decisions will look at the end of the season? We're only one-third of the way through the regular season.

Perspective, folks -- both in terms of the overall scheme of personnel decisions as well as the timeframe.

In other, random news unrelated to anything else...


This article from a couple weeks ago goes into more detail about the cost and use of baseballs. I like finding out how the balls get passed down from game use to BP use to the minors.


This is cool. Weird, but cool.


This is cool. Useless, but cool. (Warning: takes a while to load.)


I love sports in part for providing texture to the day. Five or ten minutes reading the paper in the morning, thinking about it during the day. Background noise.

Daily comic strips are similar in my mind. I stumbled across this site recently. Consider it Comics Primer. To the sidebar it goes.


Thanks as always for reading. Go Diamondbacks!

I see your point. However, in the case of Green in particular, it's as much a case of "told you so" as anything else. It didn't take rocket science to look at Green's stats, see a marked, persistent decline, and realise a long-term contract was questionable at best. But the D'backs went ahead and did it anyway.

Similarly, for Ortiz, while I didn't mind the signing, there was a LOT of negative talk about it too - much more than for Glaus. And while Glaus has shown plenty of power, it's not really different from what anyone - fans or the club - expected. "Small earthquake in Peru, not many hurt" kinda thing.

As for Cruz, Clark + Clayton etc. if I've relatively ignored them, it's because they don't affect the club in the long-term, since they're likely only one-year rentals [though we'll probably now sign Clark to a five-year $50m deal!]. I didn't expect to compete this year - I still don't - and so their performance, good or bad, is almost irrelevant. Green and Ortiz, however, could drag us down for years to come, when we could/should be in the title hunt. More scrutiny is inevitable.
I guess my primary concern is judging contracts based on 1/3 of a year of performance.

Green *could* still show his traditional second-half improvement and end up with 25-30 homeruns. Ortiz *could* get straightened out once more.

I think your critique of Green's contract matches the conventional wisdom. Criticism of Ortiz's signing at the time was focused on length and amount for a slightly above-average pitcher. Nobody expected him to be this bad.

Glaus' signing was most definitely not viewed positively nationally. (BP's Joe Sheehan: "untradeable at the moment of signing").

And if you're concerned about the long-term impact, isn't signing some short-term contracts part of that? Isn't not taking bad actions (e.g., trading Carlos or Conor for some nameless reliever) part of that?

I'm not disagreeing that Green and Ortiz have been disappointments thus far. And while you can never tell what free agent signings would've cost, I would've taken a pass on Green and signed a one-year right fielder.

But I just think the scrutiny also applies to decisions that *have* worked out as well...
I'll write more tomorrow - it's an interesting topic - but I just got distracted by following the draft, and a bunch of other stuff today.

However, I wanted to share this, while the stats are still accurate - it's a good reason why I'm happier railing against Green and Ortiz, than praising Glaus. Troy is hitting .252. His career average? .251. He's on pace for 36 homers. And over his career, his average homers/per 162 games is... 35.9. Basically, there's nothing to write about there.

However, we all knew Clayton would suck at the plate, and he has. But I still enjoy pointing that out. :-)
< I guess my primary concern is judging contracts based on 1/3 of a year of performance. >

That's not the case, certainly for Green, and not really for Ortiz either. Specificially, Green's decline over the past three seasons was the main reason for my concern; his OPS has dropped every year since 2001. If I'm aware of these things, I like to think the Diamondbacks front office - paid large sums of money for their knowledge - would be. This 1/3 of a season is only confirming (or surpassing) my fears.

Certainly, there is a tendency for to over-react. This applies both to less-knowledgeable fans (as in this thread on the AZ Republic forum, which pillories Troy Glaus...for hitting, as previously noted, at almost exactly his career numbers, both for average and home runs) and the press, as in the merciless shredding Johnson is getting in the Big Apple - though in the latter case, he's just the biggest and most convenient target.

< And if you're concerned about the long-term impact, isn't signing some short-term contracts part of that? Isn't not taking bad actions (e.g., trading Carlos or Conor for some nameless reliever) part of that? >

To draw a parallel, that's a bit like praising the captain of the Titanic - look at the number of icebergs he missed! :-) Certainly, the short-term contracts for the C-Force (Cruz, Clayton and Clark) play a part, but at the end of this year, even Clark's heroics (if they hold up) will likely only make the difference between 70 and 80 wins. They're almost an irrelevance In 2006 + 2007, on the other hand, Green and Ortiz have the potential to be the difference between making the playoffs and not.

If you wanted an equation, it'd be something like:
Interest = Length x Cost x Difference from expected performance

And I don't see anything as "interesting" on the positive side as Ortiz and Green have been below performance. To me, the best off-season signing was Craig Counsell, but a) that was a shorter, cheaper contract, and b) I keep expecting the wheels to fall off, since his 2005 performance has been so far above his previous ones - his .294 is 32 points above his pre-2005 career average.

Long-term, expensive contracts very rarely deserve praise, because it's so hard for them to surpass expectations. That's the downside of excellent past performance: if you hand over a lot of money, it should be a low-risk, low-reward investment, where you know what you get. [Like with Glaus - qualms over Glaus's signing were mostly injury-related, IIRC].

However, D'backs management took risks with their long-term signings of Glaus, Green and Ortiz, and I venture that only one of the three has met their expectations. .333 may be great for hitting, but when spending tens of millions of dollars, it's not so good.

Oh, and have you seen ShaunGreenStinks.com?
I wasted 30 minutes of my life reading postsecrets! You are correct, it was a wierd site, but strangely alluring! I must say, I live a boring life - the best I can come up with is "On occasion I sample some of my children's easter/holloween candy when they are sleeping!"

Jim Schillinger
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