Friday, February 25, 2005

More Confirmation of D-Backs' Status 

BP: Welcome to Baseball Prospectus, Caleb!

Caleb: Thanks! Love your guys' work!

BP: Thanks. Now, listen, what with Gary Huckabay leaving and all, we're looking for someone to write one of our Prospectus Triple Plays. How does that sound?

Caleb: Fantastic. Those are fun to read, especially for poor schlubs who only ordered the hard copy of BP 2005 and don't have a Premium subscription.

BP: Yeah, I guess we have to throw a bone at the proles out there. So, anyway, we assign our PTPs the way some offices assign parking spaces -- by seniority. [Author's note: Pure speculation for comedic effect.] Given Gary's senior status around here, his departure has led to some reassignment of PTPs. Your assignment? The Diamondbacks, Tigers, and Royals.

Caleb: Uhhhh... is Blez hiring?


I kid, of course, and it could be that Caleb's been writing these PTPs for a while now and it's only the recent bylining of these that has brought his name into full view. It is, however, his first credited article on BP. In any case, the article itself is OK, but doesn't tell D-Back fans anything they don't already know.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Mike Fetters is a sports-agent-in-training. Thanks to Jeff from Lookout Landing for the link; his take on the matter amused me.


In other blog entries of note, Will Carroll has an interesting discussion on the tendency of bloggers not to use the phone to call contacts. I find the discussion interesting in light of the continued mergers and acquisitions of the past few weeks in the baseball blogosphere. People are trying to make blogging profitable, if not exactly full-time work for most. At some point, the brightest lights in that blogosphere are going to need to figure out whether they want to be on the "inside" or the "outside." The rest of us lower-level lights (candles, Bic lighter, two sticks rubbing together) will be happy blabbering away like monkeys in the typing pool, blissful in our lack of access. ("Contacts? Contacts? We don't need no steeeeenking contacts!")


I have neglected to mention the recent resurrection of two relatively dormant D-Back blogs -- West Coast Bias and Out in the Desert. It's good to have them back. Hopefully they'll continue to stick around...

Canseco Allegedly Gave Arizona, Nevada Steroids 

"It seemed the right time to juice this thing up again." -- Arizona Governor
Janet Napolitano, on the
creation of the Arizona Baseball and Softball Commission, which will take a look at the never-say-die issue of Cactus League expansion.
In an interview Wednesday on C-SPAN 2 promoting his new book "Juiced," Jose Canseco alleged that he gave the states Arizona and Nevada steroids throughout the 1990s into the 2000s.

"Look at Arizona," Canseco said, "they grew from 3.67 million people in 1990 to 5.13 million in 2000. That's a 40 percent increase. Nevada went from 1.2 million to 2.0 million, more than 66 percent. Do you think either state could've had that sort of growth without some sort extra help?"

When asked how exactly Canseco gave steroids to the entire populations of two states, Canseco responded, "Well, as nice and as numerous as they were, clearly the A's locker room bathrooms were out. So for Arizona we put 'em all into the Grand Canyon and Nevada, Area 51. We thought about the cream and the clear, then flaxseed oil, but finally settled on injecting them one-by-one in their rears. Took some time, of course, but just look at the results."

Canseco went on to say that he'd given steroids to the San Diego bio-med industry, Google stock, and the film career of Ben Affleck ("clearly Ben's stopped using the stuff").

In related news, Arizona and Nevada reported to training camp Tuesday lighter by about 600,000 residents.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Diamondbacks Payroll, Take 3 

Ken Kendrick's comments in the Republic and Tribune -- "We have an opportunity, if the circumstances would present themselves, that we could spend some more money at the midseason mark if that made sense" -- reminded me that I needed to close the loop on the Diamondbacks payroll situation.

I tackled this most recently last month. Since then, the biggest move has been the Fossum-Cruz trade.

When I put together the numbers I get a total major league payroll of $62 million, or a couple million more than what Kendrick reportedly said. How do I get to that number? Well, I take the salaries of the 20 players who'll make the 25-man roster barring injury or stunning collapse in fundamentals and get $60,240,000. (Remember I use $350,000 as a blanket salary for non-arb-eligible or minor-league-contract players in the major leagues.) Add to that 5 players at that $350,000 yearly salary, and you get $61,990,000. Keep in mind that these numbers don't adjust for the $19.5 million in cash the D-Backs got in the Johnson, Green, and Cruz deals.

So, can anyone resolve the mystery? It's not an academic question, since Kendrick implied that there was about $3 million to play with at mid-season if we're lucky enough to still be in contention, the difference being the amount between the payroll now and their $63 million budget. If the actual budget is $2 million higher, that would seem to make the amount of money to play with next to useless. Of course, if the answer is to trade away Carlos Quentin, perhaps we want management to feel restricted...

Pitchers (Total = $21,940,000 for 7)
* Greg Aquino -- 350,000
* Randy Choate -- 550,000
* Shawn Estes -- 2,500,000
* Mike Koplove -- 825,000
* Russ Ortiz -- 6,500,000
* Brandon Webb -- 715,000
* Javier Vazquez -- 10,500,000

Catchers (Total = $700,000 for 2)
* Chris Snyder -- 350,000 (note: could easily be Hill here)
* Kelly Stinnett -- 350,000

Infielders (Total = $12,750,000 for 7)
* Alex Cintron -- 350,000
* Royce Clayton -- 1,350,000
* Craig Counsell -- 1,350,000
* Troy Glaus -- 8,250,000
* Tony Clark -- 750,000
* Matt Kata -- 350,000
* Chad Tracy -- 350,000

Outfielders (Total = $24,850,000 for 4)
* Shawn Green -- 10,500,000
* Luis Gonzalez -- 10,000,000
* Luis Terrero -- 350,000
* Jose Cruz, Jr. -- 4,000,000

Remaining Players (22; obviously 2 will be left off 40-man)
P Brian Bruney -- 350,000
P Jason Bulger -- 50,000
P Lance Cormier -- 350,000
P Edgar Gonzalez -- 350,000
P Enrique Gonzalez -- 50,000
P Mike Gosling -- 350,000
P Brad Halsey -- 350,000
P Brandon Lyon -- 330,000
P Bill Murphy -- 50,000
P Dustin Nippert -- 50,000
P Tony (Ramon) Pena -- 50,000
P Adam Peterson -- 350,000
P Jose Valverde -- 350,000
P Oscar Villarreal -- 350,000
P Justin Wechsler -- 50,000
IF Koyie Hill -- 350,000 (see Snyder)
IF Jerry Gil -- 350,000
IF/OF Scott Hairston -- 350,000
OF Josh Kroeger -- 350,000
OF Reggie Abercrombie -- 50,000
OF Marland Williams -- 50,000
OF Quentin McCracken -- 350,000

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Random Notes: One Door Closes, Another Opens Edition 

Jeff Moorad's been approved by MLB to join the ownership group as a general partner, but not as CEO as originally announced. Ken Kendrick will become (continue to be?) managing partner, getting to go to all those cool owners' meetings. Moorad will run baseball operations.

Brett Butler, bunter extraordinaire, now attempting to teach D-Back pitchers the same. Goodness knows they need the help; they were quite poor last year. The major league player most similar to Butler, according to baseball-reference? Richie Ashburn.

In an announcement that surprised absolutely nobody, Javier Vazquez will make the Opening Day start.

And Ramon Pena now wants to be known as Tony Pena (above article, last point). Maybe he took a look at Tony Pena's career and Ramon Pena's career and went with the better of the two. Hey, Tony was part of the pitching process. That's close enough, right?

Finally, semi-official news that one of my favorite bands, the Jayhawks, is breaking up. Completely amicably, with a reunion tour of sorts for Gary Louris and Mark Olson, who left the band 10 years ago. Sadly the tour won't be coming anywhere near Phoenix. (A sentence that could be written about dozens of artists.) I do note, however, that they will be recording a new Golden Smog album, which is really good news, as the Weird Tales CD from the alt-country-ish supergroup is probably in my Top 10 list of favorite albums.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Lake Wobegon 

Spring is a time of hope and optimism. Of dreams. We are most acutely aware of this as we read Spring Training articles.

Bob Melvin -- or, indeed, any manager -- is our Garrison Keillor, giving us the news from Lake Wobegon, where the "women are strong, the are good-looking, and the children are above average." When it comes to Casey Daigle's wife Jennie Finch, she's all three of those, but as for her husband, well, let's just say 2004 was Not A Good Year for him. So it was with initial surprise and alarm that we read of Melvin's appreciation of Daigle -- the man could compete for the 5 spot. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued ("GOOD GOD NO!!!"). But after taking a deep breath, I remembered that Spring Training is all about the promise of the future: Webb, Halsey, Gonzalez, Pena, Aquino, or just the whole freakin' rotation.

It's all about being hopeful. And, really, what do you expect Melvin to say… "oh, yeah, [X], man, his mechanics stink and he's a basket case -- the next time he'll see BOB is when the monster truck rally comes through." No, it's a time when everyone is "above average" -- we won't find out whether that's actually true for another six weeks.

So that's why I'm taking all these articles with one giant grain (lump) of salt. Especially when the pitching coach (Mark Davis) talks about the staff and isn't quoted making a single comment regarding the relative chances of success.