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Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Deals like they've made in the last month (plus the Carlos Lee signing) are ones they never would have made in the old days. Other than trade-deadline deals, that is. Hell, the closest thing to these kinds of splashes they made prior to last winter was the Jeff Kent signing and Hunsicker only made that deal because Kent basically walked into his office and asked for a job. This is easily the most interested I've been in Astros baseball in December, ever.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/12/12/tejada.trade.ap/index.html

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I hate to curtail anyone's enthusiasm for baseball, but Matsui and Tejada have two of the most ridiculous contracts for non-pitchers in all of baseball. You should be admonishing this regime, not praising it.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I thought Matsui had a pretty decent season this past year and is an obvious upgrade from what was run out there this past season (see numerous articles and postings by Asher on the subject). Any offense from the SS position will be a welcome sight, as well. Unless you're a huge Lidge, Bruntlett or Scott believer, the Astros have upgraded their leadoff spot, their second base spot (both offensively and defensively), and their SS offensive output without giving up very much. Perhaps they move him to third - which I know is unlikely - and put Everett at short, or maybe even let Adam try his hand at third.
Either way, the 2008 version of the Astros are already better than the past year's edition. Now, if they get some starting pitching, they'll be back in the thick of things.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I can't beleive they gave up 5 players, 3 of them pitchers, for Tejada.

On the other hand, speaking of things I can't believe, Keith and/or Asher, seeing as you are much more familiar with him than I, what can you tell me about the Giants new overpaid centerfielder?

What's the deal with one good year, two bad years, one good year? It seems that when he has a good year he is very consistent across the board (home/away, 1st half/2nd half, vs LHP/vs RHP, etc.).

Clearly the Giants can't expect what the Phillies got in '07 but what do you think they can expect? His power numbers will suffer but what I'm most curious about is his OBP.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Everett is likely to be non-tendered from what I hear.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

also, the money doesn't matter to me. Drayton McLane has been a notoriously cheap owner over the years. More and more, he's shown his willingness to loosen the purse strings and I don't mind the approach of overpaying for talent, especially in an organization that only paid fair market value for 2 players in any given year. And usually those guys happened to be named Bagwell and Biggio.
Matsui = 3 year commitment at ~$5.5 mil. not bad when the alternative is Chris Burke
Tejada = 2 year commitment at ~$13 mil. compare his offensive output to Adam Everett's and he's worth a two year tryout. hell, if it doesn't pan out, he'd still be worth something to someone come trade deadline time.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

as far as trading 3 pitchers goes, Rich, that is also not a big concern, considering that these guys are aren't exactly big-time prospects (Keith will tell you that the Astros have none). Albers is a proven loser and the jury is still out on Sarfate and the young Patton. These aren't exactly guys who were going to be lynchpins in the Astros bullpen.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I did see this morning that Albers and Patton were the nos. 2 and 3 prospects in the Astros organization before this year according to Baseball America.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

That's like saying that Brian Griese and Kyle Orton are good because they're the second and third (in no particular order) best QB's in their organization.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Well either they are good or Keith must be right.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Actually, I like J.R. Towles.

Kaz Matsui hit .249 with no homers last year away from Coors Field. The problem with the Astros isn't that they're running out of money, it's that now that they've spent almost $20 million on their 2008 budger, they're probably going to acquire some Jason Jennings-level pitcher and think that they have enough to contend, when in reality they will be contending with Pittsburgh for worst in the NL Central again.

But if Cecil Cooper plays Everett at third and Tejada at short, the team has problems much bigger than an inept front office.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

The thing about Rowand is that his reputation for disregarding his body when playing the outfield is well-founded. That's going to make Giants fans ooh! and aah!, but it also makes Rowand oww! and aughh! The bottom like for Rowand: if he's healthy, he's an above average hitter. But the Giants shouldn't expect him to be fully healthy for more than two of the next five years, and there's always the chance he Rusty Greers out (someone who played defense the exact same way).

His OBP, as you might notice, is almost completely derived from his batting average, meaning that when he does have a down year in BA, he has absolutely no offensive value.

I think the Giants made this signing because they had lots of money and Rowand was the biggest name still available.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Here's what BA thinks about the Astros' system this year - Astros Report.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I am in a hurry, so:

a) Astros front office is screwing the pooch. Carlos Lee is overrated, and had an overrated season. Matsui was only reasonably good because he played in Coors Field. And they just traded five guys for an aging shortstop who promises to be not nearly as effective in the NL as the AL.

b) Aaron Rowand had a breakout offensive season in a park which is prone to such breakouts. In a large stadium, he will be an ABSOLUTE asset on defense, but the Giants should not expect a repeat of last season on offense by any stretch of the imagination.

c) I would put Tejada at third base and hope Adam Everett lasts at shortstop for ten more years.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I think I have been a bit tough on Tejada. He isn't THAT old, and his play hasn't been as empty as I thought the last few years - he doesn't walk much, but he does keep his OBP relatively high anyway.

Curiously, despite the fact that Camden Yards is a relatively neutral hitters park, Tejada's stats have been surprisingly one sided. I don't get that.

The great news, though, is that the Astros could have the greatest double play combination since the 1983 Boston Red Sox. I of course mean the greatest offensive double play combination - I wonder if Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada can become the second pair of teammates to ever hit into 30 double plays in the same season (after Jim Rice and Tony Armas, Sr.).

If anyone would care to hear my defense, by the way, of Jim Rice's alarming double play totals, I would be more than happy to offer it.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Well I imagine it was difficult for Rice to get down the first base line very quickly, dragging you along with your lips pressed so tightly around his cock.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

That seemed a bit out of proportion.

But no, the answer is Wade Boggs, the slowest leadoff man in the last 50 years, who in the mid-1980s also happened to be on the best players at getting to first base ever.

A lethal combination, to be sure.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Hey, that actually plays out.

Rice's GIDP numbers skyrockeyed when Boggs came up. We could have blamed that on his age, if not for his suppressed GIDP toatals whwn he moved to the cleanup spot in 1986. Who hit #3 that year? Mr. 1986 himself, Bill Buckner, whose GIDP totals then blew out of proportion with the rest of his career.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Yeah, no shit sherlock. I don't just make this stuff up.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Carlos Lee started 160 games in the fourth position in the batting order for the Astros last season, and hit into 27 double plays.

I have a feeling that was mostly due to Lance Berkman starting 148 games in the third spot and getting on base to the tune of .388, including 187 singles plus walks.

But imagine what Lee could have accomplished if the Astros leaders off hitter could have managed better than a .309 OBP.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

In the year 2000, Ben Grieve hit into 32 double plays in 158 games (almost joining the 30HR/30/DP club along the way).

Guess what slow-ass on-base monster Grieve was hitting behind for most of THAT season?

In 2004, A.J. Pierzynski hit into 27 double plays for the Giants, the same year slow-ass Barry Bonds took 232 walks.

Guess what slow-ass future Hall of Fame on-base machine Jackie Jensen was in the same lineup as in 1954 when he hit into 32 double plays with the Red Sox?

Of the 14 instances of a player hitting into 30 double plays or more, four came from guys on teams with Wade Boggs, two came from guys on teams with Ted Williams, and one came from a guy on a team with Jason Giambi in his MVP year.

Perhaps the greatest double play season in the history of baseball came from Billy Hitchcock, who played in only 115 games (399 at-bats) but managed to hit into 30 double plays. This was due to the fact that he was on a team that featured Eddie Joost (103 walks in 131 games), Ferris Fain (133 walks in 151 games), and Elmer Valo (82 walks in 129 games).

Unbelieveable.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Bonds is not a slow ass. That big fuck can still run.

BTW Boggs hit 1st. Where did Rice hit? Third? Fourth? It's not like Boggs hit one place ahead of him.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Also Boggs didn't play a full season until 1984.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I would generally advise people that blanket assumptions are dangerous things to make.

In 2004, of those 232 walks, a whopping 2% of those were followed by a double play ball from Pierzynski.

Of A.J.'s 27 double plays that year, Bonds was the forced runner on less than 1/3 of those. In fact, A.J. was an equal opportunity dual-out-meister that season with 10 different players finding themselves on the front end of a Pierzynski two-fer.

Runners forced by Pierzynski in 2004:
Bonds - 8
Pedro Feliz - 5
Jeffrey Hammonds - 3
Michael Tucker - 3
Edgardo Alfonzo - 2
Deivi Cruz - 2
Damon Minor - 1
J.T. Snow - 1
Cody Ranson - 1
Jason Ellison - 1

Of those 8 DP with Bonds on base, 3 were preceded by a Bonds single and 5 by walks (1 intentional). 7 of them came with Pierzynski batting directly behind Bonds and 1 with Bonds batting two spots ahead.

What I find most interesting is that A.J. that year produced groundballs just 42% of the time which according to The Baseball Cube is the 2nd lowest ratio of his career. That ratio was 49 and 48% the year immediately before and after that.

I do seem to recall that most of his double plays that year were simply taylor made DPs which even the fastest lead runner would have a tough time breaking up.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

"Bonds is not a slow ass. That big fuck can still run."

2004 - Bonds had six steals out of seven attempts. Not great, especially when you consider how often he was on first base.

"BTW Boggs hit 1st. Where did Rice hit? Third? Fourth? It's not like Boggs hit one place ahead of him."

Tony, I am very disappointed to see that Rich out-homeworked you on this one: Boggs first full year was 1983, not 1984, and he usally hit second that year. In 1984, he almost always hit first, but in 1985 and 1986, he usually hit second again. Rice almost always hit third in those years.

Go to Rice's gamelogs and see how many times he hit into double plays with Boggs getting the out.

By the way, Rich - where do you get your stats on who was the lead out on double plays? because I found going through the gamelogs very tedious.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Stolen bases doesn't determine how fast you are, does it?

BTW, who gets the blame for Rice from 74(?) to 82? Jerry Remy?

Also, if youre going to give Rice a break on DP's because of Boggs, give him a hit for his RBI totals.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

BBR. And yes, it was tedious but I am at work on a Friday with zero desire to do any real work so tedium it is.

By the way, with only preliminary info to go on (I was interrupted by my lunch break), through August 5 in 1986, Rice batted primarily 4th with Boggs hitting second (and Buckner hitting 3rd). Then Boggs was moved to the leadoff spot (supplanting Marty Barrett who began hitting leadoff in the Sox 36th game of the year after Dwight Evans (?!?) had been the leadoff hitter to begin the year). For two weeks Rice was moved to the 3-hole and then he went back to the cleanup spot with Buckner again hitting in front of him.

I would also say though that Tony is half right about Bonds. He can still run....at select moments. When he needs to (and this applies to 2004 as well) he can move as fast as anyone but nowadays, that usually means that he'll need to take the next day off. Since his mid to late 30's Bonds has made a practice of turning it on when needed and saving it up when not.

Most often Bonds would be an easy front end of a DP because if it's anywhere close to taylor made, he's not going to run hard. But even today, 12/14/07, if you needed a stolen base there would be few players who you could count on more to get that bag.

Note the fact that he's been caught just once in his last 22 attempts and only 3 times in his last 33 (91%). He is at 86% (69 for 80) since 1999.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Tony what has happened to your analytical abilities?

From 1974 to 1981, Rice hit into between 14 and 21 doubles plays each year.

From 1982 to 1985, he hit into between 29 and 35 double plays per season.

And, by the way, I am not "blaming" or "giving him credit" or anything like that. I am simply offering an explanation - hey, you know what, Rice's double play totals only got absurd once Boggs joined the team.

Also, take a look at where Dwight Evans hit with respect to Wade Boggs, and what happened to Evans as a hitter once Boggs joined the team.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Never mind about Evans - he was amazing in 1981, before Boggs joined the Sox.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I kind of ignored your point here Tony - yes, Boggs clearly had a definite impact on Rice's RBIs, no doubt.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I don't know why I was thinking '86 was the year Rice hit into 36. Brain fart I guess. But anyway, here is the info on those 19 DP from that season.

Lead runner forced by Rice
Buckner - 14
Boggs - 4
Greenwell 1

Plus at least a few times Rice into an inning ending forceout with the less than fleet footed Buckner on first.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

What role do you think Rice's slowing due to being older might have had on his GIDP numbers in those years he spent with Boggs?

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I think my last post answered all of the issues brought up here, but I guess no one read it because Asher dismissed it so quickly.

Tony, Rice did not ground into many double plays until Boggs came on board.

Asher, the Rice/Boggs comparison was relevant because Rice was hitting third and Boggs was hitting first or second. In 2004, Bonds hit cleanup, and A.J. batted mostly sixth (some fifth, some seventh). There was probably no need for Rich to spend all of that time going through gamelogs.

Karl, the fact that Rice grounded into way fewer double plays in 1986 after being moved to the cleanup spot shows that his age was not the primary factor as I had previously believed.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

"Also, if youre going to give Rice a break on DP's because of Boggs, give him a hit for his RBI totals."

As you probably know, I never gave Rice credit for his RBI totals anyway.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Keith, I spent all that time going through the gamelogs because Asher suggested that Bonds' 232 walks played a large part in A.J's DP total and I felt that was not the case. I simply proved my point.

As for the whole Rice/Boggs thing, I'm afraid I'm not buying that either. In fact, for the most part it simply did not matter who was batting in front of Rice, if they got on 1st, Rice was likely to double them up.

In 1984, Boggs began the season hitting 3rd with Evans hitting 2nd for the first 27 games that year. Rice hit cleanup. Boggs and Evans then flip flopped for 6 games. After that Boggs, Evans and Rice hit 1-2-3 for the remainder of the season.

Of Rice's 36 DP, Evans was doubled up 25 times, Boggs 10 times and Mike Easler once. One of the times Evans was doubled up was on a flyball DP (score it 9-6-3). Almost exclusively, the runner doubled up was the batter hitting directly in front of Rice (usually Evans after mid-May) with only a couple of exceptions. Most of the times Boggs was doubled up were in the early portion of the season when Boggs hit 3rd.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I simply meant that Asher's suggestion was meritless and didn't warrant as thorough of an exposure as you conducted.

As for Rice, I'm becoming more convinced that the #3 spot in the lineup is killer for DP opportunites regardless of who's hitting ahead of you.

There is no way that a #3 hitter can come up with a man on and two outs in the first inning, whereas a cleanup hitter can.

For his career, Rice grounded into a DP once every 25 plate appearances in the #3 hole, but only once every 32 at bats elsewhere.

I think that just as I expect leadoff hitters to ground into fewer DPs than average, I'm going to begin expecting the DP totals of a number 3 hitter to be slightly worse.

I'll do more research on this next week, but it makes intuitive sense at least.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Hey, like I said, I'm at work on a Friday with no desire to work. It was something to do. By the way, is that Rowand piece I sent you going up soon?

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Rice did also get older, and he did still hit plenty of groundballs with Boggs on first. Did Boggs have an impact on them, overall? Yes, he probably did, but I really doubt it was significant.


My analytical abilities now have probably gone to shit. As soon as finals are done, I'm going to be more involved.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Keith, how is AJ hitting two spots behind Bonds any different from Rice hitting two spots behind Boggs.

Idiot.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Pierzynski was grounding into double plays on purpose in San Francisco just like he would tell hitters what was coming, where. It isn't exactly a secret that Pierzynski was a saboteur. I mean, he is as slow as can be but there was a lot going on in San Francisco that year.

He was a favorite of mine for awhile until I realized he was pretty phony. Maybe the biggest "turnoff" for me was when he bunted into a double play on purpose because he was mad about being asked to sacrifice against the Twins. It was early last season, I believe in Minnesota.

City Chicago

Favorite Team Braves

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Sadly it's hard for me to tell if you're serious. I hope you're not.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Ahhh, the glorious return of Gregory Royal Pratt

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I'm certainly serious. Google around for some stories about Pierzynski's time in San Francisco. He was so bad he had to beg the White Sox for eighteen hours on the phone to pleasepleaseplease give him a chance.

City Chicago

Favorite Team Braves

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Greg, you are acting in a bizarre manner.

May I quote from an email conversation you and I had in 2006?

"Statistics don't measure everything. AJ Pierzynski gets along well with the pitchers, they rarely call him off on pitches (Buehrle and Garland, for instance, apparently only did it once) and he's reliable. It's a chemistry they have.

Pierzynski was Public Enemy number one in San Francisco, unfairly I believe, and in Minnesota -- well, I don't have an explanation except that, perhaps, his fielders and he weren't as loose with each other."

You can't go around saying completely divergent things without owning up to it.

As for your assertions about Pierzynski hitting into double plays on purpose, I will of course need you to back up this assertion by posting links to sources indicating this to be the case.

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Asher, you are being plain ridiculous here. Greg has developed and matured drastically - perhaps to the point of enlightenment - since 2006. To bring up his own words in order to prove his hypocrisy and double-speak is just plain ludicrous. I'm quite sure this slanderous attack on G. Royal Pratt's reputation will result in his immediate withdrawl from this discussion. Either that, or he'll throw a fastball at you, but not at your knee or head... but no armor or any pussy shit like that, though.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

"Keith, how is AJ hitting two spots behind Bonds any different from Rice hitting two spots behind Boggs."

Again, Asher, please read my last post. What the heck has happened to your reading comprehension skills?

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Keith, I think I mentioned this to you before but I'm not sure; if you're going to take away from someone for hitting into DP, how is that an different for giving some one credit for a 2-run homerun?

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

If a player consistently shows that he performs better in more valuable situations, I do indeed "give credit" for that.

There is a much larger variance in career double play rates than in career clutchiness, no matter how you define it. It is actually very difficult to find players who consistently hit better with men on base. Michael Young, Ichiro, and David Ortiz are the only active players I can think of who consistently perform better in the clutch, and you kind of think that's a bad thing for Young and Ichiro, since they're supposed to be table-setters.


I don't think I articulated this very well. Let me re-post wen I have more time.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I understand your point, but mine was simply that the batter really has no control over who is on-base when he comes up. So why punish or credit the batter.

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

Scott and I were reading a 1994 baseball publication over the weekend that equated RBI with clutch-hitting, and we laughed out loud at how only 13 years ago people were still propagating that myth.

And now Keith is giving credit for a guy showing signs of clutchiness by hitting 2-run homeruns?

City Philadelphia

Favorite Team Cubs

Re: Where have you gone, old guard Astros front office?

I'm evaluating players on what they do with men on base, not on how many people are on base for them.

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