The Baseball Exchange

Astros Trade Lidge by 27yankees
November 7, 2007, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Baseball Strategy, MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday acquired Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge for righthander Geoff Geary, outfielder Michael Bourn and minor league third baseman Mike Costanza.

Philadelphia also received utilityman Eric Bruntlett.

Lidge, 30, went 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA and 19 saves for Houston in 2007. He averaged 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a 2.89 ERA in his final 53 appearances. Lidge has 452 strikeouts over the last four seasons – most of any reliever.

This trade signals a few things to me. First of all, if it wasn’t already apparent, it means that the Astros are officially trying to move into a rebuilding phase. Competitive teams don’t typically trade away a closer, even if it was a closer who was terrible a few years ago. Their acquisition of two prospects also signals something, which I will discuss later.

This signals that the Phillies might be willing to move Brett Myers back to the rotation (thankfully), because they have shored up that hole, and that they are also confident in a deal with Aaron Rowand or another free agent center fielder. Michael Bourn was expected to be their fallback strategy should they have failed to sign Rowand, so it would seem that they have confidence in signing him or another center fielder.

This move would look pretty good for both teams if Costanza hadn’t been included. A veteran reliever who has had dominant and not so dominant seasons and could probably use a change of pace, and a veteran utilityman in exchange for a young outfielder who is probably ready to be a starter and an above average veteran reliever. However, Costanza really tips the deal for me. There are several reasons for this. Both the Phillies and the Astros are somewhat lacking in terms of short term or long term solutions at third base. The Phillies combined Wes Helms and Abraham Nunez for by far their weakest position in their infield. The Astros had a struggling Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb, who leaves for free agency. Mike Costanza, though not an elite prospect, could be expected to be a strong starting third baseman in a few years and could really fill a hole for either team. This trade also helps the Astros fill holes in a very weak farm system; the Phillies have a weak farm system, too.

These facts tip this deal towards the Astros side and really leads me to believe that perhaps Ed Wade might know what he is doing.


Five Free Agent Bargains by 27yankees
October 29, 2007, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Baseball Strategy, Top Lists | Tags: , , , ,

1. Mike Lamb – Lamb will be just 32 next season, and plays passable defense at the corners – 3B, 1B, LF, RF. Three of his past four seasons have been above average in terms of OPS, and he represents a good bargain in that there is little interest in him. He could make for an excellent backup and if needed provides a passable starting bat, and he will probably come pretty cheap.

2. Ramon Castro – Castro will be 32 next season and provides passable defense for a catcher. Though he has mostly been a backup for his career and has never really stood out in his career, there is reason to believe that he could be worth a shot as a starter. Last season he hit 11 homers in 144 AB, and provided a 127 OPS+, 27% better than an average hitter. Though it might be unreasonable to expect him to hit quite so well, he is a good bargain because there is little interest in him, if he does well he could be a good starter, and if not, well he’s a decent backup.

3. Milton Bradley – That’s right. The outfielder with the attitude problem. He’s turning 30, and he’s only had one fully healthy season. However, his 110 OPS+, and his 153 OPS+ in ’07 mean that he is a good bet to be above average, if not better. Most teams are wary of his attitude and his injury problems, but any team that takes the risk on him has a good chance at a high reward.

4. Jeremy Affeldt – Turning 29 next year, the Rockies reliever posted a 137 ERA+ in the tough environment at Coors after being fully converted into a reliever. He could make for a bargain set-up man.

5. David Riske – If the Royals don’t exercise his option for 2008, Riske, who will be just 31, makes for an excellent set-up man at a good bargain. He posted a 191 ERA+ in ’07 and for his career has a 131 ERA+. Though he has a below average strikeout rate, he still consistently performs well. I’m not sure what the Royals plan to do, but if he is made available, he could be a great bargain set-up pitcher.

N.Y. Daily News: Joe Girardi apparent leader in race for Yanks’ manager by 27yankees


The Yankees apparently have reached a decision on a new manager, which they are prepared to announce Sunday or Monday, and there were increasing signs Saturday night pointing to Joe Girardi.

As has been stated by Yankee ownership, GM Brian Cashman is the one who will make the recommendation to ownership based on his interviews with all three candidates – Girardi, Don Mattingly and Tony Peña – along with advice from all his baseball people.

The recommendation then would need to be given final approval by the Steinbrenner family.

While nobody in the Yankee high command was prepared to speculate on Cashman’s favorite, sources familiar with the GM’s thinking pointed out that Girardi had all the characteristics – an analytical approach, organizational skills that come from having already managed (the Florida Marlins) and a proven ability to handle a pitching staff – Cashman is thought to be looking for.

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Mike Pagliarulo, pt II by 27yankees

This article was one I found after I posted before, and I thought that this was as ridiculous, if not more, than the other…


As the New York Yankees begin an all-important four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays today, let’s take a look at how individual Blue Jays pitchers have fared against the Yankees. Yes, it’s a small sample size, so individually it’s difficult to read too much into these stats. But, collectively, we see a trend. Let’s go behind the stats and understand them.

The Yankees are a great offensive team. They lead the majors in team runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Yet within this dominance, there are weaknesses.

The Yankees are an aggressive low ball hitting club, especially their power bats A-Rod, Giambi, Cano, and Abreu. And, they are an excellent off-speed hitting team, led by their captain Jeter, Damon, and Matsui. It’s not a surprise then, that when the Yankees play against “command” types who throw a lot of offspeed pitches, they can run up the score. On the other hand, the Yankees are susceptible to hard throwers. Looking at the Blue Jays pitching stats from 2007 (diagram above [look on the actual link]) versus the Yankees, you’ll see that generally the pitchers who have done well are those with above average fastballs. Those pitchers are highlighted.

Given that the Blue Jays will be throwing three pitchers (Burnett, Hallady and McGowan) with plus fastballs against the Yankees, and only one command guy this series (Marcum), look for the Yankees offense to be mitigated.

Again, in the last paragraph they call him Hallady instead of Halladay. Copy editing, please.

So… A.J. Burnett, Roy Halladay, Dustin McGowan, Jason Frasor, and Jeremy Accardo have all been good against the Yankees? And, this can somehow be explained because they have plus fastballs? Damn! It’s genius!

Maybe this is just me, but don’t most teams have trouble against pitchers with good fastballs?

But the general idiocy of this is that those are all good pitchers. Sure, the Yankees have trouble with them, but maybe that’s just because they’re good. Take a look at their stat lines:

A.J. Burnett: 153.3 IP, 9-7, 3.40 ERA, 136 ERA+
Jeremy Accardo: 65.3 IP, 28 SV, 2.20 ERA, 210 ERA+
Jason Frasor: 54.7 IP, 3 SV, 4.28 ERA, 108 ERA+
Roy Halladay: 218.3 IP, 15-7, 3.71 ERA, 125 ERA+
Dustin McGowan: 159.3 IP, 11-9, 3.84 ERA, 121 ERA+

The irony is that the post is title, ‘Using and Understanding Stats’. It’s kind of sad, really. If the people on this site stuck to just scouting, and only focused on the main elements, i.e., what pitches so-and-so throws, or where in the zone certain batters can hit well, it would be a great blog. But no, they have to go into the ‘stats’ that aren’t really stats and they have to try to actually provide analysis.

Mike Pagliarulo by 27yankees

Today, I’ll be taking a page out of the Fire Joe Morgan playbook and I’ll be talking a bit about the general idiocy going on over at Mike Pagliarulo’s ‘scouting’ blog the BaseLine Report. FJM has done some analysis already, so I’ll be leaving that stuff to the big guns…

This is from a scouting report on John Lackey:

Lackey is a tall, durable right hander that has become the most dependable starter on the Angels
staff – and one of the dependable starters in major league baseball. He’s an intense competitor that
pitches with a plan and executes his pitches. He works at a good quick tempo and establishes his
fastball while getting ahead in the count to most hitters.

They start off well by playing the ‘intense competitor’ card. I love it. Because John Lackey really wants to win. Unlike all sorts of other players who are really trying to lose when they play baseball. Alex Rodriguez, you know it. J.D. Drew, I’m looking at you.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll skip some of the less idiotic portions of this article… Moving right along…

• Above aveage command of fastball, slider, curve and change-up.

Now maybe this is just me, but it seems that the easiest way to appear unprofessional is to have spelling errors littered throughout your text. Please, please, please get a proofreader/copy editor.

I’ll skip over some of the more contextually correct content and get to some more interesting stuff.

  • John Lackey is capable of overpower hitters by using his fastball to each side of the plate as well
    as up in the zone to finish a hitter off. Because of the fact that JD Drew and David Ortiz have
    holes in the strike zone highlighting areas above their belt, Lackey matches up well vs. both hitters. Look for a high hard fastballs when he’s got two strikes on these players.
    Pesky contact type hitters such as Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury that are capable of using
    the entire field and do a good job of battling with two strikes, these hitters will give John Lackey the
    most problems. Pedroia and Ellsbury both do a good job of putting the ball in play and can handle the high strike very well. They will be difficult outs for the Angels #1 starter.

So you’re telling me that John Lackey will have more trouble with Pedroia and Ellsbury than with David Ortiz? Maybe this is just me, but I don’t believe that.


John Lackey must establish his fastball early and get ahead in the count. He needs to hammer
the strike zone but mind the danger areas of each potential HR threat, namely Ortiz, Ramirez, and
Lowell. When he is ahead in the count Lackey maintains more weapons to put hitters away with
than most. His concentration shouldn’t be distracted by the basestealing threats of Ellsbury and Crisp, as
Mathis is quite capable of handling the running game. An umpire with a forgiving strike zone will favor Lackey, as the Red Sox hitters are more patient than the Angels offense.

So you’re telling me that he needs to get ahead in the counts? And he needs to keep fat fastballs away from the power zones of power hitters? No way, you’re kidding me, right? I mean, most pitchers try to get behind in the count and then throw fastballs right down the spots where the batter hits well? Right?

I really like how they are targeting this blog for baseball fans, and yet they seem to be explaining things to your typical tennis fan who doesn’t know much about baseball.

Pitcher Plan
For John Lackey to be effective he must get ahead of hitters early in the count by getting strike one
with his first pitch. This will enable him to utilize his variety of outpitches. He must throw strikes
allowing his very consistent defense to work at a good pace behind him. Jeff Mathis is very capable
of handling Boston’s running game which is one less worry for Lackey.

So basically the exact same thing as the ‘Keys to Success’? Not only are they being idiots, but they are repeating their idiocy to us over and over again.

I hope to have many more features of this idiocy… It’s just too good.

Top 3 Reasons Why It Doesn’t Matter If The Yankees Win The Division by 27yankees
September 22, 2007, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Baseball Strategy, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Player Draft, Top Lists

This list is a short one because I’m too lazy to actually think of five and there are only three really. This is just a reminder that we don’t need the division title to accomplish our goal.

3. If they don’t win the division, they get a higher position in the draft than the Red Sox, which is always useful.
2. The past few World Series winners have all been from the Wild Card anyways!
1. The team with the best momentum going into the playoffs wins the World Series, not the best team. The playoffs are a crapshoot and any team that reaches the playoffs can win (i.e. the Cardinals).

17 K’s? Really? Baseball Notes 8/19/07 by 27yankees
August 19, 2007, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Awards, Baseball Strategy, Daily Notes

Johan Santana (Mr. Cy, right) is ridiculously good. This time of the year is his annual Cy Young push.Johan Santana

8.0 IP, 17 K’s, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB

Only 8.0 IP? Why not a complete game? The bum!


By the way, those 17 K’s make for a nice, sweet Twins record.

The guy has a ridiculous changeup, and if the Twins want to be good a few years from now, they are going to need to pony up the cash for this man. Francisco Liriano is good, but he’s a huge injury risk, and even if he can be as good as Johan, the team really needs the guy. They also need some offense.

The Twins, to me, are something of a joke compared to typical playoff teams. They have that dominant ace, the dominant bullpen arm, and there are a few good bats in their lineup (Cuddyer, Morneau, Mauer)… On the other hand, Torii Hunter is going to walk this season, and it’s a foregone conclusion that the Twins can’t afford him if they want to get some of their other guys. Not only that, but they can’t even surround their legit talent with any medium talent players at all. Sorry, but Nick Punto and the “piranhas” just aren’t going to cut it. They rare a small budget team without much in the way of a farm system, and that’s a formula that’s just set up for failure. They need to get a bigger budget or improve their farm sometime soon. People think of the Twins as legit contenders, but I only see a team with rotation holes once you get past the ace and a few strong players surrounded by a weak lineup. Sorry.

Sammy Sosa is a killjoy, by the way. In Mark Buerhle’s no-no, he got a walk to prevent a perfect game. In Johan’s game, he got the two hits and probably prevented Johan from getting a perfecto. Not only that…

Sammy Sosa v J. Santana this year: 3-4, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 K
Other Rangers v J. Santana this year: 3-47, 0 HR, 0 BB, 29 K

I mean, wow. Jeez.

In other news, Ryan Braun hit another homer. The Hebrew Hammer strikes again.

Also, my parents threatened to disown me again (Okay, not really. Go figure).

I realized today that the pitching on my fantasy baseball team is ridiculously good: Roy Halladay, Erik Bedard, Chris Young, Phil Hughes, Noah Lowry (he’s actually really good), and Aaron Harang. I’ve discovered that I’m a really good judge of talent in baseball. Most people said Chris Young’s ’06 was a fluke, but I saw that he had Tall Pitcher Syndrome before ’06 (though Petco can’t hurt), and knew he was for realsies. Bedard? His changeup is almost Santana-esque from what I’ve heard. Phil Hughes? Hey, he’s a Yankee. Lowry? Pitched hurt most of last year. Harang? On any other team, he would be really really famous. He’s not even the most famous pitcher on his team, which is kind of ridiculous since he’s better than Bronson Arroyo. By quite a bit.

And, my relievers and hitters aren’t all that bad either. I guess I’m just good at this stuff.

Yeah, so good stuff.