I will do what I can

Braves sign Garret Anderson to one-year deal | ajc.com

This terrible news is unaccompanied by the picture or PR, but you have to acknowledge that the chances of it falling through look slim. All I can do is try to write up Anderson tonight in hopes that yet again I will wind up with an unpostable player analysis. Briefly: He is done.

I love ya, DOB, but I really hope you fall on your face again.

277 thoughts on “I will do what I can”

  1. Mac,

    I am not sure he is done, but he certainly isnt anything special at this point.

    Griffey and Edmonds both brought a lot more to the table.

    Swisher or Nady would bring a lot more than that.

    I fear this means there will not be another outfield move unless we are about to release some fairly good pitchers and can cobble them together for Nady or Swisher or a Cardinal (with or without a Prado, depending on pitchers) (or maybe if somebody gets hurt).

    DOB reports no incentives. Do we think the 2.5 is the final tally?

    2.5 for Garret Anderson, 1 guaranteed up to 4.5 for Glavine, 1.5 guaranteed on David Ross. $500,000 wasted on Francoeur for PR with him. Put those together and you have $10,000,000. Just goes to show the baseball version of Senator Everett Dierksen’s rule: a milllion here, a couple of million there and pretty soon you are talking about real money.

  2. I will open a can of worms. Is this the reverse of the NBA last guy is white thing? Maybe we needed somebody to take the field in #42 on Jackie Robinson’s birthday. We went after Griffey and Anderson that, at this time, are not the player that Edmonds is. The trade prospects were mostly white with a few hispanics.

  3. Anderson is what he is, but I wouldn’t say he’s done. He’s essentially put up the same numbers for the last five seasons, numbers that were far better than anyone we threw out there last year. I like it.

  4. can of worms open. dumb statement flies out…why does it always have to be about race. it’s a disgusting topic to debate….

  5. Does anybody have the +/- numbers for Anderson last year? I was surprised to see that UZR rates him as being worth 9 runs defensively in about 80 LF games last year (though he rated at -1 and -3 for 2007 and 2006).

  6. The Swisher ship has sailed. A not so pretty back end of his contract and the Yankees’ demand for prospects ran the Braves off, I’m sure.

  7. rehab, dont worry about what happens in BP. Kawakami is working on location and isnt using all of his pitches right now

  8. Can he play RF? His number last year were a whole lot better than our right fielder’s.

    One year? Not losing any prospects? Meh, not bad, not bad.

    I remember last year at this time many were dumping on the Kotsay signing and he turned out to be pretty productive. This reminds me of that.

    Without the hot wife. That I’m aware of.

  9. Oh, and #2, Griffey is not better than Anderson. He is a horrid fielder and not that much better offensively. I’m very happy that Griffey signed in Seattle so we could instead land Anderson.

    Nady isn’t bad, but he didn’t break out until last season. He’s a ? in my mind. Edmonds hit pretty well last season, but he was terrible in the field.

  10. I’m watching the MLB Network’s broadcast of a 1984 game between the Cardinals and Cubs. It looks like a high school game.

    Everyone is so thin. Sandberg looks anorexic and he was one of the leaders in slugging percentage that year.

  11. I don’t have a huge problem with this. True, he’s not Abreu, or Dunn, or Nady or Swisher. But he’s not Blanco either. Platooning Schafer with Diaz didn’t make much sense to me either. I think he and Diaz will form a better platoon than Diaz and anybody else currently on the roster, including Brandon Jones.

    On a one year deal, it’s not the end of the world. If he goes Mondesi or Craig Wilson, then try something different. It’s only money. He doesn’t block a ‘major’ prospect like Glavine does and I think he’ll be just as productive as Griffey will be in ’09.

    Of course, as Mac, I won’t believe it until he’s holding up a uniform.

  12. Mike Clay,
    Griffey is better than Anderson—particularly in the role for which they’re needed on this team. It’s not even close.

  13. Mac, I honestly don’t know what you wanted out of this off-season, but this is a good move to stabalize a horrid OF situation on top of completely rebuilding the starting rotation. The Braves are now one of the top contenders for the 2009 wild-card, and considering how often the Mets underperform, they have a reasonably good shot at the division. I guess it’s not the perfect off-season, where they trade for Peavy and sign Manny Ramirez all for wadded up copies of old Terrence Moore columns, but you know, if you actually look at the team and where it’s come from rather than where you would like it to be in a perfect world, this has been a very good offseason for the Braves.

    Anderson, unlike Griffey, can even field a corner. And if he and Diaz hit while Francoeur relives his greatest flailings, Anderson is exactly the sort of player you can justify staring over Jeffy in RF.

    This is a good move. This has been a good off-season.

  14. Braves.com says it may not be a platoon: Diaz (.869 OPS vs lefties career, .706 vs righties). Anderson (.751, .815). That should speak for itself.

    Stu,

    I completely disagree. I’d prefer Anderson hands down. Griffey is pathetic in the field. Although he isn’t quite as good at the plate, Anderson can contribute in the field. Nice signing, Wren.

  15. In a SABR moment, I looked at Anderson’s splits from last year versus both left and right handed pitching.

    Only the Braves would let Matt Diaz take away ABs from Garrett Anderson. He batted almost identical against lefties as righties albeit with MUCH less power. He hit only 1 HR versus lefties and 14 versus righties.

    Yet and still, he’d be my everyday LF, period.

    I’ll take an aged G.A. over Diaz, Brandon Jones, Schaefer, Omar Infante et al.

  16. @15, you could be right, but I think the fear is that even if Anderson (who am i kidding, when Anderson) fails to perform, that we won’t just move on, but that Bobby will keep running him out there. Thus our chance of upgrading the outfield this year might’ve just gone up in smoke.

    I would seriously rather have Willie Harris back. He hits about the same and can field the heck out of the ball.

    If this was the move, then it would have been better just to run Brandon Jones out there. Why sign a 36 year old Garret Anderson when you probably have a 25 year old one??

  17. I think Anderson is our best outfielder. This is a step up from last year. If Diaz can hold up his end, this might work out.

  18. Diaz last year couldn’t tie his shoe. Last year Anderson hit around .290 with 15 HR and around 80 RBIs. Diaz couldn’t do that in 1000 ABs.

  19. Secondary Average, 2008:

    Anderson .205
    Griffey .335

    Secondary Average, last three seasons:

    Anderson .227
    Griffey .353

    The Braves are a high-average team that does (despite Jeffy) walk quite a bit, but they desperately need power. Anderson at this stage of his career is essentially a singles hitter. Griffey can still hit homers. And despite a much lower batting average, he makes a lot fewer outs.

  20. Actually, Mike, Griffey is substantially better against righties than Anderson is. Like I said, in the role of platoon left fielder, Griffey is better and it’s not close.

    That said, I’m fine with the move. Anderson’s a safer bet to be decent against righties than anyone else we have. If he plays every day, that will be a problem.

  21. #23

    We’re talking only about ABs vs lefties at the moment.

    As bad as Diaz was last year, he still managed a .755 OPS vs lefties. Anderson’s was .704.

    So unless you think Diaz will be worse than his horrible season last year and Anderson will be better than his above average season (for him) against lefties, you should be in agreement that a platoon makes perfect sense.

    As for your homerun reference, that is also off. Anderson hit 1 homer in 124 ABs against lefties. Diaz hit 2 in 72 at bats.

  22. For what this is worth, PECOTA projects Anderson at .275/.316/.422 in 2009, Griffey at .250/.343/.432. Oh, and Brandon Jones at .253/.323/.396, Matt Diaz at .282/.324/.414, Greg Norton at .254/.359/.427. IOW, they’re basically the same as the guys we already have.

  23. From Anderson’s BP player profile:

    “The Angles declined Anderson’s $11 million option for 2009, potentially ending a 19-year stay in the organization, including 15 in the majors. He isn’t worth $11 million, but as a platoon player, he still has the skills to hit somewhere in the .290-.300 range, with modest pop making up for few walks. The sum of his parts is something like an average player. His body is a little creaky at this point, and he’s going to miss 15-20 games a year, but there are still far worse outfielders playing every day.”

  24. To all those saying Anderson is superior to Griffey in the field — you do know that Anderson’s decent numbers are relative to other left fielders, while Griffey’s relatively poor numbers are in comparison to CFs and RFs, don’t you? There are no Ichiros or Camerons roaming left field, and that’s probably the only reason Anderson shows up better. I’m guessing most people haven’t witnessed Anderson’s “arm”, but it’s just this side of Juan Pierre’s.

    Batting-wise, it’s no contest, as Stu points out. Ugh.

  25. I’m all for Anderson being signed. We’re all assuming the worst, I guess we have to do that for the Braves as of late, but still he might do some good. If not, he might be a mentor to the kids in the minors.

  26. #32

    Anderson’s 9+ UZR last year was only while in LF. I don’t even have to look up the numbers to tell you that Griffey’s UZRs have been awful regardless of position. Even if he was in left, it would’ve been terrible.

    As for the fact that there are better OFs in right, all positions are adjusted. UZR wouldn’t be a legit statistic if it let something like that effect it.

  27. Well, the choice has never been Griffey vs Anderson. The Braves failed to sign Griffey and moved onto the next best thing. Even the Braves know Griffey is better than Anderson. The comparison should never have started.

  28. What I hate is actually that we could have use the Glavine+Anderson money to sign Abreu.

    Wren completely deserves a B for this offseason…what we have is an average GM. Fantastic.

  29. I’m with sansho. Garrett’s numbers come in okay so-so in left field, he doesn’t hit right handers as well as Griffey or left handers as well as Diaz. I’m sad about this contract, and pray that Mac can keep Wren’s and DOB’s misfortune going. Brandon Jones splits in the minors show he should be the right headed side of the LF platoon. Braves should have simply saved the money in the budget for after some teams are out of it this year and eaten someone’s crummy contract.
    I dislike the Glavine deal, too. If the argument is that he’s a reliable starter who will give you a chance to win while you leave Hanson in Gwinnett until June so we keep n extra year of control, then I’d say Parr, Reyes, Morton and Campillo can fill that 5th spot for a lot less money, and we could have marginally increased the offer for Griffey and gotten that deal done.

    Anyone know why Wren got fired in Baltimore when he was the GM there?

    I’m sad.

  30. Seconday average? What a bizarre stat… a metric that penalizes singles, while weighing a BB more than a 2B!?! Anderson might not quite have the power that Griffey has, but he outslugged him last year, and pretty much equaled his slugging two years ago.

    As for making fewer outs, if you normalize to Griffey’s 575 PAs last year, over the course of the whole season Griffey made 16 fewer outs. Not quite sure that qualifies as “a lot.”

    Now I never gave a second thought to Anderson before today. I’ve always been a Griffey fan, so that excited me, but I hadn’t even taken a look at Anderson’s stats. From what I see now, I’m thinking dollar for dollar we might have ended up better off this way. Certainly better off than ditching quality prospects for a rental, or the privilege of overpaying for Swisher.

    Garret looks to be productive, comes cheap, and probably plays a more versatile role in our OF. I do hope we at least give Diaz an opportunity to regain his ’05-’06 form though, but maybe he can spell Kotchman at first from time to time even if Garret fits into a more full-time LF role.

  31. I don’t expect the worst from Anderson. I expect an OBP around .325-.335. I expect what he’s been producing the last four years. All I can say is Frenchy better be right about not sucking this year.

    ks, What makes you think Abreu wanted to sign here? I thought he was intent on going to an AL team where he can DH half the time and not have to cower in fear of the outfield wall.

  32. Mike,
    Your point is wrong. As sansho alludes to, you apparently don’t understand advanced defensive metrics.

  33. Nobody thinks secondary average is a catchall stat, but an unfortunate number of people think that batting average is close to one. There is no way in hell that 35 points of batting average outweigh 100 points of secondary average. And since the ranges of on-base and slugging are much greater than the range of batting average, most of most players’ value is in secondary average.

  34. @37: I think you’re doing your math a little funny there. Anderson is guaranteed about $2 million plus incentives (which I haven’t heard described yet.) Glavine is set to make $1 million guaranteed, plus $1 million if he makes the roster, and the rest of the bonus money is deferred at least a few years. Assuming Tom pitches at some point this year, Garret+Glavine=$4 million plus Garret’s incentives (assuming they aren’t deferred.) Abreu signed for $5 million plus up to $1 million in bonuses.

    Given the advantages Anaheim had (stay in the American League, with a chance to play DH is needed,) I think it’s obvious we would have had to up the offer significantly. At least to $6 million guaranteed, plus incentives, which is at least $2 million more than Garret+Glavine.

    That might not be an excessive difference, but it is something, and we’re also getting two players for one. Glavine might not prove to be worth it, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

  35. Diaz/Anderson may not add up to Roenicke/Lowenstein in their Baltimore years, but the best-case scenario could be a decent upgrade from a piss-poor 2008.

    Garret’s overall numbers have remained constantly pedestrian the last 3 years, but his numbers with runners on-base have been good. And he’ll have some runners on base in front of him this year.

    Let’s hope he gets some big hits & doesn’t kill us.

  36. Stu,

    I understand it enough. The effect on a rightfielder moving to left is not that much in terms of UZR. A -20 UZR RF is not going to be even close to a +9 UZR LF. Hell, he wouldn’t even be a -15 UZR I’d imagine.

  37. Did we have a left fielder last year? I just remember a bunch of balls rolling to the wall, going over the wall, bouncing off the wall. I guess the wall was our left feilder.

  38. @36

    Why not compare them? I liked the Griffey “signing”, and I don’t like the Anderson signing, and here’s why. I mean, is this the hot stove or isn’t it?

  39. If you do understand the advanced defensive metrics of baseball, you are a HUGE nerd and I’d like for you to send me your lunch money ASAP.

  40. I enjoy fangraphs value ratings, so here:

    2008 Anderson: $8.0 million
    2008 Griffey: $0.7 million (according to my rough math, in LF he would be about $3 million)

    #50

    I’m far from an expert, but I understand it enough to make a judgment on a player and to compare players. But don’t worry, I’ll send you my lunch money when I master it.

  41. I’ve been as critical of Wren as anyone but when I saw Anderson’s numbers last year, I don’t get all the criticism.

    He’s platooning, hit .293, can still play OK defense and had 15 homers, which is just 12 less than OUR ENTIRE OUTFIELD IN 2008.

    I don’t get all the anger coming from Mac et all. $2.5 million for a one year deal and he showed last year he can still hit pretty good and hitting pretty good is far superior to Jeff Francouer and other current outfield options.

    I’m sorry…I know it’s not cool to say I like this move but I think it’s fine.

  42. Braves nation ‘wanted to see what Brandon Jones and Schaefer can do’.

    I’ll tell them. Suck.

  43. By the way, is everyone saying they’d be satisfied with .293/.338/.416 from their left fielder? Because if that’s true, okay, then.

    Oh, wait. That’s not what Anderson hit last year, that’s what Omar Infante hit. Anderson hit .293/.325/.433. Completely different, right?

  44. Infante: -3.3 UZR in left field last year. His .327 wOBA was 25 points better than in his career. Overall value: $5.2 million…way less than Anderson

  45. So the OF looks like this now:

    LF: G. Anderson/Diaz
    CF: J. Anderson/Infante, or Schafer everyday if the Braves decide he’s ready now
    RF: Francoeur
    5th OF: Blanco

    vs. RHP

    CF J. Anderson
    SS Escobar
    3B C. Jones
    C McCann
    LF G. Anderson
    1B Kotchman
    2B Johnson
    RF Francoeur

    vs. LHP

    SS Escobar
    CF Infante
    3B C. Jones
    C McCann
    LF Diaz
    1B Kotchman
    RF Francoeur
    2B Johnson

  46. So what you’re saying that Garret Anderson is a hugely valuable player because of his ability to play defense at the least valuable defensive position, and that he will continue to play defense at this level at 37 years old, coming off two years in which he actually played the field only half the time. Riiiiiiiiiight.

  47. And hopefully he doesn’t turn into Raul Mondesi II (or Brian Jordan II).

    Gosh, we haven’t had a good corner outfielder since JD Drew left.

  48. @59

    I was just thinking the same thing about Mondesi and Jordan. They had some good years and good streaks, but “streaks” is the key word.

  49. lol, I don’t think good should be in the same sentence with Mondesi and Jordan (second stint).

  50. Mac, You just got done basically saying that Infante is just as good at the plate as Anderson using one season of data on Infante (317 ABs). How is me referring to one season of fielding data any different?

  51. I don’t think that’s his point, Mike Clay. His point is that Anderson’s hitting statistics could be compared to a utility player.

  52. I’m not particularly thrilled. It seems Anderson is closer to being done than he is to really contributing.

    He’s not right handed and he doesn’t have much power. I’m not as worried about the former as the latter.

    Here’s to hoping it works out ok.

    Go Braves.

  53. But if we signed someone else named Anderson to play RF then that would at least be interesting. Chip could probably talk about it for hours.

  54. @#51

    The other yearly values for Garret:

    2002 – $10.6 (peak)
    2003 – $14.8 (peak)
    2004 – $4.0 (moved to CF, hitting falls off, defense roughly average considering the switch)
    2005 – $0.1 (collapse, below average hitting and defense)
    2006 – $0.3 (same)
    2007 – $5.4 (hitting rebounded, fielding below average)
    2008 – $8.0 (hitting fell back to average, fielding rebounded)

  55. Infante is likely going to see time in CF and possibly elsewhere… and he couldn’t possibly platoon with Diaz in LF. I’m also not sold that Infante would be able to stretch those numbers out over a full season. Anderson has put up eerily similar stats over the last four years… eventually he’ll fall off, but I see no reason to assume that’ll happen this year. Now if the rumors are true that we’re going to hand Garret the job full-time, I’d be disappointed, but I’ll withhold judgment until I know if that’s the case.

    @43: I’m glad that nobody uses secondary average as a catchall, but it was the only stat you listed in your argument, which had me worried. Here’s another stat: Runs Produced, 2008: Anderson 135 in 145 games, Griffey 120 in 143 games. Last three years: Anderson 397 in 394 games, Griffey 368 in 396 games. Of course Anderson had a somewhat cushier lineup, but the numbers are still significant (Griffey also had a friendlier home park.)

  56. Gadfly, those potential bonus monies to Glavine don’t just come from somewhere, they counts against the payroll. I do buy the opinion that Abreu may not want to come…which is hardly surprising. Who wants to join the Braves nowadays?

  57. I think Smitty’s right and that’s the bigger issue, but anyway he’s also right about his thoughts about the left fielders from last year @ 48.

  58. I wouldn’t have been upset if we didn’t sign Anderson, but the numbers seem to indicate that we are a slightly better team with him. You can talk about his regression since 2002 all you want, but all that matters is what he does in 2009. All of the projection systems seem to feel Anderson is about average at the plate and the recent fielding figures seem to indicate that he should be above average in the field. It’s $2.5 million, not the $8 million he was worth last season. I don’t think I have to go out on a limb to say he will outplay his contract.

    Just some random thoughts/responses…

  59. I don’t think this move will make or break the season. But I think it stands to be an upgrade over what we have for not too much cost so I can find no fault with Wren here.

    btw I don’t understand how it is that Infante is a possible back-up centre fielder. He looked horrible in left, surely he’s better suited to filling in the infield than centre.

  60. Only in the midst of a bunch of SABR geeks could someone actually say that Omar Infante was a preferable option to Garrett Anderson.

    Wow. Just wow.

  61. Damn.

    You spend the weekend getting blitzed at some Mardi Gras in Soulard of St. Louis (which is awesome. Highly recommended) and come back to this.

    I think if Anderson repeated his performance for last year, he’d probably be a marginal improvement over the current options. However, as Mac points out, dude is 37. If anything, he’ll be getting worse. I’m not really seeing the advantage over the current options. That being said, it should still be a marked improvement over last year. Whether it’s good enough to help us break into the post-season, I’m doubtful, but we’ll see

    I do agree with those who think we’d be better served to not sign him, Glav, or Ross and have picked up Abreu.

    In any case, outside a few backup/bullpen spots, looks like we’ve got a team.

  62. Have any of you ever heard of sample size? If Omar Infante had gotten 552 ABs I can GUARANTEE you he wouldn’t have hit .293 with 15 HR and 80 RBIs.

    Once those guys play a whole lot, they get exposed for what they are, AAAA players.

  63. If you had told me in October that we would sign Garrett Anderson, I would have said, “oh crap.” He is the exact type of player that Joe Simpson won’t shut up about it. How long do you think it will be before he calls him a Hall-of-Famer? I’m betting on the first inning of the first spring training game. But given the cheap price and that there is not that much out there, I think it’s a good move. He’s not my favorite type of player, but he’s not bad.

  64. Infante has hit .283/.327/.402 over the last three seasons. I think this is his level. Oh, and again, he’s entering his age 27 season.

    Everyone “knows” that Anderson is better than Infante, except for those nerds who actually look at what he’s done.

  65. #81 – exactly. Given what is left and the amount involved, I am not complaining too much. I am more upset with the fact that we keep having to settle on our third/fourth/fifth option…we all know Anderson isn’t the Braves’ first option.

  66. #82, Stats cloud the mind of most of these guys. They no longer trust their eyes or instincts or even common sense and default to a bunch of contrived stats that mean less than what they think. Either a player is good or they are not. Anderson is a good(I did not say great) player. Infante belongs in Richmond(on a contending team he would be,but we are not so his type are in Atlanta, now).

  67. IF Infante somehow got 600 MLB ABs in a season, I’d be willing to be a lot of money he’d regress to around .240 with 6-7 HR and maybe 50 RBI.

  68. Chief,

    Don’t get me wrong. I love advanced stats and I’ve been learning them everyday. That said, I agree that sometimes common sense is overlooked…maybe not here, but sometimes.

    Tomorrow, I’ll take a closer look at Infante to see if you are onto something, Mac. I don’t have time ATM.

  69. Here it is:
    vs Righthander

    J.Anderson-CF
    Escobar-SS
    C.Jones-3B
    G.Anderson-LF
    B.McCann-C
    J.Francour-RF
    K.Johnson-2B
    Kotchman-1B

    vs Lefthander

    Infante or J.Anderson -CF
    Escobar-SS
    C.Jones-3B
    G.Anderson-LF
    M.Diaz-1B
    B.McCann-C
    j.Francour-RF
    K.Johnson or Prado-2B

  70. Anderson’s defense was below average in LF 3 out of his past 4 years (per UZR). I’m not sure what a fair projection would be for this year, but I don’t think it’s any kind of a given that it will be above average.

    I’m also not sure who exactly to compare Anderson to. Diaz and Jones platooning would be pretty comparable to Anderson starting, IMO. I guess I would take a Diaz/Anderson platoon over Diaz/Jones, if Bobby can handle that (signs point to no). Diaz/Griffey I’d probably take, and Abreu and Burrell are yeses.

  71. Not to change the subject, but does anyone have any advice for my tax refund splurge: PS3 or Xbox 360?

  72. I’m not too excited about this signing. Anderson would be an okay addition if we had one other outfielder that was even decent. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Some have pointed out that he will be better than anyone we have – there are about 60 to 80 other ML outfielders who would be better than anyone we have – this ain’t saying much.

    The other problem I have is that there’s talk of playing Anderson everday and ditching a platoon. I think Diaz/Anderson will be much more effective than only Anderson.

  73. “Common sense” says that Anderson is really famous and thus a better player than Infante, who is a utility infielder who played left field because the left fielders sucked.

    Common sense, if that is common sense, is nonsense. My common sense tells me that the chances of a 37-year-old left fielder with a career on-base percentage thirteen points below the league helping a team win are pretty damned low. My common sense tells me that Garret Anderson is a poor man’s Brian Jordan.

    I’m looking at the stats not because stats are magic but because that’s what actually happened. But I guess what actually happened isn’t relevant.

    By the way, Infante was good enough to get 245 PA — including 53 at DH! — on a team that went to the freaking World Series two years ago. But I guess that means Gwinnett (not Richmond anymore) is a World Series team.

  74. Phillip, save the money and don’t spend it.

    Infante is a fine backup infielder who has no business to be in the outfield.

  75. @ #92 – xbox 360, unless you are in the market for blu-ray.

    Re: G. Anderson – I have been out of the loop a little lately, and went onto ESPN.com and saw that the Braves had “come to terms with Anderson”. I thought that was weird since I thought Josh Anderson was already under contract for this year. When I saw it was Garrett Anderson, I was ticked. I started complaining to my wife (who was busy reading a book, and obviously could not have cared less about it), and then I saw the terms, 1 year, 2.5 million, and thought “well, he’s already our best outfielder, and making less than Jeffy”. So, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I don’t hate the deal. I don’t think he’s a great player or anything, but it’s a low risk deal, and really for just peanuts in terms of cost.
    So, if you had asked me at the end of last season if I’d have been happy w/ Anderson in our outfield, I’d have had an emphatic “no” for you then. The way the offseason has played out, though, I’m ok with it…

  76. I like this option better than I thought that I might–after Burrell, Dunn, Abreu and Griffey Jr. went elsewhere it is easier to accept Garret Anderson–who will actually improve our terrible outfield.

    Two other points: the Braves are in the process of rebuilding and by signing Anderson we don’t have to overpay the Yankees (or some other team) with prospects. The Braves have great outfield prospects and so they needed a transition figure or two–and Anderson should fit the bill without being either expensive in terms of money and prospects.

    Second, it may not matter much, but Anderson is two and a half years younger than Griffey Jr. Despite his recent injuries, I think that his chance of playing 100 games are at least as great as Griffey Jr….

  77. #34

    I missed this earlier:

    As for the fact that there are better OFs in right, all positions are adjusted. UZR wouldn’t be a legit statistic if it let something like that effect it.

    There are two things you’re not taking into account — one because, well, you’re not taking it into account, and the other because UZR doesn’t measure it.

    1) When I say it’s significant that Griffey’s UZR was compiled as an RF and CF, it’s because for us he would have been moving to a much easier position AND because he would be measured against worse fielders — the same fielders that Anderson has been measured against and come up more or less average.

    2) UZR does not measure arm strength, and does not claim to. While Griffey has surely lost some arm strength, he used to have a cannon. Anderson has a wet noodle. Seriously, it’s bad. Wait until you see it.

    My final thought on the topic is that, if this is it, we’re sunk for ’09. We still have a clearly substandard outfield. Yeah, yeah, I’ll be pulling for them.

  78. KC–I like your posts on this thread.

    I would add that my biggest criticism of Wren is not that we wound up with Anderson, but that in addition to signing Ross (over using Sammons)to a generous package, overpaying Lowe (because of the way he mishandled Smoltz), saving money for Frenchy and then having to sign Glavine, the Braves probably did lose out on the chance to sign Abreu. Maybe he would not have come, but it would have been nice to have had the funds to be in chase.

    Having noted these reservations, despite the bumpy ride, Wren has significantly improved the team without trading away too many of our prospects. Spring training is looking more appealing than it did at the beginning of the year….

  79. 81 & 100 sum it up pretty well for me–ho hum signing but at a low price in dollars and at no cost of prospects

    on to spring training …

  80. Here’s what Garrett Anderson is: A LF that is slightly above replacement level. He doesn’t hit much better than our utility infielder (who is, incidentally, one of the best utility infielders in baseball), he’s an average fielder, he’s heavy in BA, light in OBA/SLG, he’s on the old side, and he’s pretty cheap.

    What does this all mean? It means that it’s not a big deal one way or the other. Anderson isn’t a great solution in LF, but he is a fairly good bet to at least let us keep our utility IF in the infield, and our pinch-hit corner guy on the bench from where he can pinch-hit. We don’t lose any draft pick, we don’t lose any prospects, we don’t lose much money. The OF still sucks for the most part, but now it’s less likely to be a complete black hole.

    So whatever. It would’ve been nice to convince someone else to play here. And the Anderson Boys won’t have the same cache the Jones Boys did. But even though the benefit here isn’t very great, I don’t think the cost is too great, either. So whatever. This deal falls squarely into the “not stupid” category. It’s fine.

    edit: No one thinks Anderson is league-average. Well, no one reasonable, anyways. More likely, they’re saying he’s better than weakening the bench by using a utility IF in LF.

  81. Does anyone understand the paragraph below from the Braves MLB site? Is this poor editing or is it a good thing that Anderson struck out 100 times one year?

    “I’ve always loved this guy,” Cox said. “He has one of the sweetest swings in baseball. He struck out 100 times one year. He’s the guy you want up there when the game is on the line. He’ll get you a hit. He uses all the fields.”

  82. LMAO. That was hilarious, td. I read it the same way you did.

    Mac,

    Like I said, I wasn’t saying you weren’t using common sense. I was making a generalization that sometimes statheads (which includes me) tend to focus too much on stats and too little on common sense sometimes.

    As for the Infante debate, I said I’d look into that more tomorrow and I’ll post further thoughts at that point.

  83. I don’t necessarily like this signing, but I also don’t think it is too bad. We signed him very cheap. I figure if we are still close at the trade deadline, Liberty might pony up the dough to get us that extra bat we need. We just need to keep in the race.

  84. “Stats cloud the mind of most of these guys. They no longer trust their eyes or instincts or even common sense and default to a bunch of contrived stats that mean less than what they think. Either a player is good or they are not. Anderson is a good(I did not say great) player. Infante belongs in Richmond(on a contending team he would be,but we are not so his type are in Atlanta, now).”

    It’s true. I used to have common sense, but then I started doing things like reading and thinking and employing different means to evaluate ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ and now I lack both sense and commonality. Tomorrow, when I provide my lecture, I should use intuition, not evidence. Evidence is for nerds.

  85. @72 (and I know I’m reaching here): Glavine’s bonus money is deferred (five years, from what I’ve heard.) It won’t factor into this year’s budget. I doubt Abreu would’ve gone for that sort of deal.

    @70: Oh right, I forgot, runs don’t mean anything in baseball… I always wondered why the scoreboard doesn’t have a place for secondary average, and OBP+.

  86. #117 – I hate deferred salaries. That’s exactly what’s wrong with the US economy…borrowing from the future.

  87. @118: Haha, yeah, I’m with you there. Though I have heard some interesting arguments in favor of deficit spending (too long-winded for this forum.)

    At least we don’t have to pay Glavine all up front, and hopefully the economy will be much better off in 5 years, and it won’t hurt our payroll when the bill comes due.

    Just curious. Does anyone know if deferred contracts generally/ever come with an agreed interest?

  88. @119 Ha, yeah, this is probably the wrong forum to talk about that!

    And yeah, usually there is an interest rate attached to those deferred payments, but the rate on each contract is different depending on the agreement between the team and the player (I have heard cases of interest-free before).

  89. If we ever get a Braves Journal HOF for comments, I hope Smitty gets in first. Recheck his post @50. And I’m dying to hear from his barber.

  90. @116

    Agreed. I guess we’ll just have to see — but Yunel was already supposedly very strong, it just hadn’t translated to home run power. He’s always been “sneaky big”, like Claudell Washington used to be.

    “Bulked up over the winter” has replaced “determined to steal more bases” as the spring training story you know is going to be written about somebody….

  91. #116, seemed to me he actually had the power last year. When he turned on the ball it flew out, but he concentrated so much on line drives that he didn’t get many homers.

    Maybe he just wants to see if he can break Kotchman’s hand with a throw.

  92. On an unlrealted note: how much better would the Braves pitcher’s stats be if they got to pitch to Franceour?

  93. ““All winter long I’ve read where we need a right-handed power bat,” he says. “I know where that big right-handed bat has been. It’s right here.””

    I suddenly feel extremely sick to my stomach.

  94. I was checking out Garrett’s career stats. He was very consistent at a high level from 2000-2003, and then very consistent at a mediocre level from 2004-2008.

    Without knowing anything else, I can’t help but wonder if his 2000-2003 performance was juiced, then 2004-2008 is the real Garrett Anderson.

  95. chief nocahoma,

    If you dislike “stat geeks” so much, why do you bother reading the site? Why don’t you go to other sites that use “common sense?” And the next time you get on a plane, don’t get on one that’s been designed using statistical analysis, get on one where the engineer has used “common sense.” We all know that common sense is much better than statistical analysis–except for scientists that debunk common sense and what the hell do they know anyway? All we really need to do is go watch a few games and that will tell us what we need to know. By the way, I saw Jeff Francouer hit two home runs in a game last year–no matter what his stats say, I think he’s a great player.

  96. God, why does every hitter think they need to “bulk up” to hit home runs? Aaron and Mays did ok without bulking up. Don’t these nitwits realize that home runs are a matter of technique?

  97. True or False?

    Jeffy: “I’m ready to get out in the games, see what happens,…I’m going to be a completely different player.”

  98. Nate, those numbers also happen to coincide with his peak age. He never seemed like a big roided-up guy to me, but appearances can be deceiving.

    @131 – Bravo, sir.

  99. @132, I thought about that too but the two separate, sustained plateaus of consistency on two separate levels seem to suggest otherwise. I’d think that if it was an age issue, we’d see more of a steady or continued decline.

  100. @127 — But people aren’t aerilons and turbojets. I think stats — including SABR stats — are very important and offer a lot of insight (and thus value). But too many of the stat heads end up ignoring the human element, just like too many of the old schoolers ignore stats. And on sites like this — full of people who have access to Baseball Prospectus but not to players and club officials — stats can be over-emphasized.

  101. @135,

    I don’t disagree with you but chief nocahoma seems to express contempt for every stat that he doesn’t agree with him and every attempt to analyze players that don’t involve “instinct and observation.” The fact is, the stats show what the stats show. Obviously, Garrett Anderson has been the much better player over the course of his career than Infante but that’s not necessarily relevent to his performance next year. And while I agree that “people aren’t aerilons and turbojets,” there have been many scientific studies that demonstrate how fallilble physical observation is. I’m not saying there’s no play for actually looking at a player, but instinct and common sense (especially when the observer doesn’t necessarily have any specialized skills in the area)aren’t an adequate substitute for relatively objective analysis.

  102. I’m going to be cheesed off if Ganderson goes against lefties and Diaz is relegated to largely a bench role. A) I like Diaz B) Would seem a horrible waste of strengths of having both on the team (few though they may be).

  103. Marc, your last point is indisputable — most (all?) of the folks chatting here have essentially no basis for pretending to have the experience and access to give meaningful opinions about player scouting. Sitting in the stands for a few games and watching a few more on tv does not qualify someone. And stats are democratic — anyone with internet access and the interest to learn can become relatively knowlegeable.

    But that’s not the point. While it’s definitionally correct that stats show what stats show, many folks incorrectly believe that stats “show” the things that they are used to evaluate and predict. On the contrary, stats are not objective measures of many things they are used to analyze. They are only measures of the specific events they quantify (e.g., # walks plus # hits per inning pitched), which leaves to interpretation what that data is actually measuring at a practical level and how useful it is in evaluating (much less predicting) a player’s performance. Moreover, the events themselves are often influenced by factors (even confounders) for which the stats do not control (e.g., many weather factors, whether a curveballer can influence his BABIP, etc.) and the measured events are often subjective (e.g., ball 4 v. called strike 3, error, etc.). For example, there’s no stat that measures what a scout can learn from observing changes in a player’s physical and mental training regimen. The person downloading the stats from BP has no access to information on these human factors and presumably wouldn’t weigh it even if he did.

    My point isn’t to slight the use of stats, it’s just to point out that there are also many studies showing how imprecise (and fallible) the use of statistics can be. There’s some truth to the folk wisdom that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. With statistics, just like old school scouting, the main fault with the tools lies in the fact that people have to use and interpret them.

  104. Is Stephen in the UAE around yet? I am going to Dubai Sunday for a trade show and wanted to get the lowdown.

  105. @ 137
    I don’t see it happening, our lineup is way too lefthanded as it is, I can’t see bobby or anybody else wasting an opportunity to put one of our two good right handed hitters into the lineup.

  106. I’ll just throw in my $0.02 and say that I’m okay with the Ganderson signing, and I think that it caps off a pretty good offseason for the Braves. Lowe and Javy Vazquez are both very good additions and, with Jurrjens, give us a darn good 1-2-3. The rest of the offseason was a lot like the Ganderson signing — Wren adding pieces that improve the team without giving up prospects (or parts like Esco and KJ) or even much money. Maybe I had too low expectations coming into the season, but we now have a team that can play with the Phillies and Mets in 2009 and we gave up essentially nothing to get there. Kawakami is the only signing that I really question (mainly because of the lack of ML track record for the years/money) but even that has a good potential upside.

    Mac, are you planning to post a poll for 2009 predictions? I’ll chime in that the Braves end up 85-77, 4.0 behind both the Phillies and the wild card, and 1.0 ahead of the Mets for second in the East. Most importantly, Chipper plays 135 games with 600 PAs. Lowe leads the team in wins with 17 and Huddy is back in the rotation by late July, early enough to get 10-12 starts with modest effectiveness.

    Call me an optimist.

  107. @139,

    Jeff K,

    Those are good points and I appreciate your pointing them out. I really agree with everything you said–I think that is sort of what I have always believed in sort of an inchoate fashion. My point really was that chief nocahoma seems to spend all of his time denigrating the use of stats (at least those he doesn’t like) in favor of his observation, which is often selective. I certainly agree that statistics (and observation) need to be integrated into a whole to do a proper evaluation of a player (or anything). But simply ignoring statistics as he seems to in favor of “common sense” and then attacking everyone that disagrees as “stat geeks” frankly pisses me off.

    There is nothing wrong with using instinct and observation as long as that observation is informed by actual empirical proof. For example, IMO, Bobby Cox, like most older managers, makes his tactical decisions based on his instinct and what he perceives to be his experience in the game. The problem is that the instinct is not based on any analytical framework. If I find statistically that bunting is generally a bad play, that doesn’t mean I should never bunt, because there are clearly times when I should. But it does mean, I think, that I should factor in this statistical analysis into my analytical framework rather than just relying on the fact that this is what I’ve done for the last forty years.

    In the case of Garrett Anderson, I don’t think that Mac was saying that Omar Infante is or has been a better player than Garret Anderson, only that their statistics were remarkably similar last year and that Anderson is a bad bet to improve. Obviously, we all remember Garrett Anderson as a pretty good player, in part because he is well known and we have seen him on TV a lot, but this memory likely distorts our perception of him now. His statistics show the kind of player he is now.

  108. Assuming that our front four starters are affective in 2009, we will be in position to upgrade our team dramatically via trade for the 2010 season. Let’s say Jurrjens puts up numbers similar to last seasons, Lowe does what he usually does, Vazquez bounces back and lowers his ERA, keeping his peripherals the same as they have been over the last several seasons and Kawakami emerges as a solid middle of the rotation starter. Then throw in a solid Campillo, a healthy Tim Hudson and an emerging Tommy Hanson, not to mention potential strides made at AAA by Morton, Reyes, Medlen and Parr… that leaves us with an absolute glut of starting pitching. We’re looking at 6 strong starting pitching candidates and 5 other potential starters, we can move two or three of these guys for some big time run producers and still have one of the best rotations in baseball, both in quality and in depth. I think things look good in 2009, we should be a frontrunner for the wildcard and a contender for the division, however 2010 will undoubtedly be something special.

  109. @126: Haha, you noticed that too, eh? Yeah, 2004 turns out to be a magic year for lots of people.

    @142: Diaz couldn’t play RF if his life depended on it. I love the guy, but defense is not one of his strengths.

    @129: Context? I gave you context. You can’t just dismiss stats you don’t like. Runs Produced, in my opinion, is basically the batter’s equivalent to Wins for a pitcher (though due to a larger sample size RP tends to have less static.) You’re going to get some anomalies, of course, but if a guy wins 20 games you take notice, even if it is Cliff Lee. If a guy produces a run a game, it might mean something too. I’ll admit it isn’t as good a predictor of future ability as some more SABR-friendly stats, but it definitely is a good illustration of past success.

  110. 149—Wrong again, other than the point about Runs Produced being comparable to Wins. That’s true; they’re both pretty worthless.

    Runs produced, like wins, tells you as much about the player’s team as it does about the player. It tells you that the player came up in a lot of RBI situations, or that the player had guys behind him drive him home. Sure, it also tells you that the guy came through X number of times, but it tells you nothing about the number of opportunities he had or how his conversion % relates to those of other players in the lineup or the league as a whole.

    If you’re not taking the context of those produced runs into account, you’re not learning or describing anything remotely helpful.

    Knowing what your response will be, I don’t know why I continue to waste my time. Maybe I’ll learn eventually.

  111. On Vazquez, I hadn’t realized until recently that he’d be pitching in the WBC. I’m now decidedly less optimistic about his performance this season. I mean, I think he’ll be good, but I’ve been predicting an All-Star-type performance, and I no longer think that’s very likely.

    I hate the WBC.

  112. Elaborating on my comments from 148, if Hanson proves ML capable and dominant in June, maybe we will trade one of our starters at the deadline for a bat at the trade deadline, a move that could put us over the top as a playoff and even WS favorite.

  113. Marc, I think we’re in heated agreement. But I also think that Anderson’s (and Infante’s) statistics show the kind of player they were LAST year. Infante, for example, added 20/30/60 points to BA/OBP/SLG over 2007. His BB rate was up a lot and SO down. Maybe the move to the NL really helped him and it could stick, but I don’t think so. Either way, I think he’s better as an INF instead of an OF. Especially if Chipper doesn’t really get 600 PAs as I hope.

    Anderson may not SLG in the .500s and have an OPS approaching .900 anymore, but he probably will also benefit from the change in leagues. His most smiliar player is Paul O’Neill who played reasonably well into his final season at age 38. Most similar through age 36 is Dave Parker who played until 40 with an OPS of about .725-.790 during that time and averaging about 25 HRs and 85+ RBI a season during that time. I don’t imagine Anderson will hit anywhere near 25 HR again, but 15-18 HR will be just fine especially platooning. That’s 50% more than Infante has averaged per 162 games played (averaging 524 ABs).

  114. nice link mikemc. Niekro was one of my favorites as a young boy. I don’t recall when I first saw him pitch (I was born in ’75 and we moved to Atlanta in 79 or 80… so I had to have been 6 or 7), but I recall being wowed by how different it was.

  115. I think gadfly is really an alter ego of Mac. Sort of a “Bizarro Mac” designed to entertain us.

    Nevertheless, I have been baited.

    Gadfly, you support powers of observation, but if they aren’t yours, they apparently aren’t important. In 2006 and 2007, Diaz graded as one of the (maybe THE) best left fielder in the + / – system. That system has PRFESSIONAL SCOUTS review tape of every play by every player all year long to decide if he SHOULD have gotten it. Then, they compare that to average and come up with a number of plays above (+) or below(-) average. It is also a rate stat (like wins, runs produced, home runs, etc.) in that the more you play the greater the plus can be. But, Diaz was barely more than a half time player in both years combined.

    Diaz” throwing arm makes him an unlikely candidate for right. His range is better than Francoeur by far.

  116. Anderson may not SLG in the .500s and have an OPS approaching .900 anymore

    Considering he’s only done the former three times over a season in 15years, and only gotten within the 25 points of the latter once, I’d say that’s the understatement of the year.

  117. I remain unconvinced that he’ll platoon 70/30, even if he should. Given our production in LF last year, this was a great opportunity to improve the team leaps and bounds, but I think we only improved a moderate amount.

    Also:

    Garret Anderson, Games played in the field:

    2003: 144
    2004: 94
    2005: 106
    2006: 94
    2007: 85
    2008: 82

    GA hasn’t been an everyday starter in the OF since 2003 (also the last year of his peak). Note that these numbers don’t mean that he couldn’t have played more games in the OF instead of at DH, or that the Angels thought poorly of his defense or durability, but they aren’t inspiring either. Come on, platoon.

  118. All we are saying
    Is give Matt a chance

    Totally Off-Topic: has anyone heard how Andruw looks? Just saw another picture of the Bacon Explosion and #25 just popped into my head.

  119. Spike —

    Four times in his career (1995, 2000, 2002, and 2003) and almost again (.492) in 2007. Career high OPS .886 in 2003, sixth best season in 2007 at .828. Infante’s season high is .777 for 75 PAs his rookie season. Never exceeding .766 after that time with a career average of .695. I like Infante (as an INF) but think the comparisons are over-weighting Infante’s first (and only) year in the NL.

  120. CharlesP,

    O.M.G.

    That is disgusting – yet strangely alluring.

    I feel like Odysseus: “Tie me to the mast, boys, tie me to the mast!”

  121. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us”.

    I’m pretty sure bacon is proof that Satan hates us and wants us to die prematurely.

  122. Look, the issue here is that last year’s outfield was such an uncontrollable grease fire that we just couldn’t go into this season with the same outfield. We just couldn’t. While Garret Anderson isn’t going to single-handedly save the outfield, he is a veteran presence who has been on winning teams, which frankly is something we needed. When Mark Kotsay left last year, things out there got really bad, really fast.

    I also think that the only difference between Anderson and Griffey is the name at this point. Griffey’s obviously had the better overall career, but if you were in favor of bringing Ken Griffey in, I don’t know how you can be staunchly opposed to bringing in Garret Anderson (and vice versa BTW, because there were some people on that line of argument last week). Griffey is just as likely to be finished as Anderson is at this point, and has the injury issue to boot, which Anderson hasn’t seemed to have as much of. I also find it a little funny that the whole “we need a right-handed bat, left-handed won’t do” is cropping back up with Anderson, but I didn’t hear it once last week about Griffey.

    On the subject of giving the youngsters a chance, we did…all last year. And they sucked. I think we need some cover this year. We still have CF, which will be a youngster-patrolled position. Brandon Jones had more than enough chances last year. He absolutely cannot be a starting LF this year, not to begin with anyway.

    And as far as giving Diaz a chance goes, fine…we can give him a chance. And we’re going to give him a chance, don’t worry. But aren’t we forgetting that he really wasn’t playing that well last year up to the point when he got hurt? Wasn’t it generally understood that his 2007 was probably somewhat flukish? And given that he was injured for most of last year, how can we possibly assume anything from him? In my opinion, anyone who’s expecting a return to 2007 form (when he really should have been our everyday LF instead of platooning) is nuts. He may come back and prove to be a decent righty platoon member, but he could just as easily come back and just be finished. And frankly, I think it’s about 50-50 as to which happens. 55-45 his favor, at best.

    So the point is, we need cover for him, Brandon Jones cannot be that cover right now, Gregor Blanco really is more of a CF (and frankly, I’m really not the biggest fan of his…if he is DFAd, it won’t bother me one bit), and we needed a veteran OF anyway. I really don’t see the problem. Would I have rather had Nady? Yes. Would I have rather had Swisher? Closer, but still yes. I really don’t think there’s any difference between Anderson and Griffey, though, at this point. I really don’t see the problem here.

    Edit: Oh, and I almost forgot: Isn’t using Infante as the example of why we shouldn’t sign Anderson a little silly when you’ve repeatedly said that Infante’s numbers aren’t sustainable?

  123. Jeff –

    1995 was not a full season, which I noted in my post, but whatever. The point is he has never been a .500 slugger or had OPS approaching .900 with any regularity, which is what you were implying, be it 3 or 4 out of 15. But suit yourself. If you want to think of him as an aging “slugger” with a little something left in the tank, feel free. He is an adequate, average or a bit below OF with skills that could drop off at any minute. Having thought about it ovenight, I guess i am more keenly disappointed than pissed. 9M dollars for two vanity signings and a backup catcher – I was hoping for a bit more creativity than that.

  124. Oh, one of my friends made the bacon explosion for Super Bowl sunday and it reportedly came out delicious.

  125. In fairness to Garret, we had almost no one last year whom we could count on for even so much as a .700 OPS. He’s guaranteed for .700. That sucks, but I suppose that it’s not quite as catastrophic as before. He gives us a floor of suckitude, while last year’s suck was bottomless.

  126. Nick,
    Diaz had a relatively similar line in 2006 as he had in 2007 and I don’t believe it was thought 2007 was flukish. There is a chance he had been figured out, though he hit over .310 in April and it was really just may that he tanked (and tanked spectacularly mind you). Now I don’t think hedging the bet by bringing in Ganderson is the worst thing in the world, but I also don’t want to see Matty warming the bench all season long.

  127. Bravos out of options:

    J Anderson, OF
    B Boyer, RH
    M Gonzalez LH
    D Lowe RH
    A LeRew RH
    G Norton util
    D Ross C
    R Soriano RH
    P Stockman RH

    Outside of Lerew, does anyone think one of these players won’t make the club?

    The only bubble guy IMO, is Stockman, but I think a job is his to lose

    AAR,

    That’s fairly close to how I feel. Ganderson is a security blanket. In any case, we’ve definitely spent 2.5 MM much more foolishly in the past

  128. A) Ganderson was the worst of the available options this off-season. The worst. Period. Can’t hit. Can’t field. Wrong-handed. Old.

    B) During the time frame when we’ve been running the Three Stooges in the outfield, the Washington freakin’ Nationals have added Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn, any of whom is better than anyone we have scheduled to walk the outfield in Atlanta this year.

    In other words, we’re getting our tails handed to us by Segway Bowden.

    I officially pan this signing. Pan! Ridiculous.

    If you want to say that Milledge and Dukes (maybe Dunn) aren’t Bobby Cox guys, well.., but what about Josh Willingham? What, we couldn’t top Emilio Bonafacio The Great and a bag of potatoes? (Note: the deal also netted P Scott Olsen, another fool kid, but a reasonable back of the rotation starter, 4.20 ERA, 1.31 WHIP in 200 IP last year)

    When the best that we can say is that we had crap before and this is a different grade of crap, so it could, maybe, in a platoon be better than disastrous. Ugh.

  129. Out of LF, we may get 20 HRs & about 45 BBs.

    If we ever have Diaz/Anderson & Frenchy hitting back-to-back, that’s gonna make for some quick innings.

  130. Cary – When you contemplate cost-benefit, Ganderson was far from the worst available option.

    174 – Part B, though. Very good point.

  131. #150 Thanks for the “heads up” on the Niekro article. I remember those days too well. I lived in central Pa. and the pain of loving the Braves and Hank Aaron around all my friends who were Pirate fans was almost too much!

  132. 173 –
    I expect we will carry Gonzalez, Campillo, Soriano, Moylan, and Boyer, all righties except Gonzalez.

    Carlyle, Acosta, Bennett, and Stockman are all righties. We can carry only 1 of these guys if we carry a LOOGY. Looks like that is Stockman’s competition.

  133. Meanwhile, did anyone see this from Baseball Analysts (article today on arb settlements)?

    Francoeur and the Braves agreed to a salary that was exactly in the middle of the figures that were exchanged ($3.95M and $2.8M). He has the worst OBP and OPS+ of them all despite manning a corner outfield position. He is the second-youngest player in the group but that is neither here nor there when it comes to salary arbitration. He is one of the most overrated players in baseball and his contract is a huge win for him and a disservice to the arbitration process.

    Kelly Johnson and the Braves met at the halfway point of their submissions ($3.3M and $2.35M, respectively). The second baseman can earn $50,000 if he reaches 620 PA and another $25,000 for 670 PA. At best, Johnson can make $2.9M, which would be the second-lowest agreed-upon salary in this group. I believe this deal is the opposite of Francoeur’s — a good one for the team and a bad one for the player. If anything, this contract is another in a long line of examples where second basemen are treated unfairly by the system.

  134. If you would have told me that in this offseason we would add Lowe, Vazquez, a potential 3/4 starter in a foreign import and a solid backup catcher I would have been quite satisfied.
    Yet, the way all of the other deals went down clouds my judgement.
    We are a better team than year, we did not mortgage the future for quick fixes, we did not make any ridiculous contractual commitments, but it seems we missed the boat a few times. I will still give Wren another full season before i destroy him, but he better not get played again or even look like a fool again anytime soon because it will be bad for the organization.

    Cant wait for the season to get rolling, this winter has been a bear and wont go away.

  135. From Peanut:
    “Because he’s out of options and capable of providing much-needed speed, John Anderson will likely begin the season as Atlanta’s starting center fielder”

    Um, John Anderson? He’s not even important enough to get his name correct. This is why I want Jordan Schafer.

  136. Jeff k,

    I agree we are in general agreement. I don’t even necessarily disagree on Anderson–I just don’t know. I hope you are right.

  137. 182 – I agree. I give Wren a “B” on the offseason, maybe even a “B+.”

    The only way we would have gotten what we needed in LF this offseason (Power from the right side) is if we got Manny or Maggs. That wasn’t going to happen.

    At least, we are not committed to some less-than-ideal solution for many years or at the cost of any prospects.

    I think Wren treated this offseason as he should have, as step one in 2+ year rebuilding program. He did more than I expected him to do and only paying Lowe or losing Flowers could hurt us in the long run.

    We have a chance to compete, but not at the cost of 2010 or 2011 when we really have a chance to compete.

  138. @156: I understand and agree pretty much 100%. I probably didn’t do a good job elaborating my opinion. Compared to left fielders around the league I like Diaz out there, but his arm just isn’t up to rightfield standards on a daily basis. It is hard to compare range between those two last year, because Diaz hardly played, and Jeff was in a different shape than he reportedly is this year or previous to ’07. I’d imagine Diaz wasn’t “way” better than Jeff in ’07 though.

    @174: Neither Milledge or Dukes have proven anything that Francoeur hasn’t matched, and both have more baggage that comes with them. Willingham’s legitimate, but I’d imagine the Marlins would prefer not to deal legitimate players to their closest division rival.

    @151: What sort of context do you want? I’ll admit I’m more confident in assessing Francoeur’s 2007 RP numbers than I am with Garret or Griffey’s, because I watched Jeff play. However, for two players I am pretty familiar with, over an entire season or three, I have decent confidence in the significance of production. I wouldn’t use that as the final word, but you can’t dismiss it offhand, without providing any evidence. (Was that what you thought I’d say?)

  139. No way, AAR. Something good has to come out of the Garret and Josh Anderson eras, and it almost certainly won’t be their production.

    Ganderson and Janderson—pure awesomeness, url.

  140. 189—I can and will dismiss it offhand, because it’s meaningless. If you can present us with some relative measure of run production—you know, where opportunities are taken into account along with successes, and where that result is then compared with other hitters around the league—then it will have some legitimate meaning and I won’t dismiss it offhand. The burden is on you to prove that your stat isn’t worthless, and without providing any context, you can’t do it.

  141. What are you arguing Stu? Are you just taking me to task on my statistics, or were you making a statement about the wider Garret v. Griffey conversation?

    If you want to dismiss my numbers that is totally your prerogative, misguided as it may be. What I’ve given isn’t a finished analysis by any means, but you haven’t pointed to any alternatives that I’m aware of. If you want to take opportunities into account you can always go with RP/G, RP/AB, or RP/Out. Here’s Griffey/Garret ’08 respectively: 0.84/0.93, .245/.242, .311/.325. Last three years: 0.93/1.01, .254/.262, .326/.352 (they’ve actually created the exact same amount of outs over the last three years!?! 1128, Weird.)

    With one small equation (RBI+RS-HR)/G, AB, or Outs, and a little bit of effort you can compare any players throughout the league. Here’s a few others (RP/Outs over the last three years):

    Abreu .435
    Dunn .365
    G. Anderson .352
    Swisher .344
    Nady .328
    Griffey .326
    Edmonds .323
    Francoeur .312 (from ’05-’07 its .342)
    Diaz .276 (in a much smaller sample size)

    Of course there are still contextual differences (batting order, stadium, weather, etc etc.,) but these muddy up most stats. That’s why I also like to look at splits, the only stats that control for context. Garret had a few interesting ones last year: .362/.395/.549 in 258 PA with men on base; .358/.354/.556 in 82 PAs swinging at the first pitch; .324/.390/.509 in 251 PAs after a first pitch ball; .375/.563/.607 in 80 PAs after an 2-0 count, and .374/.420/.505 in 100 PAs after a 2-1 count.

  142. Run Production is not a good statistic, Gadfly. It is heavily dependent on RBIs. It’s completely dependent on the players batting in front of him. For example, let’s say we’re analyzing Jeff Francoeur. If you’re attempting to measure Francoeur’s ability, you wouldn’t use a statistic that measures something that is dependent on other players .

    Do you think that Francoeur would have the same amount of RBIs batting 9th as he would batting 5th? No. But that doesn’t change his ability.

  143. Gadfly – It’s this simple – you are using stats that are dependent on other players on the team, making a poor metric of comparison for players.

    Everyone on here is telling you that.

    Stop using RP or RC unless you can divide it by opportunities. RBI/LOB, or something.

    The rate stats for Ganderson are okay. I am amazed at the MOB stat. Was he really that much better with men on?

  144. After taking a longer look at Garret’s splits, I’m wondering if he doesn’t make much more sense in the 2nd spot in the order. Something like:

    vRHP
    1-J. Anderson CF
    2-G. Anderson LF
    3-C. Jones 3B
    4-B. McCann C
    5-“The New Ripped” Yunel Escobar SS
    6-C. Kotchman 1B
    7-J. Francoeur RF
    8-K. Johnson 2B

    If Francoeur bounces back to 2007 form I’d move Yunel to leadoff, and order 5-8: Kotchman, Francoeur, Johnson, J. Anderson. (Unless Anderson or Schafer really impress early on.)

    vLHP
    1-K. Johnson 2B
    2-G. Anderson CF (a man can dream)
    3-C. Jones 3B
    4-M. Diaz LF
    5-B. McCann C
    6-Y. Escobar SS
    7-C. Kotchman 1B
    8-J. Francoeur RF

    I doubt Garret can still play CF even just every 5th day or so, but this lineup would kick ass if he can. Without Garret, I’d put Infante in center. 4, 6, and 8 might shake out different after spring training, and Yunel might move to leadoff if Kelly can’t figure out how to leadoff a game, but I ordered them based on last year’s performance vLHP.

  145. If it were my choice, I wouldn’t bat either Anderson high in the order. (Though I figure Bobby will bat Janderson leadoff most of the time.) You need your first two batters to have high OBPs.

    They don’t get on base enough for Chipper and McCann. There won’t be as many “run production” opportunities.

  146. I’d leadoff KJ. I know he doesn’t like it, but he’s the best we’ve got. Lineup against righties:

    KJ
    Ganderson
    Chipper
    McCann
    Yunel
    Kotchman
    Jeffy
    Janderson

  147. Dead cat bounce – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Dead cat bounce

    A dead cat bounce is a figurative term used by traders in the finance industry to describe a pattern wherein a spectacular decline in the price of a stock is immediately followed by a moderate and temporary rise before resuming its downward movement, with the connotation that the rise was not an indication of improving circumstances in the fundamentals of the stock. It is derived from the notion that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height”.

  148. Mac, we know all too well that Bobby will put Yunel in that 2 spot.

    Dead cat bounce…I love that…awesome. Btw, maybe I have missed it, but what’s up with the “Tokyo Storm Warning”?

  149. @193: Just point of fact, RP is dependent on RBIs and RS, so it is as much the people behind you in the order as it is the people in front of you. From my experience, in line with the traditional approach to baseball, most statistics are dependent on circumstance. Some players are going to have an advantage in Avg., OBP, Slug%, etc., if Babe Ruth is batting behind them, and Ty Cobb and Pete Rose are setting their table. Statistical comparisons are never going to be able to escape this, and it is the job of the interpreter to put weight on these various factors, and filter them out as best s/he can. I never said the numbers I quoted prove Garret is better than Griffey, only that they are in the same neighborhood, and if you were happy about Griffey at $4.5 million, I don’t understand doom and gloom with Garret at $2.5.

    @194: I was floored by Garret’s MOB split too. Let’s hope he keeps that up. He does have a career .312/.349/.497 MOB line, compared to .283/.307/.443 with the bases empty. Interesting.

    I would love access to a more comprehensive set of statistics. Sadly I don’t have the time to track them all down, or chart them out, but if you have any sources you can share I’m certainly open to looking at a RP/LOB metric. It still wouldn’t account for runner’s ability, and it increases the weight of RS in the equation, but it is worth a look.

    In the little time I have to devote to this tonight. 2008 RP/LOB:

    Griffey .594
    G. Anderson .625
    Francoeur ’07 .588 (just for kicks)
    Swisher ’06 .654 (inflated heavily by RS)

    I got the LOB figures by subtracting Hs from ABs for each split, multiplying by the number of runners on, and totaling the products. This penalizes SFs and FCs that result in RBIs, however, but that might be justified, and FC data is hard to come by. It also doesn’t account for the difference between a runner on 1st, and a runner on 2nd, or 3rd.

    After looking at the first few applications, Swisher especially, I’m thinking RS is making too much of an impact, so what if we just look at RBI/LOB:

    Griffey .351
    G. Anderson .389
    Francoeur ’07 .363
    Swisher ’06 .374

    If you drop out RBIs from HRs the numbers get much worse for Griffey (and Swisher):

    Griffey .262
    G. Anderson .319
    Francoeur ’07 .298
    Swisher ’06 .236

    These are the sort of contortions you can do with raw data, which is what production statistics are. Don’t dismiss them, explore them.

  150. I’d be cool with a different nickname, but I can’t think of any. He doesn’t really inspire much in the way of nicknames. Perhaps that in itself could be the inspiration somehow?

    Edit: Actually, Garret “No Nickname” Anderson makes me laugh, but I doubt it would catch on….

  151. How about Garret “Gad” Anderson and Josh “Fly” Anderson? We could refer to them collectively. Examples:

    “Man, GadFly sucks.”

    “Does anyone think we were better off without GadFly?”

    “GadFly needs to stop being so strangely cocky about the meaningless statistics he cites on Braves Journal. He could stand to learn from the 99% of educated Braves Journal commenters who back up their arguments with facts and logic.”

  152. More accurately, let’s refer to him as “Poor Man’s Griffey” or more succinctly, “Poor Man’s Jr”

  153. In case it wasn’t clear, that was in jest. I’ve officially given up on trying to persuade G-money of anything, but I don’t actually dislike him.

  154. @214:Wow, and this is the guy who was calling me a troll?

    When did you ever support an argument with facts or logic, Stu?

    At least not during this discussion. I wrote a thoughtful, fact-based response to your harangues, and all I get back are juvenile ad hominem attacks. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m the optimistic sort.

    @201: I wouldn’t argue with trying that, but Kelly’s leading off a game stats are atrocious (in 107 Games: .204/.271/.337,) and his splits against RHP aren’t any more encouraging (.265/.355/.449 career.) Hopefully its just an anomaly, and will even out with time. I’d also like to see a base stealer at the top of our order for once, and with Garret behind him I think we could do some interesting things with Josh.

    @202: I could see that flip-flop, but Casey would have to prove to me that his ’07 OBP is more legit than his ’08. Garret’s also more likely to get the intangibles right at this stage of his career, take a pitch to let Josh steal, or give himself up to hit behind the runner.

  155. A friend of mine and I started calling J. Anderson ‘Mr. Anderson’ which then turned into Neo. I say we go with that.

  156. Assuming Josh makes the team, Ganderson and Janderson is fantastic. Everything else sounds overly contrived.

    I’m sticking with it. If Josh is cut, maybe reconsider.

    Otherwise, its definitely a money line

  157. @223: I thought that was you, but it looks like I was mistaken. Sorry about that.

    Still wondering if you’re ever going to make a case, or support it with non-“meaningless” statistics though.

  158. What exactly am I supposed to be supporting? I’ve already pointed out more than once why runs produced doesn’t tell us anything, which was the only reason I originally responded, IIRC.

  159. Alright, that’s what I was getting at. It was unclear to me if you were just taking pot shots at my facts, or if you were making a point on the Griffey vs. Garret discussion.

    I don’t understand why you’d feel the need to interject yourself into a conversation only to point out what I’ve already stated: that Runs Produced aren’t meant to be a final analysis.

    RP is a starting point. If someone’s other numbers suggest their RP are inflated or deflated, then you can often find the underlying reason for this. You shouldn’t just dismiss it a priori. On first glance, I noticed Garret’s RP was well above Griffey’s (135 to 120,) this raises a flag, and invites further inquiry. On deeper inspection I still don’t see enough evidence to discount the significance of that difference, and can conclude that Garret’s production in ’08 was at least in the same ballpark as Griffey’s. If you can provide some details I’ve missed I’d be glad to consider them, but until then I have little use for your pig-headed dismissal of facts.

  160. Ganderson and Janderson work well enough, I guess. But I still maintain that Boone Logan should be referred to as Logan Boone. Either that or “Comma”.

  161. I looked under the Statue of Liberty’s dress, and she’s got a dong! That ain’t no lady! That’s a hippie transexualite!

    Hahaha… I love that Rocker sketch.

  162. Okay, putting the two guys with the lowest OBAs on the team (non-Francoeur division) in the top two spots of the lineup is asinine. Here’s my take on a lineup against RHP:

    J. Anderson
    Y. Escobar
    C. Jones
    B. McCann
    K. Johnson
    K. Kotchman
    G. Anderson
    J. Francoeur

    Anderson has done very well against RHP in the past, and with his speed, I’d love to see him at the top of the lineup. Escobar’s got a reverse split, so hitting him second seems like the right way to go here. As far as I’m concerned, you can flip KJ and Kotchman as you like. They’re very similar. An argument can be made for Frenchy 7th to give some modest protection against a LOOGY, but I don’t think it’ll matter all that much.

    Also of note: this lineup is really going to struggle against LHP again this year. Just about everyone in that lineup’s OPS drops when a southpaw is on the mound, most of them by 50+ points. Even Chipper and Escobar do better against righties. How well we do against lefties will be almost entirely determined by Francoeur and Diaz. They either bounce back or we have a AAA offense every time a left handed pitcher takes the mound.

  163. @232: Josh Anderson’s .338 OBP last year doesn’t help his case, but I like his splits, and at this point I’d rather try Kelly leading off against only LHP to see if his previous performance leading off games is just a fluke. He’s also got a reverse split working, btw.

    Garret Anderson looks like a surefire 2-hole hitter to me though. He’s a veteran who knows how to do the little things. With a speedster at the top of the order it would certainly help to have a guy who isn’t going to shy away from taking a pitch, or giving himself up to hit behind the runner (which Garret could do much more readily than Esco.) Also Esco in the 5-hole breaks up the big lefthanded lumber in the middle of the order, and injects a little bit of speed on the bases in front of the back end. Garret may not draw an immense number of walks, but according to his splits he does see a good number of pitches, which is ideal for a 2-hole hitter.

    Also, just a point of fact the worst two OBP after Francoeur are Garret (.325 last year, .327 career) and Kotchman (.328 last year, .336 career) not Kelly (.349 last year, .356 career.)

  164. In 22 games (94 PAs) in the 2nd spot of the lineup last year Garret posted a line of .344/.372/.467… small sample size, but impressive nonetheless. Batting in front of Chipper should be pretty similar to batting in front of Teixeira.

  165. Just point of fact, RP is dependent on RBIs and RS, so it is as much the people behind you in the order as it is the people in front of you.

    I agree with this.

    From my experience, in line with the traditional approach to baseball, most statistics are dependent on circumstance. Some players are going to have an advantage in Avg., OBP, Slug%, etc., if Babe Ruth is batting behind them, and Ty Cobb and Pete Rose are setting their table.

    This may be slightly true, though BA, OBP, and SLG are a whole lot less dependent on teammates than RS and RBI. JC Bradbury has done some pretty good work on what he calls the myth of protection — a monster batting behind you is not necessarily going to make you a much better hitter — but there’s no doubt that if a guy like Barry Bonds is getting on base half the time in front of you in the lineup, you’ll see better pitches because pitchers tend to pitch worse with men on base.

    Statistical comparisons are never going to be able to escape this, and it is the job of the interpreter to put weight on these various factors, and filter them out as best s/he can.

    This may be strictly true — there will never be a perfect stat — but I absolutely disagree with the implications. You seem to be throwing up your hands and saying, well, all stats are imperfect, so I’ll use this one. We’re telling you, no, that stat is really not that useful, you should use others. You seem to be arguing that all stats are equally meaningless. I disagree.

  166. There were only five AL players who saw fewer pitches per plate appearance than Ganderson last year. In the NL, he’d have finished third-to-last, behind even Francoeur and Escobar. And he hasn’t recorded a sacrifice hit since the Clinton administration. If you want him to bat second, that’s fine, but in fact he does none of the “little things” that people fetishize about #2 hitters.

  167. I don’t either, but #233 is claiming that Ganderson can be a prototypical #2 hitter. I’m trying to show that he’s the opposite of one.

    Garret may not draw an immense number of walks, but according to his splits he does see a good number of pitches, which is ideal for a 2-hole hitter.

    This is not even a matter of dueling statistics. It’s looking at a specific stat (pitches per plate appearance) and making the exact opposite judgment of what the stat indicates. This is like making Rickie Weeks your early favorite to win the batting title, or putting on long underwear because it’s summertime in Miami.

  168. Can we trade Janderson and Ganderson for Granderson?

    Kinda gotta admire Gadfly’s perseverance. Reminds me of SpongeBob. And, Stu, that GadFly routine was priceless.

    And I’m intrigued by Gadfly’s (the real one) suggestion of putting Esco in the 5th spot.

    And I think I like Kelly at #7.

  169. We have Anderson, so I guess that means Bobby will use him. Maybe this isn’t so terrible. We will see.

    Against righthanders:

    KJ
    Esco
    Chip
    G Anderson
    McCann
    Kothcman
    Francoeur
    CF
    pitcher

    Against lefthanders:
    ESCO
    KJ
    Chip
    Diaz
    McCann
    Francoeur
    Kotchman
    CF
    Pitcher

    Wouldn’t it have looked a lot better like this?

    against righthanders:

    KJ
    Esco
    Chip
    Edmonds (CF)
    McCann
    Diaz
    Kotchman
    Francoeur
    Pitcher

    and agaisnt lefthanders:

    Esco
    KJ
    Chip
    Diaz
    McCann
    Francoeur
    Kotchman
    4th OF playing center
    Pitcher

    The big loss in taking Anderson is he has NO business in right with his noodle arm. Really, Diaz doesn’t either. Junior and Edmonds gave you potential to work the platoon in right if Francouer of 2008 is still around. Edmonds also gave you a passable centerfielder to get some pop from if the light hitters (Blanco and Janderson) continue with 700 OPS or so while Francoeur has a slight rebound.

  170. I still say Josh Anderson needs to lead off against RHPs. His ML splits are very, very good against them (although sample size is certainly an issue), and his minor league splits back this up to an extent.

    The trap we want to avoid is leading J. Anderson off against lefties, against whom he fairs much more poorly.

  171. When I was scrolling through and saw references to “Ganderson”, I thought the Braves had somehow gotten Granderson, which would have been great. Be careful, I’m too old to get excited like that. :)

    Gadfly,

    It is very true that all stats are contextual. However, things like RBIs (and by extension RC) are more contextual than others. If I come up three times with the bases loaded because the guys ahead of me are able to get on base and hit three weak ground balls that score runs, I get three RBIs. If another guy comes up three times with no one on base and hits two home runs, he gets two RBIs. (Conversely, if I come up with the bases loaded and no outs and hit a shot that is turned into a DP, I get no RBI, which makes no sense to me.) Who is the more productive hitter? Now, granted, depending on the situation, you might argue that a ground ball that gets a run in is just as important as the home run, but no one goes up trying to hit a weak ground ball. I would love to see a statistic (which others have alluded to) that relates RBIs to opportunities; eg, ratio of RBIs to number of runners on base, etc. To me, this would make this a much more valuable statistic. Another problem with RBIs is that it understates the value of guys that take walks. For example, if you look at Mickey Mantle’s career, he only drove in 100 runs a few times; yet his OBP was very high, suggesting that pitchers pitched carefully to him or that he was very selective. (Unless you want to say that it somehow shows he wasn’t a “clutch” hitter.) If you only looked at RBIs, there would probably be a lot of inferior players that would look better than Mantle. Another problem with RBIs (and to some extent home runs) is that they are often cheap numbers; ie, if you drive in 6 runs in a game the team wins 15-1, that runs up the RBI total even though they may be meaningless runs.

    Although I know we are not talking about Francoeur right at this moment, that’s the problem with focusing on his 2006-2007 RBIs. You just don’t know what it means and, especially today, driving in 100 runs isn’t necessarily the gold standard that it once was.

    And, Gadfly, with respect to Anderson’s stats hitting second, you acknowledge it’s a small sample size but say it’s still impressive. But the point about any statistic–whether it’s an electoral poll or whatever–is that sample size is key. If I go three for five on opening day (I’m really fantasizing here), I’m hitting .600. That doesn’t really tell you much.

  172. 228—Covered the Griffey vs. Anderson thing—extensively—two days ago. In sum: Griffey is clearly superior as a Diaz platoon partner. Better OBP, better SLG. There’s really no argument, unless you think a moderate defensive advantage in ~90 games a year is worth as much or more than ~50 points of OBP and ~10 points of SLG, in which case you’d be wrong.

    And talking about the utter worthlessness of Runs Produced is a valid conversation topic on a baseball blog. You don’t get to dictate the subject matter of all discourse on here, my logic-challenged e-friend.

  173. “When I was scrolling through and saw references to “Ganderson”, I thought the Braves had somehow gotten Granderson”

    Point Proven :)

    BTW – Having Diaz in the 4 spot just seems so odd, but it’s hard to argue against an OPS over .900 against lefties.

  174. Manny would also be nice, but he isn’t coming, just like Griffey didn’t. I wish the season would start or we could bash another player for not haveing a good Bill Pecota line.

    That Lowe, boy his VOLTRON rankings sucked last year.

  175. Boy, VOLTRON seems like a stupid stat, then. I’d be curious to see what it measures, since most reputable metrics said Lowe was very good in ’08.

    See 129, line 2.

  176. #232 .. disagree.you should never have 4 straight left handed hitters in a row .. that makes it too easy for opposing mgr when it gets crunch time.
    My Take is this against RH pitcher.

    1. JAnderson (LH) or Schafer(LH) – CF
    2. GAnderson (LH) – LF
    3. C Jones (S)- 3B
    4. B McCann (LH) – c
    5. Y Escobar (RH) – SS
    6. K Johnson (LH)- 2B
    7. J.Francour (RH)- RF
    8. C.Kotchman (LH) – 1B

  177. 251—Those don’t tell me anything. Which player had more RBIs? Which player had more talent? Which player’s team won more games?

  178. My dad and I have already taken to calling them Tanderson and Shanderson.

    Edit: Also, I feel anytime McCann’s in the lineup, he’s gotta hit 4th. You want him to get more chances than Tanderson, because he’s a better hitter than Tanderson.

  179. This is good, jjschiller. Maintains the spirit of url’s brilliant suggestion while eliminating the potential for confusion with real baseball players.

  180. @255, 256

    It makes more sense when said aloud than on paper, but.. whatever.

    Also, Shanderson is kind of fun to say.

  181. John Smoltz is still talking, now on the Dan Patrick show, about how mean the Braves were to him (was his locker near Frenchy’s). He’s saying that 1) he didn’t leave for more money and that 2) the offer the Braves made was nowhere near the offer from the Sox. Um, John, those 2 things can’t both be true. I really wish he would stop this.

  182. Jay @ 269:

    I interpreted “for” in Smoltz’s 1st comment to mean something like “solely because of”. There isn’t as much of a contradiction if you look at it that way.

    What if he went to Boston because he thought that they had a better shot at the play-offs? I realize that sounds crazy, because we are going to play Francoeur every day and we also just signed G. Anderson, but maybe he thinks that a team with outfielders that can hit home runs might win more games.

    Of course money was a part of his decision, like it is part of everyone’s decisions about everything. But I think that the chance to play in the postseason again might have been a bigger factor.

    It’s hard for me to harbor bad feelings for a guy who pitched so well for the Braves during my formative years, so maybe I’m cutting him too much slack.

  183. Jay, those two things can both be true, if “didn’t leave for more money” means that Smoltz didn’t choose the Red Sox because they offered more money.

  184. Thanks for reminding me about the Devine trade. Now I can’t eat lunch. The worst part is Mark Kotsay was actually our best hitting OF last year. We really sucked last season.

  185. After hearing Smoltz talk about this on several occasions, I’m completely convinced that the primary reason he left was ego. By his admission he felt neglected and taken for granted by the Braves. The Red Sox came along and offered a contract that gave him more respect (in the form of dollars), and he took it. I think that a big part of this decision was to say to the Braves, “you can’t take me for granted and I’m outta here.” He’s said as much.

    And for Smoltz money and respect are equated here. He absolutely took more money, that’s undeniable. In his mind, though, I’m sure it’s not about the money, but what the money represented.

  186. @240: I didn’t actually look at any pitches per at-bat statistic. What I was looking at was Count splits, and noticed that Garret swung at the first pitch less often than Yunel. I probably overstated my conclusions based on that thin-slice of data, but neither of us should really put that much weight behind these sorts of statistics in discussing his ability in the 2-hole, when the numbers were produced mainly out of the cleanup spot. He’s a veteran, who knows how to put the ball where he wants it to go. I’d much rather have Esco in a spot where he can swing freely, than have to take a pitch to let JA try and swipe a bag. (Esco’s speed in the middle of the order would also provide some benefit.)

    @242: Did people really forget about Jim Edmonds’ start with the Cubs last year??? Once he got to Chicago he sorted things out, but he wasn’t playing everyday, and mostly batted 6th or 7th. He’s got a better OBP, and I agree with you on his defensive versatility, but I’m just not sold that he would be any better of a fit than GA (and we don’t yet know his pricetag, so it is hard to judge.)

    @244: I’ll get to the main point on the next thread, but I’ll just say here that I agree with you on sample size. However, we’re not talking about 5 ABs here, its 94 PAs. Now it may just have been that Garret got hot at the end of the year, and then was moved to the 2-spot, or it may be that moving to the 2-spot with speed in front of him, and Teixeira behind him put him in a more comfortable situation than he was batting 4th or 6th. That said, it seems like batting 2nd behind JA and in front of Chipper Jones might be the perfect spot for him. Then again it might not, but that’s the beauty of speculation… and you never have to write the whole season’s lineup in stone. (Also, check out the RPs or RBIs/LOB numbers I threw out at 209, I’m not sold on the metric yet, but it does factor in opportunities.)

    @247: I wasn’t trying to dictate anything, only pointing out how sad it is when someone interjects ignorance into other people’s conversation. RBIs, and RPs, have their limitations, like any statistic (though RBIs and RPs are more limited in prediction than the ones you mention, but I’ll get to this in the next thread.) Calling them “utter[ly] worthless” is absolute ignorance. Again, looking back at 209, over the last three years Garret has produced .352 runs for every out he’s created, compared to .326 for Griffey. In 2008, Garret had .389 RBIs for every runner he left on base, while Griffey had .351. You can’t just dismiss these numbers. This makes it much less clear who is superior, if any of the two, especially when you factor in the pricetag on the two players. Also, looking at RHP splits is only going to give you part of the picture. If Diaz doesn’t bounce back from injury, Garret (or Griffey) is/was going to have to start against LHP, and I’d much rather have Garret in that situation. Further, unless you’re assuming we’d pinch hit for Griffey anytime he faced a LHP you should at least put some impact from his RHP into any analysis. If you weight the splits 3#RHP, and 1#LHP they get much closer: .255/.359/.434 for Griffey, .292/.326/.430 for GA. Suddenly those 90+ games of better defense only have to surmount a 33 point OBP swing and a 4 point slugging swing. All this for at least $2 million less. Not as clear as you make it seem.

  187. 251—Those don’t tell me anything. Which player had more RBIs? Which player had more talent? Which player’s team won more games?

    I’m assuming that’s a joke, Stu. If so, haha. If not, I’m disappointed in you.

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