Ring Ceremonies

Seeing Joc Pederson get his ring on Monday, knowing Freddie will get his tomorrow, and seeing the number of people dismayed that in return we are stuck at first base with the guy leading the world in doubles, made me want to do a little historical comparison to see how the Braves post-Championship losses look in MLB history.

This turned out to be more difficult than I had thought, mostly because you have to make a lot of decisions that are` kind of arbitrary, and the data aren’t well structured to manipulate.  But I made them.  So here are my rules:

A Lost Player is a player who played on a team that won a World Series, did not play for that team the next year but did play for someone else. This is not an ideal definition, since it includes players traded in the Championship year, like Bryse Wilson as well as players who were with the team in the playoffs.  It also doesn’t include guys like Jesse Chavez who was cut loose at the end of the season but returned the next season.

Lost WAR is the WAR earned by the player with the Championship team, and excludes any WAR they may have earned with other teams in the championship season.  I don’t think there’s a good solution here for players acquired midseason, so I went with this one.

In any case, if you don’t like my definitions, then ignore these calculations and do your own. 

Most Lost Players

1992 Toronto Blue Jays: 17, including Dave Winfield (4.1 WAR) and Jimmy Key (3.9 WAR).

1997 Florida Marlins: 16, including Kevin Brown (6.8), Moises Alou (3.5)

2009 New York Yankees: 16, including Johnny Damon (4.2) and Hideki Matsui (2.7)

2004 Boston Red Sox: 14, including Pedro Martinez (5.4)

2016 Chicago Cubs: 13, including Dexter Fowler (4.0)

2000 New York Yankees: 13, including Jeff Nelson (2.1)

2021 Atlanta Braves: 13, including Freddie Freeman (4.7)

1972 Oakland A’s: 13, including Mike Epstein (5.2) and Dave Duncan (2.8)

1996 New York Yankees: 12, including Jimmy Key (2.9) and John Wetteland (2.4).  They also lost Jim Leyritz and, no, I’m still not over it.

Most Lost WAR

1997 Marlins 16.4

1992 Blue Jays: 15.7

2003 Marlins: 9.5

2013 Red Sox: 8.6

2009 Yankees: 8.4

1972 A’s: 8.4

And so forth down to the 21st place 2021 Braves at 4.5. 

A few observations:

First, until the reserve clause was thrown out, teams didn’t lose many players.  The 1927 Yankees did not lose a single player.  The 1965 Dodgers lost only 1 (though the 1964 Cardinals lost 10.)  But 15 of the top 16 are from 1988 and later.  The exception is the always eccentric and perpetually penny-pinching Charlie Finley’s A’s of 1972. On the other hand, the 2002 Angels lost only two players (Al Levine and Orlando Palmeiro, if anyone cares.)

Second, while the famous Marlins housecleanings are here (though only the 1997 team makes this list in volume) the Yankees dumped a lot of players, if only a few really good ones.  Three of the top 9 were Yankees teams.

Third, when you lose a lot of players, you lose a lot of minor contributors – even the teams who lost a lot of WAR.  Even a lot of well-known players were dumped after subpar years, like Dave Stieb (-0.2 for the 1992 Jays) and Derek Lowe (-0.7 for the 2004 Red Sox). 

Fourth, while the Braves lost 13 players (Alex Jackson, Bryse Wilson, Carl Edwards Jr, Chris Martin, Cristian Pache, Drew Smyly, Ehire Adrianza, Freddie Freeman, Joc Pederson, Johan Camargo, Jorge Soler, Shane Greene and Stephen Vogt) seven of them had negative WAR in their stint in Atlanta in 2021, The Braves in particular, despite the loss of Freddie, lost far less WAR than similar teams.  In AA we trust.

Hey! We Won!

OK, as I said this morning, I didn’t see the game today. All those who really want to know what happened ought to read what professional journalists are hired to write about the game. But, in short, Dansby hit two homers, the Braves knocked Alex Wood back to Athens after he had given up 6 runs before getting an out in the second inning, and the Braves turned 4 double plays. When you turn 4 double plays and you win by 1 you could have lost very easily. Or, as Snit put it in his inimitable patois: “All four games could’ve went either way for either team.” I could’ve went different on the golf course today, but c’est la vie.

The Braves led 7-1 after Dansby’s second homer in the 4th and then tried to hold on. Wright was OK. Chavez got a critical double play. Hancock was Hancock and Jansen gave up a 9th inning homer to Joc to close the game to one and to make Joc go away with a nice memory or two to go with his ring.

Freddie comes to town tomorrow as the Parade of Ring Ceremonies continues. Beat the Dodgers, OK?