Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:15 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.
But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.
In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.
Usually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.
Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.
Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72
* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent
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Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:03 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 3:23 pm
By Matt Snyder
With the 2012 Hall of Fame class set to be Barry Larkin and Ron Santo, we can now look ahead to future years -- while kicking and screaming about who should have gotten in or who didn't deserve it, of course; heaven forbid anyone just celebrate the careers of Larkin and Santo and move on. My colleague C. Trent Rosecrans has taken a look at the explosive 2013 Hall of Fame class of first-year eligibles. Just envision all the arguing and name-calling that will take place in our comments section next year at this time (remember, everyone's personal opinion is right and everyone else is an idiot with absolutely no room for discussion!). I have a headache already.
Anyway, the ballot doesn't let up anytime soon, either. Check out the first-year eligible classes for the ensuing three ballots. And remember, these guys are only joining those remaining on the ballot. It's going to get overly crowded with legitimate superstars unless a few classes have upwards of four or five inductees.
Here are the most notable guys joining the ballot before 2017, divided up by year.
Greg Maddux - Listing his numbers is a waste of time. He's as much of a lock as anyone.
Frank Thomas - It's also hard to see the Big Hurt not getting in on the first try as well. He has more than 500 home runs, two MVPs, and a ridiculous .974 career OPS (156 OPS-plus).
Jeff Kent - While not a very good defender, Kent was one of the best offensive second basemen in history. His 377 home runs are the most ever for a 2B while his .290/.356/.500 line is stellar from that position. Kent's WAR is very similar to Ryne Sandberg's, and Ryno got in on his third try. It might be tougher for Kent, with the crowded ballots and all. Think about it, are the voters really going to put in four first-year guys here? Very doubtful, especially considering there will be worthy guys lingering from previous ballots.
Mike Mussina - Moose went 270-153 in his career with an assortment of Gold Gloves, All-Star appearances and top six finishes in Cy Young voting. His 3.68 career ERA came in a time when it was a hitters' game, as it factors out to a 123 ERA-plus. Will his shortfall in wins (30 shy of 300) and strikeouts (187 short of 3,000) cost him? It very well might.
Luis Gonzalez - He was just a pretty good player until getting to Arizona, so he probably didn't do it long enough.
Moises Alou - He actually has better rate stats than Gonzalez, but the feeling is neither makes it.
Randy Johnson - The only question is Mariners or Diamondbacks cap on his bust. I'll lean toward D-Backs with the four Cy Youngs and World Series ring, but he pitched 1 1/2 more seasons in Seattle. But this is a discussion for a different day.
Pedro Martinez - He was the most dominant pitcher in baseball for a seven-year stretch. He won three Cy Young awards and had the best MLB ERA in five of those aforementioned seven seasons. In all, Pedro was 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and over 3,000 strikeouts in a big-time hitters' era. He has to be in, probably on the first ballot.
John Smoltz - How heavily will the 213 wins and 154 saves weigh on the minds of voters? I'm guessing a good amount. He also has that Cy Young and over 3,000 strikeouts. Even if not on the first ballot, Smoltz will be enshrined.
Gary Sheffield - One of the more feared hitters of his generation, Sheffield's offensive numbers say he's worthy (509 homers, .907 career OPS, over 1,600 runs and RBI). But he was in the Mitchell Report, so -- judging from what we've seen so far from the voters in terms of the steroid-connected guys -- he's probably not going to get in.
Nomar Garciaparra - Through 2003, he was headed to Cooperstown, but things derailed after that. His career triple slash line (.313/.361/.521) is pretty damn good, but was he dominant long enough? I'll guess no.
Carlos Delgado - With tons of power in his prime, Delgado ended up with 473 homers and 1,512 RBI. His .383 on-base percentage and .929 OPS (138 OPS-plus) are very impressive, too. My guess, though, is Delgado put up those numbers in the wrong era and he falls short.
Ken Griffey Jr. - Easy choice.
Trevor Hoffman - The Hall voters haven't been kind to closers, but Hoffman saved 601 games, obliterating the previous record (held by Lee Smith) until Mariano Rivera passed him last season. I bet Hoffman gets in with relative ease. If not the first try, certainly the second or third.
Billy Wagner - See the above comment about Hall voters' treatment of closers. Wagner was definitely dominant, but I feel like only Rivera and Hoffman get in from this generation of closers.
Andy Pettitte - If you only look at the regular season stats, Pettitte has a case as a very good pitcher who wasn't a Hall of Famer. He went 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 2,251 strikeouts. He garnered Cy Young votes in five different seasons but never won the award. However, will 75 percent of the voters consider the postseason and cast a vote for Pettitte? It's possible. He was 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA in the postseason, in a whopping 263 innings. He has five rings and went to the World Series three other times (once with the Astros, remember). He will not be getting into the Hall on his first handful of tries, but maybe after a decade or so on the ballot Pettitte makes it. Then again, he also was named in the Mitchell Report.
Jim Edmonds - The four-time All-Star won eight Gold Gloves and hit 393 homers. He hit .284/.376/.527 and racked up 67.9 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com. Still, with less than 2,000 hits, less than 400 home runs and less than 1,300 runs or RBI, I'd bet he doesn't have a real shot of making it.
So there you have it. Without considering the guys who were already on the ballot from previous years and then factoring in the huge class of 2013, we have three years with what I think will yield nine Hall of Famers. Maybe 10 if Pettitte gets enough support. Now, keep in mind I'm not a voter nor was I saying above who I would personally want to see in the Hall. I'm merely trying to guess how the voting body will react to the players above, based upon how they've treated players in the recent past.
Simply put, the ballot is going to be very, very crowded in a few years.
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Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 7:07 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Rookie of the Year awards are unique among baseball awards in that they are somewhat less about an individual year's performance as much as they are for the hope of better things to come. A Rookie of the Year win is a footnote on any Hall of Fame argument, not a bullet point. Meanwhile, any Hall of Fame argument will start with MVP wins for position players and Cy Young trophies for starting pitchers. If you have those, you have an argument, and if you won Rookie of the Year, that's nice.
No, Rookie of the Year is something to dream on -- there's the potential and what a player could become based upon a solid rookie year.
With that in mind, I wanted to look back on the past Rookie of the Year winners and what players had the best careers after winning the award and which ones peaked in their first year. Because this particular argument needs time for perspective, I've broken up the last 20 years in five-year increments. Below are the winners of the awards each year for both leagues, as well as their Wins Above Replacement (from Baseball-Reference.com) for both their rookie year and their career, as well as a decision on the best player in retrospect, the worst and the best duo from one year.
Best: This is where we need perspective -- and time. Right now it looks like you could go with any of six candidates -- Justin Verlander (AL 2006), Hanley Ramirez (NL 2006), Dustin Pedroia (AL 2007), Ryan Braun (NL 2007), Evan Longoria (AL 2008) and Buster Posey (NL 2010). In 10 years this may be easier to pick, but right now it's just way too close to call. Of the group, Ramirez has the highest career WAR.
Worst: Again, this is still way too early to call, but Chris Coghlan (NL 2009) may take this dubious honor. There's plenty of time for him to turn it around, but he finished 2011 hitting .230 at Triple-A New Orleans.
Best duo: Another toss-up -- 2006 had Ramirez and Verlander, while 2007 featured Pedroia and Braun. Check back in 10 years and this may seem to be an easier choice, but right now it's too close to call.
Best: Albert Pujols (NL 2001). He may be the best player of our generation and best right-handed hitter of all time. With apologies to Ichiro Suzuki (AL 2001) and Ryan Howard (NL 2005), it's Pujols and it's not close.
Worst: Oh, Angel Berroa (AL 2003). Acquired in the deal that sent Johnny Damon and Mark Ellis to Oakland, Berroa last appeared in the big leagues in 2009. The Royals shortstop won the award over Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli and Hideki Matsui, earning the scorn of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
Best duo: Pujols and Suzuki would be a heck of a Hall of Fame class, not to mention a rookie class. Suzuki won not only the Rookie of the Year in 2001, he also took home the American League MVP.
Best: Scott Rolen (NL 1997) and Carlos Beltran (AL 1999) have had fantastic careers, but Derek Jeter (AL 1996) is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and a baseball icon. Jeter also has the highest career WAR among the group of rookies.
Worst: This one is tough, if you guy by WAR, it's Kazuhiro Sasaki (AL 2000), who had just a 4.0 career WAR. However, Sasaki was 32 when he started in the United States and played just four seasons in the majors. In addition to his Rookie of the Year, he made the All-Star team in 2001 and 2002, recording 129 saves in four seasons. I'm going to take Ben Grieve (AL 1998) slightly over Todd Hollandsworth (NL 1996) based solely on Hollandsworth holding on longer (12 years to nine) and finding his late-career niche as a pinch hitter, while Grieve did appear in the majors after his 30th birthday -- and just 17 after his 29th birthday.
Best duo: How about Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra (AL 1997)? Garciapparra never quite lived up to the rival to Alex Rodriguez and Jeter as the greatest shortstop of his generation, but he was in the conversation for a time there. While each year from 1996-2000 had at least one pretty good pick, 1997 was the only one to produce two players that finished with double-digit career WAR.
Best: WAR likes Jeff Bagwell (NL 1991), the Hall of Fame will like Mike Piazza (1993). Either way, it's tough to go wrong. Unlike the Hall of Fame voters, I'll take Bagwell over Piazza, but can see both sides of the argument. I"m in the camp that Bagwell is one of the more underrated players of his generation.
Worst: Yet again, the award goes to a Royal. Bob Hamelin (AL 1994) had a 2.5 WAR in his rookie year and 2.4 for his career. Pat Listach (AL 1992) also has a lower career WAR (3.9) than single-season WAR for his rookie season (3.9), but the be speckled Hamelin did less in his career than Listach, even if most of Listach's value came from his rookie season.
Best duo: Again it comes down to the 1993 choices (Piazza, Tim Salmon) and 1991 (Bagwell, Chuck Knoblauch), with 1991 taking the crown. Knoblauch and Salmon both had good careers, with Knoblauch winning four rings and Salmon one. Knoblacuh was a four-time All-Star, Salmon never appeared in the game. Knoblauch also won a Gold Glove, despite his woes throwing later in his career. Going by WAR, the 1991 duo beats the 1993 pair, 121.1-96.7.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2011 awards, Albert Pujols, Andrew Bailey, Angel Berroa, awards, Ben Grieve, Bob Hamelin, Bobby Crosby, Buster Posey, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Beltran, Chris Coghlan, Chuck Knoblauch, Craig Kimbrel, Derek Jeter, Dontrelle Willis, Dustin Pedroia, Eric Hinske, Eric Karros, Evan Longoria, Geovany Soto, Hanley Ramirez, Hideo Nomo, Huston Street, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Bay, Jason Jennings, Jeff Bagwell, Jeremy Hellickson, Justin Verlander, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Kerry Wood, Marty Cordova, Mike Piazza, Neftali Feliz, Nomar Garciaparra, Pat Listach, Rafael Furcal, Raul Mondesi, Rookie of the Year, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Scott Rolen, Scott Williamson, Tim Salmon, Todd Hollandsworth
Posted on: May 19, 2011 11:28 pm
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Posted on: January 24, 2011 11:58 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 10:40 am
Ringo Starr and Nomar Garciaparra may have something more in common than a prominent proboscis --- both take care of their fans' autograph requests, even if it's not in that timely a manner.
In the second season of The Simpsons, there's a story of the Beatles drummer personally returning all of his fan mail and finally getting to a letter and painting from young Marge. Starr is at letters from 1966 -- 25 years before the episode aired.
Turns out, Garciaparra is a little quicker than Ringo, so he's got that going for him.
Chad Williams, who grew up in Florida and now lives in Los Angeles, sent a baseball card to the former Red Sox shortstop 1997 when he was in middle school and going through an autograph collecting phase. Well, on Monday, Chad got a call from his mom in Florida:
"Hello, Chad? Were you expecting mail at our house? This plain envelope came in the mail, no return address, and...it looks like all in your handwriting?" I had NO idea what she was talking about. Naturally since I now live 3,000 miles away from Florida, I asked her to open it.Garciaparra, or someone acting on his behalf, sent the larger signed card seen below, and sent back the original Donruss card Chad sent back in 1997.
Hey, better late than never -- and it only took 14 years, although, as beloved as Garciaparra was in his time in Boston, he was never exactly a Beatle. But good on him for getting around to it. I think it's pretty cool he's doing that. And at it least made an interesting story for a slow Monday as we wait for spring training to begin.
Below is a picture of the card and Williams' 14-year-old self-addressed stamped envelope. (I wonder if Nomar picked up the extra postage to make up for the increase in the last 14 years?)
-- C. Trent Rosecrans