Off-Season Analysis

Dave · December 10, 2008 at 7:20 am · Filed Under Mariners 

We got an email yesterday from someone wanting to know what I thought of the Francisco Rodriguez signing, and that made me realize that some of you may not know that I’m doing my non-Mariner writing over at FanGraphs now. It’s the same kind of analysis we do here, just on a league wide scale. Here’s some links to my take on the moves we’ve seen so far this winter:

Sabathia to NY – also includes notes about how this is a big time buyer’s market.

K-Rod to the Mets

Tigers sign Adam Everett and trade for Gerald Laird, as well as folllow up piece on value of role players.

Khalil Green to STL

Giants sign Bob Howry

Javier Vazquez trade

Mike Hampton to Houston

Stay away from Dunn, Ramirez, Abreu, Ibanez, and Burrell

Renteria to SF

Coco Crisp to KC

Cubs sign Dempster and trade for Kevin Gregg

Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to Washington

Matt Holliday to the A’s

Mike Jacobs to KC – the comments thread on this is the worst in the history of the internet.

Really, if it’s happening in baseball, we’re writing about it at FanGraphs. The site is also the best resource on the internet for the kinds of statistics we favor, including wOBA, WPA/LI, and UZR. And it’s only getting better. If you’re not reading FanGraphs, you’re missing out.


31 Responses to “Off-Season Analysis”

  1. The Ancient Mariner on December 10th, 2008 8:28 am

    The Jacobs thread really is croggling.

  2. Evan on December 10th, 2008 9:13 am

    Naturally, I immediately ran to read the Jacobs thread.

    Sometimes I hope for society to be destroyed by a cataclysm.

  3. Eric Walkingshaw on December 10th, 2008 9:16 am

    I’ll second the FanGraphs endorsement. Two articles a day from Dave and tons of great stats, all in one place! It’s become one of the very few sites I visit every day (along with USSM, the senior member on that list).

  4. Damn Yankees on December 10th, 2008 9:20 am

    I too went right for the Jacobs thread, and boy does it get brutal. Usually though Fangraphs is a great site with excellent commentary by both the authors and readers (with some exceptions). I don’t know how the Jacobs thread became such a train wreck, but kudos for creating essentially an internet riot.

  5. msb on December 10th, 2008 9:23 am


    it is amazing what anonymity and a keyboard can produce.

  6. Logger on December 10th, 2008 9:50 am

    Calling Dave, the author of the piece, an idiot was a nice start.

  7. joser on December 10th, 2008 9:54 am

    it is amazing what anonymity and a keyboard can produce.

    As summarized in John Gabriel’s GIDT

  8. circlechange32 on December 10th, 2008 10:00 am

    i read the Jacobs piece starting when it was on comment 5, and refreshing that page periodically over the next couple hours was definitely one of the highlights of that week.

  9. JLP on December 10th, 2008 10:03 am

    Way to take the high road on the Jacobs thread, Dave.

    Anyway, FanGraphs is a great site that I visit multiple times daily. They’re doing great work over there.

    [/sheeplecomment] 😉

  10. joser on December 10th, 2008 10:06 am

    One thing that trainwreck thread and the recent one here about Joyce/Larish both tell me is that a lot of people don’t understand the concept of “average player” (and “average at a position”) in the way that it is used by people who understand VORP and marginal wins, etc. To the great majority, “average” is a synonym for “common” or “mediocre” and comes across as something of an insult to the player; even those who understand statistics are often fooled because they assume talent in MLB follows a normal distribution so “average” and “median” should be close to each other (and thus confuse one for the other). And unfortunately I can’t easily find an article that starts from those misunderstandings and leads the confused to enlightenment. There’s stuff out there, in The Book and Bill James and whatnot, but it’s not something you can just post a link to. Does anybody know of one?

    I kind of wonder if the USSM orientation needs another “Evaluating X” article that does that.

  11. xxtinynickxx on December 10th, 2008 10:12 am

    That Jacobs thread gave me that laugh i needed today!

  12. JI on December 10th, 2008 11:13 am

    It’s not quite youtube, but I’ll take it:

    Alec said,

    October 31, 2008 @ 4:07 pm


  13. robbbbbb on December 10th, 2008 11:24 am


    You talk about wOBA, WPA/LI, and UZR in the article. I agree that those are good tools, but my understanding of them is imperfect. Do you think you could (a) do an article on your favorite statistical tools, what they do (and don’t!) tell you, and where they come from or (b) point us to some places where we can get that deeper understanding?

    Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?

  14. snepp on December 10th, 2008 11:42 am


    Are you referring to something along these lines?

    The burdens of being average.

  15. lokiforever on December 10th, 2008 11:45 am

    Joser, Dave

    I’ve read this comment twice now. The talent level in the MLB does not follow a normal distribution curve….which leads to a misinterpretaion of an average player.

    I trust then that the median is below the mean? So less than 50% of players are average (mean) or better?

  16. galaxieboi on December 10th, 2008 12:27 pm

    point us to some places where we can get that deeper understanding?

    That’s funny, Tom Tango is taking all questions as we speak over at fangraphs.

  17. Breadbaker on December 10th, 2008 1:12 pm


  18. Evan on December 10th, 2008 1:49 pm

    Is Tango even Canadian?

  19. galaxieboi on December 10th, 2008 2:45 pm

    I didn’t think so, but…Canadians blend in. You never know when one is lurking.

  20. stevie_j13 on December 10th, 2008 3:40 pm


    What’s your read on the Ankiel+unnamed prospect for J.J.? Ankiel seems to fill a pretty big need, but is only under team control for one year. At the same time, if we’re not competing this year, Ankiel seems like a nice piece, and J.J. can only throw high fastballs for so long. The Bill James and Marcel projections are pretty far apart for Ankiel, as well.

  21. ErikG803 on December 10th, 2008 4:10 pm

    Sounds like the Marlins are offering Jeremy Hermida for Rob Johnson. What’s your take on that, Dave?

  22. Five Number Ones on December 10th, 2008 4:12 pm

    From a cursory look at Fangraphs (wOBA, UZR and Marcel/Bill James in one place is FANTASTIC) and PMR it seems like Ankiel doesn’t belong in CF, and as such is basically a power hitting corner outfielder.

    His defensive reputation is really inflated by all those Web Gem throws from center field. He’s probably going to get a ton of money that he doesn’t deserve since he hits home runs, and has a reputation as a good fielder.

    Ankiel is definitely a fine player but I think we’d be better served with a Matt Joyce kind of guy who has some upside and won’t cost us a thing for a long time.

    I’ve got a question myself; what do people think about this Jeremy Hermida hearsay over at the Baker Blog? Does he have a chance to develop into the offensive star he was supposed to?

  23. stevie_j13 on December 10th, 2008 4:35 pm

    I don’t know about Hermida. His “coming out” year in 2007 involved a .356 BABIP, which he’s never come close to replicating. He doesn’t walk that much, but strikes out a ton. Ankiel is basically the same offensive player with significantly more power and an improving walk rate.

    2007) .296/.369/.501, 24.5 K% 0.45 BB/K .205 ISO .356 BABIP
    2008) .249/.323/.406, 27.5 K% 0.35 BB/K .157 ISO .311 BABIP

    2007) .285/.328/.535, 23.8 K% 0.32 BB/K .250 ISO .317 BABIP
    2008) .264/.332/.506, 24.2 K% 0.45 BB/K .242 ISO .292 BABIP

    Ankiel also improved from 2007 to 2008, walking more to make up for his bad luck. He seems to have the potential for at least one .900 OPS season. I’m not so sure about Hermida.

  24. JI on December 10th, 2008 4:49 pm

    How could you not trade Johnson for Hermida if given the opportunity?

  25. Mike Snow on December 10th, 2008 4:59 pm

    That’s why the rumor is obviously bogus, the Marlins wanted Adam Moore.

  26. Conor on December 10th, 2008 5:06 pm

    How could you not trade Johnson for Hermida if given the opportunity?

    Yeah, that would be a no-brainer. So I’m sure that was never an option. ErikG, where did you see that? Let’s not confuse rumors for actual news.

    Here’s what Baker said…

    The Mariners apparently approached the Marlins yesterday and made a proposal for Hermida that the Marlins didn’t like. Both teams apparently went back and forth for a bit — this wasn’t just one of those exploratory conversations — but could not reach a deal. Florida is looking for catching and apparently wants Mariners prospect Adam Moore.

    FWIW, I prefer Hermida over Ankiel, mostly based on the fact that Hermida would be under club control longer.

  27. david h on December 10th, 2008 5:14 pm


    I have a question regarding how you compare a starter to a replacement level pitcher by combining replacement starters and relievers in your November article evaluating Sabathia.

    I understand the point that a replacement starter would not get the same number of innings as a good starter, and agree with the need to combine a number of reliever innings with starter innings for the comparison. But why use replacement-level relief innings to fill the gap, rather than league-average relief innings.

    A team is deciding between Starter A and Replacement Starter B, not Starter A and the combination of Replacement Starter B + Replacement Reliever C. If the team goes with Replacement Starter B, the missing innings will be filled in by the major league bullpen, not Replacement Reliever C, and over the course of the season, all the innings used to support replacement level starters across the league will by definition be league-average innings.

    Is this right, or am I missing something?

    I can see where there may be some trouble, since we can assume that long relievers will be relied upon more to fill in those extra innings, and they tend to be lower quality relievers than the late inning guys. But perhaps a point in the other direction could be made arguing that a team saving money on a replacement-level starter may spend a bit more for the bullpen. In any event, I’d think league-average is closer to the truth than replacement level for those extra relief innings.

  28. Jeff Nye on December 10th, 2008 5:25 pm

    This time of year in particular (but also a good general rule) you have to be super careful about what news sources you pay attention to regarding trade and FA rumors.

    Everyone is so desperate to look like they are in the know and “scoop” each other that even normally credible people sometimes write crazy things.

    In particular, if it’s on, it is probably baseless speculation.

  29. NBarnes on December 10th, 2008 6:48 pm

    That Jacobs comment thread is hilariously awful. ‘OMG he hits teh home runs, he must be teh goodz playar! Ryan Hoawrd even morso!!’

  30. WardP on December 10th, 2008 7:18 pm

    Of course we all ran for the Jacobs thread..

    As I said in a comment there, simply classic, and a badly needed laugh today.

    I have seen the face of the future, and it is Bob..

  31. tangotiger on December 16th, 2008 10:00 am

    Yes, I’m Canehdian. And I’m taking all your fangraphs questions at… uh… fangraphs.

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