Posted tagged ‘Boston Red Sox’

Jim Joyce Made the Right Call

October 28, 2013

Game 3 of the World Series was decided with an obstruction call. Despite being thrown out, Allen Craig was called safe and awarded home because Will Middlebrooks impeded his path to home plate. The umpires saw that the play at the plate was close and rightfully believed Craig would have scored if he had not been obstructed. It’s an ending almost no one liked or wanted, but it was the correct and only call to make in that situation.

 

MLB Rule 7.06:

“(a) When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal ‘Obstruction.’

“If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

“Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls ‘Time,’ with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.

 

“(b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call ‘Time’ and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.

“Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.

When Craig went to run home, not play was being made on him at the time. The play is allowed to proceed. After the play is when the umpire can impose penalties. He decided there was obstruction. And that’s that.

It makes no difference whether there is intent or not. Once the ball gets by the defender, the defender is no longer considered to be in the act of fielding and would be eligible to obstruct a base runner. That is exactly what happened. Moreover, Craig did not run into Middlebrooks outside of the baseline. He got straight up and made a direct path to the plate.

So the ultimate decision is in the hands of the ump- did the time lost in the obstruction result in an out? To ump and any reasonable viewer, yes the obstruction clearly hampered Craig’s ability to race home in time.

Again, no one likes this ending. But it had to be done. Some people suggested the umps should have let it go. That is not right because the ump would not be doing his job and instead of angry Red Sox fans there would be angry Cardinals fans.

In a time when umps are often scrutinized for their mistakes, it’s time to lavish them with praise for a tough, but right call in a critical World Series game.

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The roadtrip from hell

May 27, 2011

Starting tonight the Yankees embark on a nine game road trip. They are heading to Seattle for the weekend series, then down to Oakland, and finally will cap off the road trip with a series at Anaheim.

While west coast trips are never fun, this doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, both Seattle and Oakland have terrible offenses, and Anaheim isn’t anything special. Well, take a look at the pitching match-ups.

Seattle: Felix Herandez, Michael Pineda, Justin Vargas

Oakland: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez

Los Angeles: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana

Yup. That’s arguably the best three trio’s in the AL. Not only do we get to face them, but we face them on the road AND it’s a west coast trip. For real- we couldn’t have missed Weaver, or Felix out of the nine games? This has to be the worst scheduling luck I’ve seen. That’s seven possible Cy Young candidates right there. And we NEVER win in LA anyway. LA could throw their backup catcher against us and win*.

*At least Howie Kendrick is out. Otherwise we’d get shutout AND get ten runned.

And when the Yankees return home, they get Boston (and then Cleveland). Yay! And I bet they get Lester/Beckett/Clay with their luck.

Josh Beckett- I never left

April 17, 2011

One of the more annoying media narratives of the past year has been the “decline” of Josh Beckett. After posting three consecutive seasons of 5+ fWAR and being one of the best pitchers in baseball, Beckett sucked in 2010. He was hurt, and his ERA imploded to 5.47. So naturally the media thought Josh Beckett fell apart and was no longer the stud that he was. Which makes no sense to me, considering he had ONE bad season. For real, from 2007-2009 he was monster accumulating 16.7 fWAR. Has no pitcher ever had a bad season before? Hell, after posting six straight seasons of at least 7fWAR, Randy Johnson “only” had a 2.7 fWAR the next season. And the season after that- it was 9.9. I’m not saying Josh Beckett is Randy Johnson, but the “oh noes what’s wrong with Beckett?!!?!!?” storyline is one of the more ill-conceived notions the MSM has constructed in a while. And it took was a simple look at his 2010 numbers to see why.

As far as strikeouts go, Beckett had a 8.18 K/9, which was in line with his career rate. However, his HR/9 skyrocketed to 1.41 despite the fact his FB% was in line with his career average. So what happened? BABIP. It was .338, a career high for him. As a result, home runs against surged and his LOB% fell to a lowly 65.3%. Ouch. Despite all that, his FIP was still 4.54 and his xFIP was 3.86. Naturally one would expect his BABIP, resulting in less homers and more runners stranded. Assuming his K rate stays the same, he would be back to his old.

So, Josh Beckett would like to say, “F-U” to the MSM. Granted he has a very SSS of 20 innings this season, but his K/9 is 10.35 and he has a 1.97 FIP. After dealing with injury most of last season, Beckett seems to have finally got his strength and mechanics back. And fortune has been on his side.

The Adrian Gonzalez and Clay Buchholz extensions

April 15, 2011

The big news of the day is that the Red Sox inked star first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, to a 7/$154mil deal, the largest in Red Sox history. So let’s take a look at it, shall we.

Gonzalez will make $22mil per season, starting in 2012, his age 30 season, and it will last through his age 36 season.

So let’s hypothesize. Let’s say he posts a 6 WAR season as a thirty year old. We will decrease that by 0.5 wins as we move into future seasons. The $ per WAR will start at $4.5mil and go up by $.25mil. So…

It looks like a good deal for Boston. Adrian Gonzalez is a monster hitter who should thrive at Fenway, and is a good defender as well. However, I do think my WAR forecasts are a bit too high. It’s ambitious to think an aging 1b would decline so gracefully. But it is likely he does age well, especially because of his talent.

So nice extension Boston.

Now onto Clay. He signed a 4/$30mil deal with two options (it’s really 4/$29.7, but whose to argue?). In 2012 he will be paid $4.5mil including his signing bonus. That bumps up to $5.5mil in 2013 and $7.7mil in 2014 for his last arbitration season. 2015 is also bought out for $12mil. It also covers his age 27-30 seasons.

I believe the deal is a steal. In arbitration, he would make around $3.5mil his first year, but he would make way more than $5.5mil and $7.7mil in the subsequent years. Boston is not only saving on money they would have paid out in arbitration, but they save money compared to his market value. And Clay can now afford a laptop.

One week and two good deals for Boston.

Yankees sign Rafael Soriano

January 14, 2011

Ugh. It’s a 3/$35mil deal. For a relief pitcher.

I do not like this deal at all. $35mil for a relief pitcher? Are you kidding me?

The deal is also tricky. Soriano has the chance to opt out after 2011 and 2012. So in his 2011 he will make $11.5mil. If he stays he will make $10mil in 2012. If he stays again he will make $13.5mil in 2013.

So basically Soriano controls his own destiny, instead of the team, and he could potentially screw us over.

Don’t get me wrong, Rafael Soriano is a nice pitcher. His K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 are all fantastic. His FIP and xFIP are great as well. But look at it this way…if $ per WAR in 2011 is $4.5mil, Soriano would need to post a 2.6 WAR to justify his contract. Only thing is, he’s posted a WAR above 2 in his career. Moreover, I have a tough time saying he is worth more to the Yankees so even if Soriano doesn’t produce 2.5 WAR he is still worth it. For one, on paper we are more than 2 wins worse than Boston. So even if Soriano is a 1.5-2 win upgrade over our worst bullpen member (like a Sergio Mitre), he doesn’t provide enough of an upgrade to make the large signing worth it. It might help us in the Wild Card, but I would say the goal is to build a roster that will win the division (and as a result, the World Series as well).

Moreover, one can’t argue he’s worth more since he’d be pitching high leverage situations. He will be our SET UP MAN. $35MIL FOR A SET UP MAN. Yes, sometimes the eight can be a high leverage situation. Yes, sometimes the eighth might be the most important part of the game. But that’s not the case as much as it is the case in the ninth. I will say it is nice because now Mo can become a one and done ninth inning pitcher, which could prolong his career, improve his health/endurance over the season, and thus make him more effective later in the season. But is that benefit worth $35mil? I can’t see it.

The opt outs have potential to be good, and the potential to be. If Soriano has a great 2011 and opts out, the Yankees will probably get two drafts. Considering we are losing a first rounder in a loaded 2011 to sign Soriano, it would be good compensation to receive a year of Soriano+2 future draft picks. If he is good and stays, I wouldn’t complain since his contract in 2012 is lower and would be more likely to be worth the money in that season. BUT, what if he sucks in 2011? He will opt to comeback and again we will overpay for a reliever and NOT receive any draft picks. The same theory can be applied for the second opt-out.

So yeah, I hate the deal. I will root for him obviously and he DOES make the Yankees better so I am glad in that sense he is a Yankee. But it’s bad business and a bad contract. $10-$13mil a year may not be a lot for the Yankees to play a person per season, but that make it okay to throw it out the window. That’s money that could go to the draft, international signings, a potential trade, or future FA signing. Moreover, in 2013 we already have $122mil on the books for SIX PLAYERS. Add in Soriano and that’s $135.5mil tied up in SEVEN PLAYERS. WoW.

 

Hopefully, this means Joba Chamberlain to the rotation. I didn’t want to, because his mind is just being toyed with at this point. I figure it will be best to let him reliever another year or two, let him become established, and then bring him back to the rotation. But the signing opens up the door for a Joba return to the rotation. His career high in innings is 157, from 2009, so using Cashman’s +40 innings rule, Joba would be good to go for 200 innings in the rotation. He is a better option than anyone else on the market or in-house and while staying in the pen would give us a NASTY pen, he holds more value and will help the team win more pitching innings 1-6 rather than just inning seven.

 

 

 

Andy Pettitte partially retires

January 13, 2011

Which opens the door to Andy announcing his comeback sometime in May from the Yankees front office brass suite, causing Suzyn Waldman to blow her load live on-air.

I will wait to talk about Andy’s career until he officially retires. But I will talk about the Yankees current rotation.

So far the definites are CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes. Obviously I would love to see Joba Chamberlain return to the rotation, but I doubt that happens this season so I will assume that is not a possibility.

So the Yankees have two spots to fill. On Opening Day, possible in-house options are Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Hector Noesi, and David Phelps. Come opening day, we will not see Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances in the rotation short-running. I do not think Phelps is ready and the same goes for Hector (although I love Hector). Mitre is trash as a starter, which leaves Ivan Nova. I am willing to give Nova a shot and come May if he sucks, try out Phelps or Noesi. Nova could be a pretty good reliever, but if he can pitch similarly to his end of season stint from 2010, then I think he will be a capable 5th starter.

Now, onto the FA market. Players that interest me are Jeff Francis, Justin Duchscherer, and Kevin Milwood. Honestly, I would sign all three. Depth is going to be HUGE for the Yankees. In a typical season, the Yankees will use an about eleven different starting pitchers. Even with our minor league depth, we could use those three FA pitchers. Neither of them are great, but at a cheap price they have the potential to be some of the better 4 or 5 pitchers around.

Jeff Francis would be #1 on my list. He is a lefty, which is useful for Yankee Stadium and useful since they will be competing with lefty heavy lineups in Boston, Texas, and Minnesota (especially if Jim Thome re-signs there). Francis isn’t great, but he should be good for about a 4-ish FIP. He doesn’t walk many batters, which is good since he is a hittable pitcher.Francis is also 29 and could parlay a nice season into a draft pick or a worthy extension.

Next, I would go after Milwood. I know he made $10mil plus on his last contract, but there is no way he sniffs that. Considering his type B status, I can’t imagine him signing for more than $5mil. Milwood is not the pitcher he once was. But he eats innings. That is going to be vital for the rotation. Outside CC, there is no reliable pitcher in the rotation. Milwood is good for 30+ start. He was hit hard last season and gives up his share of walks, but like Francis, he is a 4-4.5 FIP pitcher. As the last guy in the rotation, that’s not bad if he can throw 180+ innings. A team like the Yankees would prefer more production, but given their options Milwood is one of the best options still available.

As for Justin Duchscherer, I like him. I think he can be a good starter. But I don’t trust him. He is always hurt. We will sign him and he will get hurt and we’re back to square one. I think signing him to relieve will help and reduce his injury potential. For a low, $1mil or $2mil deal I would sign him. For depth and to see what he could possibly do in the pen.

Pettitte walking away- for now- hurts. The Yankees can manage if they follow any of the aforementioned strategies. It’s not ideal, but it’s making the best of a bad situation.

Adrian Beltre is likely headed to Arlington

January 4, 2011

The signing is not official yet, but it appears that Adrian Beltre will sign a 6/$96mil deal to be a Texas Ranger through the 2016 season. Damn, that’s a lot of money.

To me, this is kind of a risky deal. $96mil is a lot of money, especially when that money will be going to player who will be in their mid-thirties for the majority of the contract and said player gets more of his value from his fantastic defense. For a young team that can a World Series RIGHT NOW it’s good bring in quality players, but this deal could potentially handcuff them down the road. Yes, Texas is a growing market and they have visions of being a franchise that can support a $100mil+ payroll. But they have a lot of young/good players who will want expensive extensions themselves (Hamilton, Josh; Wilson, CJ; Cruz, Nelson; Feliz, Neftali). Giving an old Beltre $16mil a season may prevent them keeping a Nelson Cruz or CJ Wilson.

I do think Texas is a good destination for Beltre. He is a good hitter, but not as good as his 2010 season suggests. He has power and mediocre on base skills. In a pitcher’s park in Seattle, he put up average numbers. In a hitters park in Boston, with some good fortune, he put up amazing numbers. Texas is a hitters park as well, so I think between that and an age related decline in offensive skill, his offensive numbers should be somewhere between the numbers he put up in Seattle and Boston- but closer to Seattle.

Moreover, he will continue to be a quality defender. However, the glove does slow with age. Now, he is an elite defender so I don’t think he’ll forget how to field a baseball. What I do believe will happen is that he will from a +10 to a +15 fielder, to a +5 fielder. Defense is where he gets a lot of value, so if his defense declines some, Texas may find themselves overpaying for Beltre.

Looking ahead to 2011, I believe Beltre has a true talent WAR level around 4 WAR, which is pretty much what he was in Seattle. In 2011 I see him being worth 10 runs offensively, 10 runs defensively, 20 runs through replacement level, and he should have about a 2 run positional adjustment. So I am predicting a 4.2 WAR.

So yeah, according to my figures it’s about a fair deal. I can see that. However, that doesn’t make him worth. As I said before, it’s risky. He could pay off right now. The team is a World Series contender and he gives them a legitimate chance to win it all. Plus, he is still a quality player and will be worth $16mil in all likelihood. However, come 2014 and beyond, he could have the type of contract that Texas will be looking to unload.

As for Beltre, he proved patience is a virtue.