Category: Dailies

Speaking of Contracts

Let’s talk about this for a moment.

Anyone who likes the idea of the Sean Casey extension should be subjected to Chinese water torture.

What are the facts about Casey?

  1. He’ll be 32 at the All-Star break. That’s old, even for a perennial All-Star, which he isn’t.
  2. He is, and has been, what he has shown us this year – a very excellent hitter when he is healthy. However, this is the 4th time in the 8 years since he became an everyday starter that he has missed at least one month due to injuries. He also has had several freak injuries (not necessarily in nature, but in occurence.
  3. He is making 8.5 million off his current contract.

I would have no problem giving Casey a multi-year extension if a) he was 28 or younger, b) he was a regular all-star, c) I could have any faith in his ability to stay healthy, d) we didnt have an obviously younger, better, and cheaper option.

If I’m GM of a team, it seems to only make sense that I would never, under any circumstances, give a contract longer than one year to a player who is over age 30 and has not been an all-star at least once.

Strike one.

If I’m GM of a team, there is no way I am going to give more than $5 million a year to a player who can’t guarantee me 140+ games a year. (In Casey’s situation, it isn’t that he can’t guarantee health, but that he can’t guarantee avoidance of injury.) Casey is the 5th highest paid 1st baseman in the NL, and 7th highest in the league. He could take a $2 million per year pay cut and he’d still be 5th and 7th highest, respectively. That’s ridiculous considering the production gap between himself and the 1B who are above him (and even immediately below him) on that list. Compared to other 1B around the league, he is grossly overpaid compared to his production (overall, not just this year).

Strike two.

If I’m a GM, I have Craig Wilson, who isn’t Derek Lee, but is at least above average defensively at 1B (and could only get better with regular reps), is an absolute monster against LHP, and in spite of his streakiness is a perfectly capable 25-90-280 type guy (the kind of guy you want to give a 3 year, $14 million deal to (thats a full mil a year raise for Craig). Even if the team has screwed Craig over to the point that keeping him might worsen his attitude, there are plenty of viable options available through free agency.

Strike three, DL is out?


Hey Dave!

Found an article our GM needs to read.

The Diamondbacks designated Russ Ortiz for assignment (akin to releasing him, since I don’t thing ayone is stupid enough to sign him).

Keith Law of Scouts Inc. presents a good explanation of the difference between "eating" a contract (what folks say ARI is doing) and a "sunk cost" (which is the real case) summary if you’re too lazy to read the article:

Basically, Russ Ortiz signed a 4 year, $33 million contract with Arizona prior to the 2005 season. It was, as with most large contracts, a guaranteed contract (3.5 million bonus, and escalating yearly amounts – 6.5/7/7.5/8.5 million). So the folks who say the Diamondbacks are eating his salary are wrong, the money was already spent. The moment that contract was signed, the Diamondbacks guaranteed Russ Ortiz that they would give him 3.5 million for signing the contract and 29.5 million over the next 4 years no matter what. So the D-backs payroll is the same today without Ortiz on the roster as it was yesterday. Ortiz will still get his 7 million this year AND his 16 million the next two years, no matter what. Therefore, whether he was on the team and pitching like **** or off the roster and playing golf, he gets paid. That is a sunk cost – the money is already gone. The D-backs make their payroll for the next two seasons with that $16 million already on the books.

Dave Littlefield could learn something from this. Granted, his sunk costs aren’t in the form of $20 million over the next 2 1/2 seasons, but it still exists. The $18.35 million (roughly $113,271 per game) being paid to Burnitz, Randa, Hernandez, and Casey is going to be paid to them no matter how well or poorly they play this year, so it’s silly to try and wait it out and see if they eventually play up to a level worthy of their salaries (and I think in Burnitz and Randa’s cases, and probably Jose K’s too, it’s fairly obvious as to whether or not that will happen). So if they are going to get paid no matter what, why not just cut the sunk cost and give someone else the roster spot (Boeve, DeCaster)? Because this is the Pirates, and they have no intention of admitting the mistakes until they can say "see? mistake taken care of, he’s not on the payroll"…which is kind of like having your little boy mess his pants, walk around with it all day, and then at the end of the day say "oh, that. well, all gone now!" – he can function with it there, but it will be an awkward burden, and one which is easily rectified.

Sweet, I just compared DL to a kid who pooped his pants. A banner journalistic day for me!

Just Call Me the Weatherman

Since I seem to have mastered the art of being mostly right half the time. Unfortunately, the bonafide, original Piratekiller Carpenter showed up (though, for our sake, the Card-killer Perez showed up too).

Today? Another game that was probably a bit more high scoring than we’d like, but a win is a win is a win, right? Things still stayed true to form, and the real Sidney Ponson showed up. I knew that 1.66 WHIP since May 1st and 1.94 WHIP his last 3 starts was a cavern that was going to collapse on him eventually. Duke got the old Snell treatment – he struggled all day, but got enough offense to snag a win (which is only fair considering the number of wins he should have).

1st star: Jose Castillo. Another multi-hit night for Jose, who is now (quietly? unexpectedly? finally?) at 10 HR, 38 RBI, .297 AVG (and .833 OPS in case you’re wondering). That’s a very impressive 25-93-.297 season if he manages to keep it up. Yes, that is a big if, but not an unrealistic one. Perhaps Jose’s night at the plate earned him that gift DP? Final line – 2-4, 2B HR 2R 4RBI

2nd star: Craig Wilson/Freddy Sanchez. Both managed two hits and three runs scored, which means Freddy earns another day starting and Craig moves a step closer to (insert team who is going to fleece us). Final line – 2-3, 2B(CW) 3R

3rd star: Jack Wilson/Zach Duke. Duke wasn’t really great on the mound, and the defense wanst a terrible help (most of his help came from Cardinals runners). But he made up for it at the plate, snagging two hits and probably more RBI than he’ll ever have again in a season. Wilson finally snapped an 0fer with an RBI single in the 5th. Final line – Duke- 2-3, 3 RBI  Wilson- 1-5, RBI

Anyone care to explain to me why it is that Burnitz played and played and struck out and played some more and struck out…..but Tracy gave Wilson a day off to ‘find himself’ after going 0-9?!?! Double standard, methinks.

Tomorrow? Not sure what to expect. Mark Mulder is capable of pitching like Carpenter did Tuesday, but he’s only been better than average once since May 1st. Matter of fact, subtract out Mulder’s one dominant start May 17th against the Mets, and since May 1st he is: 2-4, 7.90 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 21K & 17BB in 37 2/3 innings. He faced us in April and gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings in spite of allowing 10 baserunners, partly because randa and jose K were starting, partly because we hit into 4 inning ending double-plays.

Mulder is curious. In 2004, Mulder’s numbers (runs, earned runs, home runs) were all the worst they had been since his rookie year, a noticeable drop from previous seasons. Then last year Mulder posted his lowest K/BB and K/9 ratios since his rookie year. It was the 4th time he pitched 200+ innings, and the first time he didn’t reach 130 K’s…perhaps he’s tailing? I know a guy who has averaged 17 wins and a 3.50 ERA over the last 5 seasons doesn’t suddenly drop off a cliff at 28…but perhaps that injury in 2003 was more than what everyone made of it?

Anyways, here’s hoping the Mulder who has been showing up lately comes to the ballpark this afternoon against the Santos who has been showing up lately (how ironic that lately Mulder and Santos have been pitching like each other).

What a Day For a Daydream…

What a strange game today. We pulled off the 7-5 win, not against Jason Schmidt, but on a day that he pitched anyways, which is still a small victory in and of itself. Now, this wasn’t a great game by any means – we worked Schmidt well, made him throw 110 pitches in only six innings, but we also had bases loaded and either 1 or 0 out three times and didn’t really capitalize until the third try against Worrell (who pretty much had nothing today). BUT, a win is a win, Jose Bautista smacked the snot out of the ball twice, kept it fair once, and Paulie Walnuts was rough but good enough.

1st star: Jose Bautista. Almost gave it to Walnuts, but I had to give it to He of the Game Winning Salami. He cranked one off Schmidt that just drifted foul, then made sure the second time and planted it in left-center. This is the timely hitting that has been adrift at sea for so long. Final line – 2-5, 2B, HR, 4RBI

2nd star: Paul (ie Walnuts) Maholm. I probably should give Paulie the #1 star, since he went up against Jason Freaking Schmidt and held his own, and his line would have been more impressive without Freddy’s error. I dost believe the boy has arrived. Not at the same bus stop as Snell, but close. Final line – 6IP 8H 4R 3ER 4BB 7K

3rd star: Mike Gonzalez. Alright Cory, he earned the BOOM tonight. Three saves in a row, and second in a row under 10 pitches tonight. Final line – 1 IP, 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 1 K, SV (11)

Back home we come to play an equally mortal looking St. Louis Cardinals team that won tonight for the third time in their last 9 games.

Dead Men’s Tales (the new name for my notes)

  • We gave Brandon Duckworth to Kansas City for cash. Strange on many fronts. One: so yeah, we gave away a good pitcher that we didnt need but someone actually wanted, and got NOTHING in return. (unless that cash is at least 8 figures, it’s meaningless). Two: Kansas City immediately called up Duckworth this afternoon and sent down a rookie who they had just called up last Monday. Three: This means we might actually face a decent pitcher when we go to KC next week (though not likely).
  • The next 10 games are veeeeeeeeeery winnable for the Pirates. Assuming there are no major shifts in any opposing pitching rotations, here is what we’re looking at…
  1. Chris Carpenter – Will be making his second start (umbilical hernia) since coming off the DL – hasn’t really looked like Chris Carpenter lately. 1-2, 4.20 ERA, 1.57 WHIP in 5 starts since May 1st. He is also only one of two starters on this list averaging more than 4.5 K/9.
  2. Sidney Ponson – Best pitcher in STL’s rotation at this present moment…which is kind of sad. He is three starts removed from the DL. He isnt striking anyone out (23K’s and 18 BB’s in 48 1/2 IP), and with a 1.66 WHIP since May 1st and a 1.94 WHIP his last 3 starts, he’s probably more lucky than good.
  3. Mark Mulder – Normally, this would be "Mark Mulder. You know, THE Mark Mulder." However, this is now a guy who is 3-4 with a 6.56 ERA since May 1st, and has given up 22 runs in 14 innings in his last 3 starts.
  4. Carlos Silva – Silva was removed from the rotation in mid-May because he was pitching so horribly. Since returning to the rotation June 1st, he has been less awful, but has still given up 9 runs on 19 hits in 11 innings. He too, can’t strike anyone out, with 22 K’s in 64 IP.
  5. Boof Bonser – A rookie, I don’t know a ton about him except that Bob Walk finds his name awfully funny. Bonser is a reasonable comparison to both Noah Lowry and Matt Cain, and is probably closer to Cain than Lowry right now, if that tells you anything. Oh, and he doesnt strike anyone out, either. unfortunate edit: Bonser is being skipped, Liriano moved up to this spot, and followed by Johan Santana. Not even going to dusciss that one.
  6. Francisco Liriano – Probably the second* best pitcher we’ll face in this stretch, he just one-hit the Orioles over 7 innings tonight, upgrading him from just another rookie to asterisk on the schedule in my book. This is the best strikeout guy we’ll face, by far, unless Carpenter returns to form quick fast in a hurry. Yeah, it isn’t like he one-hit the White Sox, but this wasn’t KC either.
  7. Claudio Vargas – Held us to two runs on five hits through six innings last time we faced him, so I won’t just gloss over him in this rundown. However, he is pitching for an Arizona team that is on a 7 game losing streak, has been outscored 58-16 in those 7 games, and ahs committed at least one error in 6 of those 7 games. So we’ll check in on Vargas a little closer to the game.
  8. Mark Redman – Started the season hurt, and also spent a week on the bereavement list. When he has started, he has made 9 appearances, and his most recent outing (8IP, 9H, 2R vs TB) was only the third where he pitched 6+ innings and gave up less than 5 runs. 23 K’s, 20 BB’s, and 59H in 49 innings.
  9. Scott Elarton – Gave up 8 runs in 20 innings in his first three starts of the season. He has either given up 5+ runs or not made it out of the 5th inning 8 times in 10 starts since then. His line in that period? 60 2/3 66H 41R 39ER 27BB 24K.
  10. Mike Wood – Just recently moved into the rotation solidly, though that may change with the acquisition of Duckworth. He has made three starts totalling 14 1/3 innings, and 3 relief appearances of 4+ innings. He’s a homeless man’s Ryan Vogelsong. Yech. 19 K’s, 16 BB’s, and 54H in 41 2/3 innings.

Like I said, extremely winnable games. I predicted that, starting with the 4th game against Milwaukee, the Bucs would go 15-6 through June 21st. So far they are 6-5, and I think they have a reasonable shot at 13-8 over that stretch. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that Mulder, Liriano, and Redman are the only lefties in that group.

Goodnight, and Good Luck…

To all you bloggers out there, since I have entered my finaly month of existence on the blogosphere. A lack of readership, plus a disinterest in continued automatic fees, places me in the end position of being done with this blog. Good luck to all who continue forward. I have faith that Jake and Cory will take care of the Buccos for me.

Some Thoughts

Pitching pitching pitching….

I felt like crunching numbers:

Ian Snell

Season                6-3, 5.26 ERA, 56K, 26BB, 10HR, 65 IP, 7.75 K/9, 2.15 K/BB

Since April 17      6-2, 3.96 ERA, 48K, 20BB, 6HR, 50IP, 8.64 K/9, 2.4 K.BB

Since April 17*     6-1, 2.78 ERA, 48K, 18BB, 4HR, 48 2/3 IP 8.89 K/9, 2.67 K/BB

(*minus the Marlins game)

not too darn shabby, reasonable improvement being made, I think.

Paul Maholm

Season –            2-5, 4.57 ERA, 45K, 33BB, 6HR, 69IP, 5.87 K/9, 1.36 K/BB

Since April 24    2-2, 3.17 ERA, 36K, 20BB, 1HR, 48 1/3 IP, 6.71 K/9, 1.8 K/BB

once again, notice that whole improvement thingy.

Zach Duke

Season –            4-6, 4.25 ERA, 52K, 33BB, 10HR, 84 2/3 IP, 5.53 K/9, 1.58 K/BB

Since April 11    4-5, 3.91 ERA, 41K, 27BB, 7HR, 73 2/3 IP, 5.01 K/9, 1.52 K/BB

Since May 1       3-4, 3.46 ERA, 34K, 18BB, 5HR, 54IP, 5.67 K/9, 1.89 K/BB

more gradual, but still improvement.

I think I can be fairly happy with all these numbers considering, of course, that A) these guys are 25, 24, and 23 respectively and B) they had zilcho experience between the three of them before this year.

Heck, there’s even this!

Victor Santos

Season –             4-6, 4.50 ERA, 51K, 25BB, 8HR, 74IP, 6.2 K/9, 2.04 K/BB

Since April 15     3-4, 3.90 ERA, 41K, 19BB, 8HR, 60IP, 6.15 K/9, 2.15 K/BB

Once again, there’s that daggone improvement thing.

Matter of fact…simple addition…the Pirate’s rotation has a 3.79 ERA since April 27th, over which time the Pirates are 18-21. So perhaps we’ve been seeing the "real" Pirates since way back then?


Well, we did our damndest to lose again tonight, but for some reason the Giants just wouldn’t let us. Once again, the Pirates managed to face a pitcher who had absolutely nothing, and did almost nothing. Every player on this team should be having the kind of series Sean Casey is having. We managed to strike out 8 times against a starter who previously had 35 K’s in 71 innings, and more than 4 K’s once in his previous 11 starts. Oy vey.

1st star: Victor Santos. Look at that, top billing goes to the rotation again. Victor’s outing was excellent tonight (I use excellent instead of merely good since this is Victor Santos we’re talking about). He made several batters look stupid all night, and held on for win #4. Final line – 7IP 4H 2R 2ER 1BB 3K.

2nd star: Once again, Sean Casey. Sean went 4-4 to bring his two game total to 8-9. and he has scored? two runs. Again I say, you sure you don’t want this guy, Felipe? Sell! Sell! Sell! Final line – 4-4 1R 1RBI

3rd star: Matt Morris. He had absolutely no business putting up the line he did, plain and simple, but I commend him for it. Final line – 8IP 8H 3R 3ER 0BB 8K

Tomorrow we face Noah Lowry, the "other" phenom in the Giant’s system. He is now one month removed from the DL. He has not been consistently better than O.K., posting a 4.24 ERA, 15 K’s and 13 BB’s in 36 2/3 innings since returning. I hope for a win since he’s facing Snell, though it will very likely be another 3-2 game.

Sanchez hit behind Bay tonight. Maybe Tracy read my blog?

And I can’t wait to read Cory’s blog about how Mike "Here Comes the Blown Save" Gonzalez was awesome, when he was actually one bad bounce from blowing it. Another junk outing that he turned into a save somehow.