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2005-11-22 05:17
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

''Everybody in the game would love to have him," said a major league executive, who added that most teams stayed away from Beckett because they were unwilling to take on Lowell's salary. "He's got a plus fastball, a plus breaking ball, and a plus changeup, and he comes right at you. He's a horse."

..."I'll bet you that Lowell has a hell of a year," said a major league scout who has tracked both Lowell and Beckett since they broke into the big leagues. ''He got down on himself last year, but he's a great young man. In that park, he's going to hit a lot of balls off that Wall and over that Wall."
(Boston Globe)

As the Yankees find themselves coming up short in the free agent market, the Mets rolled out the red carpet for Billy Wagner yesterday and the Red Sox and Marlins were on the verge of closing a deal that would send erstwhile Yankee Mike Lowell, and power-pitcher Josh Beckett to Boston for three minor league players, including Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. Lowell makes a lot of money and had a terrible season last year, but he's also solid defender and maybe, just maybe, he will rebound hitting at Fenway Park. I've always been fond of the guy because of his Yankee roots and his steady demeanor. I saw him walk into Shea Stadium a few years ago, and in person, he's got the George Clooney vibe down pat.

Beckett still has two years before he becomes a free agent and is nothing short of a stud. He has shown flashes of greatness--as we Yankee fans remember all too well--but seven trips to the DL in the past four years has prevented him from staying on the field never mind becoming an elite pitcher. The potential is clearly there: I can easily see Beckett emerge as one the American League's best starters. His health has to be a concern, but he's not making an obscene amount of money and when he's right, Beckett will be handful for the rest of the league to deal with.

David Pinto opines:

So Boston has a new ace. I also take it that Bill Mueller is out of the picture. At this point I'd much rather have Mueller than Lowell. Mike's career took a big plunge in 2005, and I don't believe it's a fluke. Lowell came into 2005 a .277 career hitter. Given his 500 at bats, the 95% confidence interval for Mike's expected hits was 119 to 158. Mike banged out just 118 hits in 2005. Rather than just being bad luck, it looks like Lowell decline was real.

...Long term, this is a good deal for the Marlins. Beckett helps the Red Sox for the next few years (barring injury), but I'm afraid Lowell is going to prove to be useless. The Red Sox seem to be taking the path of winning now rather than rebuilding from within. Maybe that was the heart of the difference between Theo and Lucchino.

Rich Lederer adds:

I asked Jim Callis of Baseball America last night for his perspective on the trade. Jim follows the Red Sox closely and is an expert when it comes to evaluating young players. "Ramirez and Sanchez are two of Boston's four best prospects, along with Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester. There probably wasn't another team out there willing to give up a shortstop prospect and a starting pitching prospect combo as good as Ramirez and Sanchez."

...Despite parting with two of its best prospects, Jim thinks the trade is a good one for Boston. He has heard that Jesus Delgado might be the third minor leaguer in the deal. "Delgado is an interesting guy. He had Tommy John surgery and missed 2002-03. Works at 95 and hit 97-98 last year out of the 'pen in low-A. Good curve at times, not much of a changeup yet. Promising arm but far away. Not a bad third player if he's the guy."

...I believe more teams should be making these types of trades. Every team can't make a legitimate run at the World Series. Some need to retool for the future. If nothing else, transactions like this allow for lots of discussion and analysis. As for me, I think the Red Sox-Marlins trade can be summarized as follows: a Beckett and Lowell in hand beats three players in the bushes.

It is cold and rainy in New York, but there's a blister in the sun up in Boston. It's been a strange off-season thus far for Red Sox fans, but perhaps this will give them something to be thankful for come Turkey Day.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-11-22 06:32:33
1.   wsporter
I smell panic for the holidays. I foresee a distinguished looking older gentleman wearing a white turtleneck neath a blue blazer sitting on the mound at Legends Field holding his head in his hands, rocking to and fro chanting "serenity now, serenity now". He's forgotten his trousers. Oh my.
It will definitely not be a Festivus for the rest-of -us.
2005-11-22 06:35:43
2.   debris
Alex,

Lowell's steady decline?
2005: .658 ops
2004: .870
2003: .881
2002: .816
2001: .789
2000: .818

Where's the steady decline?

2005-11-22 06:40:23
3.   Alex Belth
Good call debris. That's my bad. Bit of sloppiness on my part. I'll correct that.
2005-11-22 06:42:17
4.   debris
To be remembered, while playing third base, the place Lowell takes in the Sox lineup is that which formerly belonged to Kevin Millar. Lowell is a huge upgrade there and he gives the team a big defensive boost, a sorely needed defensive boost.

Is he overpaid? Compared to Edgar Rentaria, Carl Pavano, and Jaret Wright, I'd say he's quite underpaid. Compared to some of the silly contracts about to be given to the handful of quality free agents in this off-season, again, he's probably not overpaid.

What do I, as a Sox fan, expect from Lowell. More than 2005, less than 2004-2003. Probably something like 2000-2002.

2005-11-22 07:02:01
5.   Shawn Clap
How can the GM-less Sox swing this Beckett deal, while we're stuck with Jose Veras and our overpaid Brian Cashman?

Theo Epstein must be rolling in his grave!

The only way to top this would be to wrestle Zach Duke away from Pittsburg for Womack and a player to-be-named-later.

2005-11-22 07:10:17
6.   Ben
Wow, this is a very good trade. So long as you're okay with trading young talent from the farm system, you've gotta like this if you're a sox fan. Becket is a better risk than any prospect, even with the injuries he does perform well on the majoy league level. And Lowel is an adequate replacement for Mueller, with potential +.

The only time I don't like trading lots of prospects is when it is for older talent, like Randy Johnson say. Just my gut reaction, not a condemnation of those kinds of deals. But when the recupe is a 25 year old pitcher, yes please.

2005-11-22 07:47:21
7.   david dean
As a Sox fan, I'm happy with this deal. Hanley was blocked (for better or worse) by an untradeable Renteria (who is likely to rebound anyway), and while Sanchez could be a great pitcher, if they had to trade one of their top pitching prospects, I'm happy it was him and not Lester or Papelbon.

I think a lot of Beckett's DL stints were blister-related, though he has had some worrying shoulder trouble. On the plus side, he has not been overworked, and he's only 25 (a year older than Papelbon, and less than 4 years older than Sanchez). If you're going to trade prospects for major league talent, Beckett is the type of guy to trade for.

All of a sudden, the Sox have a good stable of young power arms: Beckett, Papelbon, Lester, Delcarmen, and Hansen. Not too shabby.

2005-11-22 07:53:23
8.   Murray
Eh. Whatever. Beckett is Kerry Wood, but without the record of accomplishment.
2005-11-22 08:13:36
9.   Alex Belth
Our old pal Beth, isn't so wild about the Beckett deal:

http://confessionalpoet.typepad.com/cursed_to_first/2005/11/can_opener_chec.html

2005-11-22 08:54:48
10.   Upperdeck
Ramirez at 21 hit .271 with six homers and 52 RBI for Boston's Double-A team. That's a top prospect?
2005-11-22 08:59:47
11.   Zack
debris, curious for your opinion, though I suspect it will refute this :)

I can't see Beckett's #'s really increasing that dramatically. I think his ks will, and his innings, but he is moving from one of the best pitcher's parks in a weak hitting NL to an extreme hitters park in the power-laden AL. As we have seen, its not easy for most pitchers to come over and immediatly dominate, so if anything, I think it will def. take some adjustment. But that DH and those power lineups, I mean, even the Devil Rays can hit, might make a big difference...

Thoughts?

2005-11-22 09:03:16
12.   cooperjude
As a Marlin fan, I'm bummed about this deal, both in losing Beckett and in that this seems to be a harbinger of another major overhaul for the Marlins. It seems like we got good value in return, so we shall see.

As for Beckett, if I were a Sox fan, I'd be concerned about his shoulder and his fingers. His shoulder was little shaky at the end of the season, requiring him to do a longer warm-up before entering his games. And as for his fingers, the Marlin staff tried everything they could think of [including pickle juice] to correct his blister problem, but nothing worked consistently. Count on them returning next year, at least once.

2005-11-22 09:13:03
13.   Shaun P
Zack, I think you've got it right - the real question is can Beckett keep the ball in the park (presuming he stays healthy). It was easy to do in the pitchers' havens of the NL East, but the AL East parks don't play that way.

I think David Pinto is right, and Lowell is toast. He looked awful last year, and the dropoff from his '04 offense to his '05 was huge. If I understand it correctly, Lowell is the type of player who doesn't age well (go look at his PECOTA comparables going into 2005 if you can). Doesn't matter how hard you work, sometimes you just lose it (see Bret Boone, 2005). Like Alex, I always liked him for his Yankee roots. Ed frickin' Yarnell . . . sigh.

What really bugs me is that the Rangers were offering up an All-Star 3B and their best or 2nd best pitching prospect (Danks/Diamond). The Red Sox are giving up a guy who's been more hype than performance (Hanley) and their 3rd, maybe their 4th, best pitching prospect (behind Papelbon, Lester, and Abe Alvarez), and a potential sleeper pitcher. We'll have to wait and see how it turns out, but man, this looks like a Schilling-level fleecing to me. What is Florida thinking??

2005-11-22 09:34:54
14.   NetShrine
Loria and Henry have been strange bed fellows before.
2005-11-22 09:50:44
15.   JohnnyC
Loria's not in charge anymore, his ex-wife's son David Samson is the new head honcho. The Underground Railroad lives. Thanks to Uncle Bud. And Marlins fans, unless you hand over your tax dollars to build a new stadium, you can kiss your baseball team goodbye. Hello, Las Vegas...or Portland...or Mexico City. LOL!
2005-11-22 09:51:55
16.   JohnnyC
You know, Jose Vidro would look pretty good at 2nd base. Just an idea, Bud.
2005-11-22 09:55:35
17.   wsporter
Shaun P.
I think this has a lot of the feel of the Schilling deal, where Boston essentially gave up a bag of rusty nuts. That had the stench of Colangello despising the Boss because of the D. Wells shenanigans and sticking it to him. Looks like Mr. Henry just received the family discount from the Marlins. How much would the Marlins have had to pay Blalock who is already a solid Major League player? $850,000.00 - 2,500,000.00? Ramirez may be good but is he going to be better than Blaylock or even as good? Ramirez may force Gonzalez out of short and over to second if the Marlins move Castillo, so I guess that makes some sense. But is Ramirez better than Andino? Couldn't they have done the same thing with Andino, made the Texas deal and used Blaylock to replace Lowell at the corner? I had read that Texas had offered to include either Danks or Diamond (Dallas Morning News). They are at least on par with Sanchez and it's not hard to argue that they have better upsides. I just don't see this from the Marlin's POV. Larry Lu really cleared the monster out to Lansdown on this one. I think our boys have some very serious and careful thinking to do.
2005-11-22 09:58:11
18.   Dan M
When Loria still owned Montreal back in 2002, he had Cliff Floyd for about two weeks. He shopped him to the Yankees, but wanted Nick Johnson or Soriano, plus someone else. When the Yankees said GFY, he flipped him to the Sox for a bag of baseballs.
2005-11-22 10:14:04
19.   debris
Alex,

The problem with Beth's argument is that she claims the Sox are gutting the farm system. A farm system as stacked as the Sox' is now is not gutted by the trade of two guys. In fact, the Marlins are getting neither of the top two prospects, Lester and Papelbon. And behind them are Hansen, Delcarmen, Pedroia, and Martinez.

Also this is not trading Bagwell for two months of Larry Andersen. This is not a trade for a worn out Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson. Beckett is young, has two years before free agency, can be signed to a long term deal now, and is already a stud.

2005-11-22 10:18:06
20.   JohnnyC
Loria owned the Marlins in 2002, Henry was in his first year with Boston, Floyd was traded by Loria to the Expos (at the time owner-less and GMed by Omar Minaya) and then re-directed to Boston. Floyd was never offered to the Yankees (nor was there any interest in him particularly). It was "in the bag" all along. Just the first of many "convenient" transactions involving Uncle Bud's stewardship.
2005-11-22 10:22:54
21.   Alex Belth
Yo debris,

I appreciate your comments as well as your pleasure at the trade. But by bringing Brown and Johnson up, it sounds like you feel the need to diss the Yanks in the process of being happy for the Sox. If that's the case, dog, keep it to yourself. If not, then I don't mean to chide you. But I'm not exactly thrilled today, so bear in mind I'm not in the greatest of moods.
2005-11-22 10:23:01
22.   debris
Zack,

First off, Fenway is not an extreme hitters park. Since the construction of the 600 Club in the early '80s, a project that vastly changed the flow of the wind in Fenway, it has been a neutral park. That said, the 600 Club has been torn down and Fenway will be a very different place in 2006. What they do and how the winds will be affected remains to be seen.

That said, Beckett is certainly moving from an extreme pitcher's park to at least a neutral park, from a team with superb defense to a team that is only better, perhaps, than the Yankees, and to league with a DH. On the plus side, Beckett is also young and learning how to pitch.

Kevin Millwood won the AL ERA title this year. He would have finished 7th in the NL with the same numbers.

I don't expect Beckett, pitching in the AL for Boston, to put up the kind of numbers he put up in Florida. However, I still expect him to be a solid Number 1-2 guy for many years, to compete for Cy Young titles, and to appear in multiple All Star Games.

2005-11-22 10:23:38
23.   wsporter
I must say that I can't buy Beth's line of reasoning either. Ramirez is blocked and Sanchez is years away. They haven't "gutted" their farm system. They did trade three assets who will not perform for them at the major league level for several years. If we agree that the role of a Farm System is to support the major league team then the Sawx have employed their system to do precisely that. Additionally, they have placed themselves in a position that will allow them to move the Fat Man for prospects and allow them not to resign either Mueller or Millar who may sign somewhere as B or C class free agents. They get a young pitcher who does not have many miles on his arm yet who has good solid October experience. "If he develops" he'll be a top of the rotation stud for 10 years. Hell he's just about there. They also get a solid major league third baseman who appears to be as decent a human being as there is playing major league ball who may yet rediscover his All-Star stroke at Fenway. Who knows if or when those kids will pan out or at what level? I'm sorry I just can't buy into the doomsday view on this one Holy Cow, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
2005-11-22 10:28:07
24.   debris
Shaun,

I've never understood the hype behind Ramirez. It is all based on his athleticism and not on anything he's done on the field. He's also quite immature.

As for their other prospects, Sanchez is definitely held in lower regard than Lester and Papelbon. Abe Alvarez is a borderline prospect at best. They also have three superb bullpen prospects in Delcarmen, Hansen, and Martinez.

We also don't know the results, and won't for a little while, of the 2005 draft where Hansen was just one of the Sox 6, yes Six, picks in the First and Sandwich rounds. Theo played the Tender/Non-Tender game like a Maestro.

2005-11-22 10:37:07
25.   debris
Alex,

I brought up the names Brown and Johnson in the same breath as Bagwell. I could have chosen the names of any older players that were traded for prospects. Those were just the ones I grabbed.

The point is that the Sox acquired young talent for younger. And I might add, while Brown and Johnson may have been older pitchers in their decline years, they were starters with multiple years remaining; what the Sox got for Bagwell was a middle reliever for 8 weeks. And a three day trip to the playoffs. While Andersen for Bagwell wasn't quite Mathewson for Rusie or Brock for Broglio, it was a stinker for the ages.

2005-11-22 10:45:30
26.   Alex Belth
Point taken. What can I say, I'm feeling fragile.
2005-11-22 10:47:00
27.   Dan M
You're right JohnnyC, Loria was in Florida then. I was off a year. But it is a fact that Montreal offered Floyd to the Yankees for Nick Johnson and a prospect, and then asked for Juan Rivera and another prospect when the Yanks turned the first offer down. Steinbrenner almost got fined for saying something to the media about it.
2005-11-22 10:51:22
28.   Shaun P
debris, thanks for making my point even stronger. I understand giving up present value for future value, but man, what a joke of a trade on the Marlins' part.

JohnnyC, right on. I think in the old days that was called "syndicate baseball"; nowadays I think its known as "Bud lets his buddies do whatever they want".

Anyone else think that contraction is now imminent for the Marlins? By the time they're done, how many guys will they have under contract past 2006? I'm betting its zero. It'll be all kids, arb-eligible guys, and people who's contracts end when the '06 season does.

2005-11-22 11:04:26
29.   wsporter
It doesn't look like the Marlins are going to get that new stadium. I don't know about contraction but I could see a sale and move to Vegas or Portland maybe. Anyone have any idea about how much money the ownership group has invested, how much debt they are carrying and the value of the franchise? Without that new ball park they may not be able to stay. Sure smells like a panic driven strip down. M. Cabrera and the Isotopes just ain't gonna get it done in south Florida.
2005-11-22 11:04:30
30.   Simone
The Beckett trade is a good move for the Red Sox. Schilling is just about done as a starter so they needed the pitching. The whole "good stable of young arms" is of course an overstatement, but whatever.

Will Hanley Ramirez will ever live up to the hype? I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come close to all that Baseball America/Gammons hype suggest.

I do think there is something to the idea that the Marlins took a lesser deal from the Red Sox due to the Loria/Henry connection. According to the Dallas media, the Rangers gave in to all the Marlins' demands for Blalock and their top pitching prospect only to have the Marlins stiff them in favor of the lesser offerings from the Red Sox. In any case, Loria is just another scummy owner and it makes my heart warm that not even Jeb Bush's arm twisting can make Miami cough up a stadium for him.

2005-11-22 11:04:45
31.   Dimelo
There should be a special section where we have a 'Celebrity Death Match' of some type. Alex is pissed today, Debris is pouring salt on the wound. Let'em go at it. Tiger style....Wu Tang Clan ain't nothing to f- wit.

On another note, not all that great on the Sawx front though. Ortiz is saying Manny REALLY wants out.

http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/012371.php

2005-11-22 11:13:18
32.   Dan M
Lowell may or may not be better than a Mueller/Youk combo at 3rd in 2006, but I'll be happy to see Mueller on a different team. That way I won't break out into cold sweats when he faces Rivera with the tying run on.
2005-11-22 11:20:10
33.   wsporter
Alex:
I know what you mean about fragile man. I went without Novocain at the dentist this morning hoping it would take my mind off this disaster; under the theory that you can't feel pain in two places at once. What a load of crap that theory is. Now I'm miserable and sore, this sucks
2005-11-22 11:27:35
34.   Alex Belth
No novocain, yikes. You are a brave--crazy man. Yeah, when I'm feeling pissy and upset like this it reminds me of the Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner 2000 Year Old Man routine when Reiner asks Brooks what the first National Anthem was. To which, Brooks replies, "Let 'em all go to Hell, except Cave Seventy-Six!"

And to make matters worse, on a totally unlreated topic, Fox just cancelled "Arrested Development" which was really a pretty solid show. I was very high on the first season and not as enthusiastic about the second one, but some of the acting was terrific.

2005-11-22 11:43:47
35.   wsporter
There's an old story about a farmer who has a mule who won't stop kicking him. When his friend asked him why he didn't just sell the mule the farmer replied "because worrying about when the mule is going to kick me stops me from thinking about my wife" Maybe I'll by a mule.
2005-11-22 13:08:14
36.   brockdc
And to make matters worse, on a totally unlreated topic, Fox just cancelled "Arrested Development"

I really hope your kidding, Alex. How does such an intelligent, piss-your-pants funny show get canceled in its prime? Jeez, you just know they'll replace it with Who Wants to Marry a Rapist or something of that ilk.
The lowest common denominator wins again!

STEVE HOLT!!

2005-11-22 13:22:13
37.   Alex Belth
Unfortunately, I'm not. Fox ordered 13 episodes for season three and they're out. Sad to say.
2005-11-22 13:23:34
38.   Start Spreading the News
debris said "First off, Fenway is not an extreme hitters park. Since the construction of the 600 Club in the early '80s, a project that vastly changed the flow of the wind in Fenway, it has been a neutral park. "

Can you provide references for this? Every source I have found suggest that Fenway is a hitter's park.

1. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/attend.shtml
Look at the last column. It is not a ratio but two numbers: park factor for hitters and park factor for pitchers. Any factor over a 100 is in favor of the hitters. The data goes back to 1912 and shows Fenway to be consistently a hitter's park.

2. ESPN's park factor is calculated differently. But still you can see for yourself that Fenway is hitter friendly. For 2004, it was the MOST Hitter friendly park in MLB -ahead of Coors. Incidentally, it calculates Yankee Stadium as a very pitcher friendly park this year. Unfortunately ESPN only has data going back to 2001.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor

So I am wondering where you got your data from, especially the stuff about flow of wind at Fenway since the 80's.

As an aside:
The difference with Yankee Stadium being consistently a pitcher's park and Fenway being a hitter's park is intriguing in light of the recent MVP controversy. If we adjusted A-Rod's stats and Ortiz's stats accordingly, would the voting for MVP be as close as it was?

2005-11-22 14:31:34
39.   wsporter
Those park factor numbers have always bothered me a little. I wonder how really useful they are and how much they really tell us. It seems to me that most teams attempt to build a lineup that will take advantage of the unique characteristics of their particular park. By including home team runs scored and runs allowed or at least not attempting to smooth that data it seems that a bias is being built into the included data that will exaggerate the true properties of the park examined. The old Met teams were built around slick fielding, good pitching principals, Boston teams are always built to mash at Fenway, the Cardinal teams were built to run on turf when they had it. Those teams operate at their peak efficiency in their home park, at least they do in theory. Is a runs scored or allowed comparison with the visiting team, one that is not operating within an environment particularly suited to its characteristics, a particularly apt one given that factor? Additionally, not all teams are equally concerned with constructing lineups and staffs that will play to their home parks, I think rendering the data even less useful. Would employing only the visitor numbers provide a less biased measure? Is their a way to neutralize the home team's numbers? Has anyone looked at this? Maybe that's just the best that can be done. To paraphrase the old line, my sense is that Ortiz would put up monster power numbers in any park, including Yellowstone. I just can't particularly demonstrate it .
2005-11-22 14:44:17
40.   Zack
Wsporter, that is true to an extent. But, for example, here in San Diego, Petco Park plays a HUGE factor in games. Balls literally die in center field here, something about the wind, the stadium, and the size just cause balls to lose all momentum, its really impressive. And yes, teams do build their teams around the ballpark, but they do that BECAUSE of the park factor. There is no denying Yankee Stadium is a good place to be a lefty fly ball pitcher, and a not as good palce to be a righty one, and the Coors wouldn't be nearly as bad to a groundball pitcher. Similarly, there is no denying that Fenway Park favors the hitters, numbers or no. Its a small field, other than dead center, it has weird angles that create weird ricochets, and theres that monster. And debris, good point about the 600 club, with that gone, who knows what effect it will have.

And remember, Ortiz is a lefty, so Yankee Stadium would actually help such a dead pull hitter, or at least not have much of an impact. As far as I can tell, most of Ortiz's HRs go into that Bullpen area, which would be a HR in YS as well...

I agree, also, debris, that Beckett will have to adjust, but he is too good of a pitcher, in theory, to really suffer in the end.

And as for the conspiracy theory, I don't really buy it. I do believe that everyone works very hard at trying to fleece the Yanks, but hell, why shouldn't they?

2005-11-22 15:00:56
41.   debris
Start Spreading,

There are all sorts of metrics and people coming up with new things every day. More than I care to sort out. What I decided some time ago was that I would accept Baseball Prospectus as the ultimate arbiter and take everything they publish on faith, as I've better things to do than examine their formulae.

That said, their park factors for Fenway for the last four published years:

2004 - 1.040
2003 - 1.010
2002 - .996
2001 - 1.023

By those measures, Fenway is the slightest of hitter's parks. Batting averages are boosted by the lack of foul territory and the wall; home runs are suppressed by the wind currents and the deep power alley in right.

Mike Lowell's average should be helped tremendously, with a significant increase in doubles. If his stroke returns, he should bounce back to about .285 with 16-20 dingers. The park will cost him hrs.

2005-11-22 15:03:40
42.   standuptriple
I think it is a little too one-sided. There might be some validity to the conspiracy theory, but in the grand scheme of things I really don't see how anybody else could've topped the offer FLA received. It makes me wonder how "crazy" this firesale will get.
2005-11-22 15:06:18
43.   debris
For the most part, distances to the fence are the smaller factor in how a park plays than is the wind. The Oakland Coliseum, or whatever they're calling it now, is a launching pad by day, Death Valley by night. I believe the Big A in Los Anaheim plays similarly.

Bucky Bleeping Dent's pop fly in 1978 would have been caught in front of the warning track in the last 20 years. It might be a home run again next year after the new construction. (Actually, it would have been a pop fly had he hit it 10 minutes earlier.)

The amount of foul territory in a ballpark is also a big factor, which is why I sense Lowell, should 2005 have been a fluke, should hit higher than his career average.

2005-11-22 15:09:47
44.   strangeluck
For those asking why the Yankees can't pull of this deal, consider what their comparable package would be:

Anibal Sanchez = Phillip Hughes
Hanley Ramirez = Eric Duncan
Jesus Delgado = There isn't really a good comp here, but lets just say Edgar Soto

Even though this really isn't as good a package as Boston's, it seems like too high a price for the Yankees to me.

2005-11-22 15:14:27
45.   wsporter
Zack
Thanks for thinking about that. My question I guess is for example: is the short left field porch the definition of the "Park Factor" at Yankee Stadium or a characteristic of that park that leads to a measured "Park Factor" based on the way the team is built. I guess I'm suggesting that there is some existent autocorrelation when you examine it from that point of view. Thanks again, BTW the weather here sucks, San Diego sounds pretty good.
2005-11-22 15:29:56
46.   standuptriple
Any reason why Mitch Jones is never mentioned in deals? I'm thinking maybe because of his age, but he's wasting away in AAA.
2005-11-22 16:01:53
47.   randym77
Geez, what's Manny's problem with Boston?
2005-11-22 16:13:52
48.   Zack
wsporter...I would imagine, IMO, that it is more of the latter, but it really I guess depends on how park factor is constructed. Obviously if it is just runs scored and against or something similar, well that isn't the best stat. A good references is here:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/parkadjust.shtml

That being said, I think that the way a team constructs their lineups and rotation should also be considered. Boston, as you have said and we all know, has often been built around the ability to mash at home, and if you look at the road/home splits, its proves that the team, for many reasons, plays to that factor. Yankee Stadium favors and attracks lefty pull hitters, and the Polo Grounds favored either pull hitters, and murdered everything else. So while ESPN's park factor says that Minute Maid Park was the most extreme pitcher's park, and Comerica and Fenway were closer to average, I think you have to take it with a grain of salt, as you do. Obviously, minute Maid is a result of the pitchers who pitched there this season, and Comerica a result of the way the Tigers have been constructed as opposed to the averageness of its park...

2005-11-22 16:40:05
49.   Start Spreading the News
The ESPN way of calculating Park Factor:
Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road.
A rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter. Below 1.000 favors the pitcher.
PF = ((homeRS + homeRA)/(homeG)) / ((roadRS + roadRA)/(roadG))

I would say this is more a measure of how well the team performs at home vs road which would include the bias of the stadium.

I would be curious about Baseball Prospectus' definition of park adjustment. Debris or anyone else have a link to their formula? Hey! It's a long off-season...

2005-11-22 21:31:46
50.   Zack
Buster Olney's article on ESPN.com actually makes me very happy, for once:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=olney_buster&id=2233264

Its always nice to get as many reassurances as humanly possible that the Yanks really are heading in this direction...

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-11-23 05:31:02
51.   wsporter
Hey I'm with you Zack. It looks like the prevailing opinion in the papers seems to be that the Yankees will conserve their young talent and spend to their needs. Buster Olney's piece about it at ESPN is reassuring. OK I think most of us drank the Cool-Aide on this a while ago: lets not worry about what Boston does. We can tweak what we have by improving the Pen and addressing Center Field. We can get younger and faster. We'll remain super competitive during the regular season and become more competitive during October. Plus, I guess somebody's gonna have to pay for that new stadium. There, now I feel better already.
2005-11-23 06:11:32
52.   debris
I think the Yanks are in for a rough stretch, but, that said, they are doing what they need to do to compete well into the future. If you look at the successful Yankee teams of the last decade, while they were fronted in the starting rotation by pricey free agents, the core of the team was put together with shrewd trades (O'Neill, Brosius, Tino) and a strong core of players developed in house (Posada, Jeter, Williams, Pettitte, Mendoza, Rivera.) To me, that is clearly the direction they need to take now.

I don't think they'll have any trouble scoring runs, but I don't see how they'll prevent runs. The starting rotation is shaky from top to bottom, with age and infirmity, and the bullpen is thinner than thin.

That said, their current refusal to part with the few prospects and quality young players they have as they begin to rebuild their farm system is certainly in their best interests.

The problem they have, a problem the Red Sox also face, is that their fan base is impatient and expects the team to contend each and every year. Of course, their wise refusal to part with Hughes, Duncan, Wang, and Cano combined with a thin free agent crop along with their desire to cut payroll, means they're going to have a hard time plugging their holes this winter.

My best guess is that they will bite the bullet on one front and sign Johnny Damon to a silly contract. As for the Bostons, I think they'd sooner bite the bullet the other way and deal Boomer for Dave Roberts and play him in center rather than overpay Damon.

Manny? My best guess is that he returns to Boston. They're not going to eat any of his contract, they're not going to get full value for him, and they need him. If he doesn't show up for Spring Training, as Ortiz suggested yesterday, he doesn't get paid.

2005-11-23 07:42:07
53.   cooperjude
Not that I'm overjoyed by any stretch of the imagination about this trade, I'd like to make a few points from the Marlins' perspective [at least a fan's perspective]:

1. Hanley Ramirez is the Marlins' starting SS, effective immediately. Alex Gonzalez will not be signed. Either Robert Andino or Alfredo Almezaga will back him up. I know you'll join with me when I say: NL PITCHERS BEWARE!!!

2. Blalock would have never stayed at Florida anyway. The Marlins have already pencilled in Miguel Cabrera as their starting 3B. In the OF, he was slow, rarely made a good break on a ball, and had an average arm. In the IF, he's quick, agile, and has a cannon.

My guess for the Marlins' 2006 starting lineup is as follows:

1B-Jacobs
2B-Castillo (probably wrong; could be Joe Dillon]
3B-Cabrera
SS-Ramirez
LF-Conine [also probably wrong]
CF-Aguila [or if the Cubs' rumors are to be believed, Corey Patterson]
RF-Hermida
C-Willingham

SPs: Willis, Vargas, Olsen, J. Johnson, and either one of the prospects or perhaps Valdes or Moehler.

An interesting team, but not a very good one on paper, at least at this point in time.

2005-11-23 07:57:54
54.   Zack
debris,
As I am sure you would, if 1 year or two of the Yanks not making the playoffs gives us ten more years like the last ten years, and a smaller initial fan base comprised of the types who post on here, I'll take it! Especially if those two years consist of getting to see our kids play. I think the success of Cano and Wang and how much the fans responded to them specifically because they were from the farm, opened at least Swindell's eyes...
2005-11-23 11:29:28
55.   debris
Zack,

My sense is that even going that route, with what they've got, the Yanks would still win in the 85-92 range, still compete, but be somewhat less than guaranteed a trip to the post-season. I don't see where they'd draw fewer fans or generate less revenue in any way.

2005-11-23 11:55:53
56.   joejoejoe
Cashman in today's NYT:
"We've learned over time that when you have pieces that are working here in New York, don't waste your time trying to upgrade something that works," Cashman said yesterday. "Spend your time working on areas that need to be addressed. We're going to embrace the guys we know can thrive in this environment."

I think watching swapping the roster spots of Leiber and El Duque for Pavano and Wright finally woke up some people in the Yankees organization. Not every player can hack it in NY and slight upgrades on paper often blow up when people can't stand the scruting in NY.

2005-11-23 20:31:10
57.   brockdc
I agree that the profligate spending of the past few off-seasons has been ill-advised. But I have no problem with the Yanks addressing their GLARING needs, one of which just so happens to be the pen.

They will not sniff 90 wins if the relief corps doesn't markedly improve. Installing Sturtz or Farnsworth as the possible set-up, followed by the usual palett of assorted mystery meat for long-relief and mop-up does not exactly sound like a recipe for success to me.

There's no excuse for this team's success to be perenially undermined by its feckless bullpen.

2005-11-23 20:32:24
58.   brockdc
Oh, yeah: Howry's off the board.
2005-11-23 21:14:58
59.   wsporter
brockdc

Freaking feckless bullpen man. Mighty freaking feckless.

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