Originally Posted by FlightRick
Oh my: a bunch of snippets of things I said taken out of context and assembled all in a row to misrepresent the main thrust of my comments. I... I.... I feel so.... Dusty-Baker-like.
But seriously: if I'd intended to be rude or condescending, you'd have known it. I'd have actually mentioned your screenname, specifically, and described a detailed account of how I believe the literal truth of a scenario in which you and the potted plant in your family room would tie at Scrabble 9 times out of 10. This, of course, would be foolish and pointless.
What's not foolish or pointless, however, is separating the idea from the person, and rigorously examining it. A good, informative, and entertaining debate will be passionate, but tempered by a slavish devotion to facts and evidence (both in presenting ones own case, and accepting and sythesizing the evidence presented by others). And sure: that's going to result in some prickliness. But hey: that's the fun of it.
What can I say: I refuse to accept "The sky is green, that's my opinion, and you have to respect it" as a valid stance, and I can't imagine anything more boring than watering down my wordsmithery to the point of resembling Ned Flanders. And I'm more than fine with getting as good as I give.
Well, then, I guess we agree in principle. Kind of. We agree that Arroyo has been good the past two years. And we'd agree that if Arroyo could be known to be in immediate decline to the point of below-average-ness, it'd be wise to unload him.
But then there's that pesky logical connector that we differ on. You hold onto a subjective belief in Arroyo's regression being real and significant. I hold onto the belief that there is no objective, statistical evidence for this, and the "eye-ball test" of Arroyo in 2008 yields little "actionable" information. If anything, he's been effective in two starts out of three, with a downright awful outing in the third.
But then there's the issue of the sample size being small to the point of uselessness, but coupled with the fact that if you DO want to look deeper into the numbers, there are maybe some disturbing trends. Like Arroyo's pitches-per-plate appearance is the highest it's ever been in his career (and his strike rate the lowest)... if that's just the small sample size (and the crappy umpire last Monday, who squeezed Arroyo mercilessly, to the point of forcing Arroyo to groove one of his pitches right down Broadway in hopes of getting a strike call, only to see it jacked out of the park), then no big deal. But if it's a bona fide trend? And if my theory is that Arroyo is damned effective at getting Quality Starts and putting his team in good shape to win games but ONLY IF you monitor his pitch count? Then Arroyo's loss of pitch efficiency would be a bad thing.
Still: I'm far from prepared to make that leap of faith, when there's so little data so far for this year, and anecdotal evidence that his only poor start may have been affected by an umpire with a strike zone that was criminally small (at least, until Valentin's final at-bat of the game).
If I used those terms, perhaps it was unwise of me; though I mean them descriptively and not prejoratively, I acknowledge that "filler" and "fodder" come with connotations of a (negative) value judgment.
What I meant was this: Arroyo is, and with a four year track record on his side he projects to be for several more years, an every-fifth-day starting pitcher. The players you suggested getting in return for Arroyo have no track record of getting even 250 ABs in a season (or 60 IP in high leverage situations, in the case of the reliever).
You counter with the "change of scenery and they'll blossom" argument, which is all well and good if that's what you believe. All I can do is counter with what is a factual matter of record. And what's on record is that Spillborghs is a 28 or 29 year old 4th OF (with splits that indicate he's more like a 6th OF against right hand pitching, and that he's about twice as productive at Coors Field than anywhere else)... that Iannetta is an intriguing enough prospect to Reds fans, but only because of the sucktastic nature of our current catchers (Iannetta's probably a better options, especially going forward, than Valentin or Bako, but is a coin flip with Ross; Ross has a tinch more power, Iannetta hits better for average, it seems)..... and that Newman posted highly intriguing numbers in the low minors (especially his K rate), but that was mostly in cases where he was "old" for the league; with his numbers the last two years, there's no reason to suspect he'd be any less "blocked" or "annoyed with the scenery" with the Reds (who have actually got some decent young power relievers at AA and AAA) than he is in Colorado.
And therein lies the beauty of baseball: I may feel pretty confident that this trade proposal amounts to the Reds getting utterly fleeced... but there are just enough instances of the "change of scenery" argument coming true that (short of me actually buying the Reds and inserting all three Rockies as full-time, everyday players just out of spite and to prove you wrong) there's no way I can prove my unimpeachable, certifiable, scientific, logical superiority in this matter.
C'est la vie, I guess.
I'll still stick to my guns on the "three role players cannot ever possibly equal the value of one above-average full-time player" thing, though. I doubt there's a stat or equation to prove it, but just think about it this way: we're giving up Arroyo, and we have nothing in-house and are receiving nothing in this trade that would count as adequate replacement for him. [Going back to Quality Starts, we lose the likelihood of 20 of them when Arroyo leaves, and what are we left with? Fogg, who had a "career year" in 2007, only posted 12 of them. Also just 12 for Belisle, who many think of as a legit #3. Volquez? Only has 3 of them in 19 career starts, including zero so far in 2008. Bailey? Got 1 out of 6 last year. Yes, there is potential in there, but nothing I'd wager on producing as well as Arroyo.]
And for the privilege of giving up Arroyo's production and not being able to replace it, our return is three guys for whom there are no real prospects for producing on a regular basis or outside of niche situations. The best chances would be Iannetta's, if he proves himself capable enough of holding down 400 ABs for a couple of years as a "bridge" between the end of Ross and (hopefully) the emergence of Mesarasco or somebody who doesn't suck.
Those numbers just don't add up, unless you operate under the assumption that Arroyo regresses so badly that he's legitimately below league-average, or is a risk to be injured and make fewer than 15 starts in all of the next three seasons.
I figured as much. He's the only player of the 3 you mention I was unfamiliar with, so I had to look him up, and once I saw he was from Ohio, I put last name with screenname, and made an assumption or two...
As noted above, the "current" numbers are as yet meaningless, really. And two data points isn't enough to count as a "trend." Especially when I went to great lengths to provide an explanation for how the 2007 numbers were a preventable mistake and an anomoly moreso than indicative of the start of a linear trend.
Tell you what: I recognize that suggesting Arroyo would exactly duplicate his past two years feats for the next three years was probably a bit of hyperbolic rhetoric on my part... but in the name of standing behind my rhetoric (which is the finest in all the land), I'll agree to a modified wager. Instead of QS as a "counting stat," let's give me a bit of protection in the case of injury, and use Percent of Quality Starts.
Conveniently enough, a fully healthy Arroyo would probably make almost exactly 100 starts in three full seasons, so we can just keep the same number: a QS% of 65% is what I'll boldly prognosticate!
I anxiously await October 1, 2010.