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Thread: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

  1. #61
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Posts like this one from RMR are hardly unenlightened. What's the counterargument?
    And I agree with what he was saying accept for the ultimate implied conclusion that the Cordero signing is a sound strategy. I've said many times that all rosters should be a blend of talent from in house player development, trade and FA. I've also written a lot on this subject concerning what might fall under the purview of a counter argument.
    Last edited by jojo; 11-27-2007 at 05:17 PM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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  3. #62
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Take a look at how many extra 1st and 2nd round picks the As have had in the 03-07 period. Lots. Basically they've garnered Street, Suzuki and Buck, all solid players, but they've really missed completely on a lot of premium picks. I disagree that 06 is off to a good start in the minors, and it's too soon to know on 07, though BA says their haul last year, which also included multiple high picks, lacked impact talent.

    I have a lot of respect for Beane, but I don't think he is going to draft better than most other teams most of the time. Not by a long shot.
    A) It should be noted that not all 1st round picks are created equal. A pick in the latter portion of the 1st round is a different animal than one in the top of the round. The A's extra picks have all been of the later variety.

    B) The A's definitely bonked in 2003.

    C) They did awfully well in 2004.

    D) The 2005 draft probably hinges on Cliff Pennington, who could rebound to join the A's other first rounder from that draft (Travis Buck) in the majors. The high school arms taken after them have been problematic.

    e) 2006 and 2007 look extremely strong for the A's so far.

    f) The A's had a ton of extra picks in 2002, the famous Moneyball draft. Of the 26 players taken in the latter portion of round 1 or the supplemental 1st round, 8 have turned out to be major league regulars. 3 of those 8 are A's picks.
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  4. #63
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    The standard has to be higher than "it's a good move if it makes your club better" because that standard is, I think, generally pretty impractical in the real world. There are probably a significant number of posters in the ORG (maybe even a super majority) that would disagree with that statement.
    Then what's the higher standard that should be employed?

    I would note that while I agree that you have to look past today, making your club better is a fairly practical real world concern, especially if you're trying to win your division in the upcoming season.
    Last edited by M2; 11-27-2007 at 07:28 PM.
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  5. #64
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    The standard has to be higher than "it's a good move if it makes your club better" because that standard is, I think, generally pretty impractical in the real world. There are probably a significant number of posters in the ORG (maybe even a super majority) that would disagree with that statement.

    We obviously come to the issue from different perspectives that will make it hard for us to convince the other on this and maybe some other issues. That, IMHO, is probably a good thing to have in a community like this one...
    I'm not sure I agree with that statement Jojo. Now clearly, the assessment of "make your team better" is a lot more nuanced than your phrasing implies. However, at the end of the day, I think that really is a fair standard.

    As I've stated many times over the last week, if this move prevents us from addressing other, more important issues, costs us talent elsewhere, or clearly the resources could've been spent elsewhere to better improve the team, etc., then it may be viewed as a poor move on balance. However, unless and until those counterpoints are made, I don't see how you can conclude otherwise.

    If anything, a monolithic statement of "paying a lot for a closer is bad" is what's "impractical in the real world." It doesn't get any more practical then addressing one of your greatest weaknesses.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    2006 and 2007 look extremely strong for the A's so far.
    Sorry, I fail to see that. Using BA top 20 lists for each of the rookie and A level leagues to which the As have sent their 06 and 07 draftees, we find the following:

    Arizona League -- 0 of 20 (only team to fail to place a propsect on the list)

    Northwest League -- 1 of 20 (#11 Corey Brown)

    Midwest League -- 1 of 20 (#19, former #1 pick Trevor Cahill)

    California League -- 1 of 20 (#17 Andrew Bailey)

    In my book that does not qualify the 06/07 drafts as anything but shaky at this point.

    A) It should be noted that not all 1st round picks are created equal. A pick in the latter portion of the 1st round is a different animal than one in the top of the round. The A's extra picks have all been of the later variety.
    Yet, most of these players have barely sniffed prospect status. Not a single one looks to be even a marginal guy at the major league level. In my opinion, that's weak drafting, especially when you're favoring "low risk" college ballplayers.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  7. #66
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    The standard has to be higher than "it's a good move if it makes your club better" because that standard is, I think, generally pretty impractical in the real world. There are probably a significant number of posters in the ORG (maybe even a super majority)
    I'm not sure I understand your argument correctly. . . You're saying one of two things:

    1.) Essentially, the Reds are doomed, they should stop trying to get better because adding wins (at the market price) is futile. In short: there's no hope.

    2.) Or you're saying that, in this particular circumstance, the Reds don't have enough talent to compete. Without *enough* talent, the Reds have no need to make incremental improvements, because it's hopeless.

    If that's what you're arguing, then you're saying the only option for real improvement is the big bang route. And if history is any indicator, then you're absolutely wrong in reaching that conclusion. There are many ways to build winning teams, via big changes or incremental improvements.

    Either way, the logic of your argument is flawed. . . And your assessment paints a hopeless picture for the Reds.

    Two additional issues:

    Regarding how "inefficient" it is to spend a lot of money on closers, I will paraphrase what one of my business school professors used to drill in our heads: "the goal of this company isn't to build the most efficient widget, the goal is to make money." I think that concept applies here. The goal isn't to build the most efficient baseball team, the goal is to win championships.

    Finally, I think RMR has posed an excellent question that you have successfully evaded--if you don't spend the money on building a better team (e.g., acquire Cordero), what do you do with it, other than not overspend on a closer??? Would you put it under the mattress? Park it in a Swiss Bank account? Invest in pork belly futures?
    Last edited by D-Man; 11-27-2007 at 10:34 PM.

  8. #67
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Using BA top 20 lists for each of the rookie and A level leagues to which the As have sent their 06 and 07 draftees
    BA's habitually missed on the A's.

    Trevor Cahill (2nd round pick, 1st overall for A's in 2006) - 3.42 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.00 K/9

    Jermaine Mitchell (rd. 5, 2006) - .288/.390/.413, 24 SB (how Drew Stubbs makes a top 20 and Mitchell doesn't should be considered material worthy of Congressional inquiry)

    Andrew Bailey (rd. 6, 2006) - 3.46 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 10.80 K/9

    Jason Fernandez (rd. 11, 2006) - 2.77 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.05 K/9

    Nice things are said about Ben Jukich (rd. 13, 2006) in these parts

    That's a pretty draft class, let alone one without a first round pick.

    Their 2007 class had a spectacular debut.

    Feel free to look up the debut stats of James Simmons, Corey Brown, Josh Horton, Grant Desme, Travis Banwart, Andrew Carignan and Michael Richard, but that's a nice debut class. It should be noted that Simmons and Banwart started off in full-season ball and the A's don't send many high draftees to the AZL (in the case of 2007 not a single one of their top 10 picks went there). My expectation is that Simmons, Horton and Banwart will climb onto some of those top 20 lists if they can build on their debuts.

    I've seen Reds fans make a lot more of a lot less.

    BA doesn't rate talent, it rates market value. The A's don't tend to have a lot of perceived market value in the system, but they continually churn out players. That's what they care about. They want players, not trading commodities. It's a fairly sensible approach for a team that doesn't have a lot of cash to spread around. I'll say it again. The A's 2002-2005 drafts have produced major league regulars. The Reds have yet to produce one from those drafts (which hopefully will change this year, but they're seven regular players behind at the moment).

    We'll see if the A's don't continue pumping out two players per draft, but my expectation is they'll continue doing what they've been doing.
    Last edited by M2; 11-27-2007 at 08:36 PM.
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  9. #68
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Completely ignoring the fact that the Reds have been trying to fill it ala Billy Taylor for quite some time... that's worked out well.
    Exactly. For every successful Oakland plans there are a lot of failed ones.
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  10. #69
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I think everyone would agree to varying extents that the Reds FO isn't the sharpest bunch of fellows relative to their peers and the organization probably wouldn't be in the top ten of a list ranking the best run mlb franchises from best to festering. Isn't this why some have been so giddy over the notion that Baker and Cordero signal a new approach?

    I agree with what you seem to be saying. Those changes do signal a new approach, it's just one that probably places them even farther behind the curve in the grand scheme of things (or in the very least should diminish hope that the Reds FO does "get it")...
    I disagree with you completly. Just because you don't agree with the moves or direction this club is heading in doesn't mean they aren't the sharpest bunch. I am sure Krivsky has a plan and is following that plan. He gets a lot of grief because he is very tight liped. Remember a few years ago when the Tigers FO was very much maligned. I also remember last season when the Rockies GM was extended and people were wondering why.

  11. #70
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I am sure Krivsky has a plan and is following that plan.
    Normally I'd disagree with that. Krivsky most certainly didn't have a plan in 2007. He might have had some fond hopes and wishes, but a plan? No.

    What separates this offseason, for me, is the Reds aren't going out and getting a percentage of what they want, they're going whole hog. No matter how anyone feels about Dusty Baker and Francisco Cordero, they are not compromise choices. It's creating some confidence, in me at least, that the front office understands what it needs to do to get where it wants to be. That's been absent in previous years.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  12. #71
    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    No matter how anyone feels about Dusty Baker and Francisco Cordero, they are not compromise choices. It's creating some confidence, in me at least, that the front office understands what it needs to do to get where it wants to be. That's been absent in previous years.
    I agree that they are not compromises, and this evidences some type of 'direction' or plan.

    My concern is that both moves are, IMHO, exactly the wrong direction. They are the anti-Moneyball, anti-stathead approach....a four year contract for $46 million for a 32 year old closer........a manager who thinks pitch counts mean nothing and doesn't understand OBP.....No thanks.

    If this new 'direction' works, and the Reds make the playoffs in '08 or '09, I will be thrilled, and more than a little puzzled. I will simply have to go back and re-examine what I think I know about how modern baseball works.

    So I am going to try to suspend my skepticism, and hope (and pray) that Wayne and Bob know what they are doing.
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  13. #72
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    a manager who thinks pitch counts mean nothing and doesn't understand OBP.....No thanks.
    Seriously, that quote despite its empty headness is not enough to wipe out the mans 40 years in the game... as for the pitch counts, Dick Pole was there too, he has to share some of the wrath.

  14. #73
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I agree that they are not compromises, and this evidences some type of 'direction' or plan.

    My concern is that both moves are, IMHO, exactly the wrong direction. They are the anti-Moneyball, anti-stathead approach....a four year contract for $46 million for a 32 year old closer........a manager who thinks pitch counts mean nothing and doesn't understand OBP.....No thanks.

    If this new 'direction' works, and the Reds make the playoffs in '08 or '09, I will be thrilled, and more than a little puzzled. I will simply have to go back and re-examine what I think I know about how modern baseball works.

    So I am going to try to suspend my skepticism, and hope (and pray) that Wayne and Bob know what they are doing.
    I think any approach can "work" for the short term. I'm not looking for a one hit wonder though. I want sustainable success.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  15. #74
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I agree that they are not compromises, and this evidences some type of 'direction' or plan.

    My concern is that both moves are, IMHO, exactly the wrong direction. They are the anti-Moneyball, anti-stathead approach....a four year contract for $46 million for a 32 year old closer........a manager who thinks pitch counts mean nothing and doesn't understand OBP.....No thanks.

    If this new 'direction' works, and the Reds make the playoffs in '08 or '09, I will be thrilled, and more than a little puzzled. I will simply have to go back and re-examine what I think I know about how modern baseball works.

    So I am going to try to suspend my skepticism, and hope (and pray) that Wayne and Bob know what they are doing.
    The Reds don't have a Moneyball organization. It would require a DNA transplant. Perhaps if this fails they'll rip everything up and start over, but you've got to allow that the folks in charge will be themselves.

    I'll go back to what I said when Baker was hired, at least this portends an earnest effort at old school.

    From a stathead approach, Cordero isn't hard to justify. There's one main way for the Reds to challenge for the division title: allow fewer runs. To do that, they've got to squeeze out bad middle relievers and punching bag starters. Cordero applies downward pressure on the bad pitching from the closer spot. Upward pressure has to come in the form of better starting pitchers.

    Maybe they won't get all the way there, but they certainly wouldn't if they didn't add someone who can do something akin to what Cordero can do in the closer role. This is how you attack the problem from a baseball standpoint.

    I'm all for skepticism. For instance, I'm not particularly sure the Reds will add all the necessary pieces (or if they even perceive the need to add those pieces). The franchise has made a habit of being satisfied with woefully insufficient squads. These guys could screw this up.

    Yet modern baseball works pretty much like baseball's always worked. Score more than you allow over the course of the season and you stand to have a winning record. I'll suggest the creators of Moneyball don't share the views of the Moneyball orthodoxy when it comes to how to achieve that.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  16. #75
    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Re: A smarter way to fill the closer position: The A's

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Seriously, that quote despite its empty headness is not enough to wipe out the mans 40 years in the game...
    Well, you are right and wrong.

    I will let my detailed critiques of Dusty Baker (that are posted in a couple of the threads right after he was hired) stand on their own. You are free to disagree, but saying Dusty 'thinks pitch counts are meaningless and that he soesn't understand OBP' is certainly not "empty headed". He routinely led the league in number of games his pitchers exceeded 120 pitches, even when he managed the Giants. He also has been quoted with several comments very critical of walks, and has had lead off hitters with low OBPs.

    But you are right that my comment unfairly diminshes Dusty's overall baseball rep. Just reading how Cordero valued hearing from Dusty, even though I am skeptical we got a good deal for Cordero, shows that Dusty Baker has a good reputation among many players. That will be very helpful.

    Baker also has a winning record, and that alone is worth a lot. If he can get the Reds turned around, I will be very happy.
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