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Thread: What If Pujols...

  1. #16
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    sigh.. you are putting words in my mouth. I never objected to saying Bench was the greatest at his position, I just don't think it is as close and shut case as Reds fans make it out to be. I think an argument for Ivan can be made. That was my only point. As much as a homer I am for the Cards, Pujols is not the greatest 1st baseman of all time, yet. That still belongs to Lou Gehrig and it will take quite an achievement from Pujols to surpass him.

    Also, I never said that Pujols isn't declining. I was mainly disputing the Griffey comparison as the gold standard to judge a player in his 30's and there might be several other factors to why he is having an unusually down season. He might be declining, he might not be. I'm reserving judgment on that until at least next year when the contract talks have subsided and if he has another "down" year next year. Never said he wasn't declining though.
    Hey Mike. Sorry if I tweaked a nerve with you there. I was trying to make a joke in that the first point I read from you in a while managed to (please don't dissect my words here) question Bench's greatness to a degree and attempt to rule out Pujols' decline. It wasn't a positive statement for Bench for sure, and it wasn't a negative one for Pujols. My beerme symbol was meant to show the lightheartness, but that failed. Sorry.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    As with so many contracts at this stage in a player's career... it won't be the salary, it will be the length that hamstrings his suitor.

    If I were Vegas, I'd give the Cards the edge with the Cubs and Brewers (if Prince signs first, elsewhere) slightly farther behind. Which will only inflate the contract.

    Which will only help the rest of the Central in the long-term (and possibly short-term if said club can't resign its other important pieces).
    I have a love-hate relationship with Albert Pujols. Mostly hate.

  4. #18
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Its all good Kal, I was just up early this morning and probably a bit tired, lol.


    Which will only help the rest of the Central in the long-term (and possibly short-term if said club can't resign its other important pieces).
    I was sort of thinking about this the other day. How does signing Pujols affect the Cardinals compared to the rest of the NL Central going forward after this year? I see this division continuing to be a rather weak division for the next couple of years. Houston is lightyears from competing, the Cubs look like they are trying to build up some sort of farm system and waiting for bad contracts to expire, the Pirates have some nice pieces but they are a ways off, Milwaukee might be successful this year but their moves have destroyed their farm system and their team might start to decline after Fielder has gone. The Reds are intriguing but it looks like they will continue the whole "wait for prospects to mature" approach instead of infusing the team with a mixture of prospects and quality free agents. Even if the Cards sign Pujols to a large contract, they will still be competitive in a division where all the teams, including the Cardinals, have question marks going forward well into the decade.
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  5. #19
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Bench's career OPS+ adjusted for park: 126
    I-Rod's career OPS+ adjusted for park: 106

    Bench had 78 more homers in nearly 2,000 fewer plate appearances and unlike I-Rod, played outside of a steroid era and didn't get the benefit of playing in too many homer-happy parks that started popping up in the 90s.

    I think it's a pretty open-and-shut case.

    As far as Pujols, I don't care what he's been, I only care what he's likely to be going forward. At 31 years old, it's just not prudent to expect his level of production for too many more years. The system of free agency in baseball is backwards in that it rewards too many players for what they've done and not what they're going to do. Signing Pujols for too big a contract is simply going to reward him for being a great Cardinal and not for being a great Red. He may not fall off a cliff, but I wouldn't anticipate more than 2-3 more Pujols-like years out of him.
    Last edited by Brutus; 08-23-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I have been gone for several weeks now do to real life issues but this thread caught my eye. I think an argument can be made for Ivan Rodriguez. Not only is his batting average better than Bench, Rodriguez is arguably the best defensive catcher in the history of the game. They played in different eras so the whole "who is better" argument is hard to determine. I also think that Gary Carter is overlooked as well.

    What's this batting average you speak off? You are basing offensive ability based on this? FWIW, Bench had a superior OBA .

    Are you basing defensive abilty on fielding average too?

    And Gary Carter is overlooked in the arguments of best catcher ever for a reason.
    Last edited by PuffyPig; 08-23-2011 at 12:30 PM.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    As far as Pujols goes, Puffy is right to bring up some of those issues but I think you also have to weigh what has happened to offense on a whole in the past five years. Offense, baseball wide, continues to decline and it begs the question, is Pujols declining or is it just pitching continuing to become a dominant factor in the game. This could be the first year in a long time where the NL leader in home runs doesn't achieve a 40 home run season. Granted, home runs are not the end all when discussing the decline in offense league wide but it certainly is a stat of note. Also, I think what you have to take into account is that Pujols had a horrible two months at the beginning of the season but since June, he has hit to about his norm. I don't think one down year (or two bad months) is an indication that a player is starting to decline.

    Also, I think one factor in Pujols not walking as much is that there is a lot of protection behind him with Holliday and Berkman, which is something he hasn't had since the 04 season. Pitchers are pitching to him more this season rather than intentionally walking him or pitching around him than in other years. I also think that Pujols would thrive even more in a hitters park like GABP so even if he is "declining", adjusting for ballpark he might do well.
    Firstly, I get it that offense has declined, but Pujols has gone from the very top every year in WAR to about 30th in the majors. That's a ranking stat, so decline in offense won't affect it.

    Secondly, you would think that if pitchers are pitching to Pujols more, giving him better pitches to hit as they don't want to walk him, his walks would decline and his hitting would improve.

    Instead, his walks are cut in half, and his hitting has also declined.

    The first indication of a hitting decline is that pitchers are pitching to you more often. We saw it with Griffey, and when he couldn't produce more offensive when they pitched to him, it was very telling.

    When you watch the Cards play these days, pitchers are pitching to Pujols and pitching around Berkman.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    What's this batting average you speak off? You are basing offensive ability based on this? FWIW, Bench had a superior OBA .

    Are you basing defensive abilty on fielding average too?

    And Gary Carter is overlooked in the arguments of best catcher ever for a reason.
    Playing w/ a perm disqualifies him immediately from any best-ever discussions.
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  9. #23
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    What's this batting average you speak off? You are basing offensive ability based on this? FWIW, Bench had a superior OBA .

    Are you basing defensive abilty on fielding average too?

    And Gary Carter is overlooked in the arguments of best catcher ever for a reason.
    Bench's OBP is just nine points higher than Rodriguez so its not exactly like comparing Pujols OBP to Bench's. I'm also taking defense into account in this debate. Bench was an brilliant defensive catcher but Rodriguez might be the greatest defensive catcher in the history of the game. The thing with Ivan is that he is pretty much played Catcher his whole career where as Bench played other positions including in his last days where he mostly played first base and third base. If the question is "who is the best catcher in the history of the game", longevity at that position has to be taken into account. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Bench isn't the greatest catcher in the history of the game, my point was that there is an argument to be made that Rodriguez is and it isn't as much as a shut case as it is being made out to be here. Granted, I know it will fall on a lot of deaf ears here considering this is a Reds forum so its difficult for some to be objective about the topic.

    Puffy, I know Pujols WAR is down this year but I find it hard to believe that he goes from the best hitter in the game to just an above average player in the span of one season. I think there were some goofy circumstances this season (broken forearm, first free agency coming up, bad first two months, etc) that play into it. Since the All Star break, Pujols has led the Cards in WAR and has looked like his old self.
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  10. #24
    Mr. Underhill signalhome's Avatar
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Bench's OBP is just nine points higher than Rodriguez so its not exactly like comparing Pujols OBP to Bench's. I'm also taking defense into account in this debate. Bench was an brilliant defensive catcher but Rodriguez might be the greatest defensive catcher in the history of the game. The thing with Ivan is that he is pretty much played Catcher his whole career where as Bench played other positions including in his last days where he mostly played first base and third base. If the question is "who is the best catcher in the history of the game", longevity at that position has to be taken into account. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Bench isn't the greatest catcher in the history of the game, my point was that there is an argument to be made that Rodriguez is and it isn't as much as a shut case as it is being made out to be here. Granted, I know it will fall on a lot of deaf ears here considering this is a Reds forum so its difficult for some to be objective about the topic.
    Their OBPs are similar, but they played in completely different eras. If we look at wRC+, which is both league and park adjusted and based on wOBA, we get a completely different story. Bench posted a 125 wRC+ for his career, whereas Rodriguez comes in at 104 wRC+. Bench was 25% above average offensively for his career, whereas Rodriguez was only 4% above average. WAR is also very much in Bench's favor. Their overall WAR is reasonably close (81.5 for Bench, 73.4 for Rodriguez), but you have to consider that Bench played in roughly 400 fewer games over his career. When we adjust this to a per 162 games number, again, we get a much clearer picture. Bench's WAR/162 is 6.2, where Rodriguez weighs in at 4.7. You can make the argument that Rodriguez's improved longevity should be factored in when determining who should be named the best catcher of all time, but given the fact that Bench was much more effective on a per game basis and still put up a higher career WAR despite playing in 400 fewer games, I do, indeed, think it's a pretty open-and-shut case.

    I'd even argue that Piazza was better than Rodriguez. His overall WAR comes out a bit lower (66.7 to Pudge's 73.4), but he played in roughly 600 fewer games than Pudge. Piazza's WAR/162 comes out to 5.7, even with his horrid defense. The guy was a beast at the plate.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Bench's OBP is just nine points higher than Rodriguez so its not exactly like comparing Pujols OBP to Bench's.
    Well, considering that the only offensive category where Rodriquez distinquished himself is "getting on base', it's relevant that he still trailed Bench.

    Bench was an exceptional hitter his whole career, Rodriquez was a very good hitter "for a catcher".

    Apples and oranges.

    And IMO Bench set the standard for defensive catchers. He doesn't take a back seat to anyone.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Puffy, I know Pujols WAR is down this year but I find it hard to believe that he goes from the best hitter in the game to just an above average player in the span of one season. I think there were some goofy circumstances this season (broken forearm, first free agency coming up, bad first two months, etc) that play into it. Since the All Star break, Pujols has led the Cards in WAR and has looked like his old self.
    I"m not suggestuing that Pujols is washed up or anything.

    But his continuing lack of walks will affect his OBA an exceptionally amount.

    Right now, he's more Jay Bruce than Joey Votto. Until his walks reappear, it will likely stay that way. It was Pujols walks (which added 100 points to his OBA) which separated him from the pack.

  13. #27
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Bench's OBP is just nine points higher than Rodriguez so its not exactly like comparing Pujols OBP to Bench's. I'm also taking defense into account in this debate. Bench was an brilliant defensive catcher but Rodriguez might be the greatest defensive catcher in the history of the game. The thing with Ivan is that he is pretty much played Catcher his whole career where as Bench played other positions including in his last days where he mostly played first base and third base. If the question is "who is the best catcher in the history of the game", longevity at that position has to be taken into account. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Bench isn't the greatest catcher in the history of the game, my point was that there is an argument to be made that Rodriguez is and it isn't as much as a shut case as it is being made out to be here. Granted, I know it will fall on a lot of deaf ears here considering this is a Reds forum so its difficult for some to be objective about the topic.

    Puffy, I know Pujols WAR is down this year but I find it hard to believe that he goes from the best hitter in the game to just an above average player in the span of one season. I think there were some goofy circumstances this season (broken forearm, first free agency coming up, bad first two months, etc) that play into it. Since the All Star break, Pujols has led the Cards in WAR and has looked like his old self.
    I believe that Yogi Berra has a better case than Ivan Rodriguez. Taking nothing away from Pudge, I just can't put him on the level with the others due to his alleged steroid usage. Great player for his time, yes. But there's a major question of "what would he have been?" that I can't get past.

    And Pujols has slowly, but surely declined the last four years. Nothing drastic, still a hell of a player and a Hall of Famer, but his peak years are behind him. I think we'll continue to see a steady and slow regression. I don't think he'll fall off a cliff and I think he'll continue to be a very productive player. But I'm not sure how many more years of "franchise caliber player" he has left in him. Could be 3-4, could be fewer. Either way, he's a good bet to be an All Star going forward.

    Yes, he's declining. But the guy reached heights very few have ever seen, so even a decline for him still looks pretty damn good numbers wises.

  14. #28
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Well, considering that the only offensive category where Rodriquez distinquished himself is "getting on base', it's relevant that he still trailed Bench.

    Bench was an exceptional hitter his whole career, Rodriquez was a very good hitter "for a catcher".

    Apples and oranges.

    And IMO Bench set the standard for defensive catchers. He doesn't take a back seat to anyone.
    Considering that Rodriguez is a better defensive catcher than Bench, Bench certainly does take a back seat to someone. Comparing and contrasting their defensive skills is like comparing two high performance race cars. Both had stellar defense so you would like to have both of them behind the plate but I-Rod stands out from the rest of the pack when it comes to defense.

    I think you completely underestimate I-Rod's offensive abilities as well. Even if you take into account Rodriguez's offensive decline around age 36, he still has a career .297 batting average compared to Bench's .267. Bench had more power but I-Rod batting 30 points higher for a career than Bench is something to note and shouldn't be dismissed as "being a good hitter for a catcher".

    I'd even argue that Piazza was better than Rodriguez. His overall WAR comes out a bit lower (66.7 to Pudge's 73.4), but he played in roughly 600 fewer games than Pudge. Piazza's WAR/162 comes out to 5.7, even with his horrid defense. The guy was a beast at the plate.
    I just can't put Piazza in the same class as Bench, Rodriguez, or Berra simply because Piazza's defense was so horrible. Defense is arguably more important for a catcher than any offensive numbers they can produce for a given team. It is one reason why catchers are automatically given a +1 when calculating WAR (as much as a flawed stat as it is). Looking at pure offensive numbers doesn't do the catchers position justice in my opinion.
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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Considering that Rodriguez is a better defensive catcher than Bench, Bench certainly does take a back seat to someone. Comparing and contrasting their defensive skills is like comparing two high performance race cars. Both had stellar defense so you would like to have both of them behind the plate but I-Rod stands out from the rest of the pack when it comes to defense.

    I think you completely underestimate I-Rod's offensive abilities as well. Even if you take into account Rodriguez's offensive decline around age 36, he still has a career .297 batting average compared to Bench's .267. Bench had more power but I-Rod batting 30 points higher for a career than Bench is something to note and shouldn't be dismissed as "being a good hitter for a catcher".
    Batting average is the only offensive category in which Rodriguez rates higher, and that's even more important when you consider that batting average is easily the most useless wide-spread rate stat we can use when comparing the value of players. Bench got on base more frequently and hit for more power in an era that was much more offensively starved. Rodriguez may have been better defensively, but he was much worse offensively when you take league factors into account. As stated earlier, their wRC+ is very different, with Bench coming in at 25% above league average for his career, compared to Rodriguez only being 4% above league average. You may say that's because Rodriguez played many years past his prime, but even in their prime, Bench fared much better. Bench posted six seasons of 130+ wRC+; Pudge, two. Both were really good, but there really is no comparing their offensive numbers. Bench wins in a landslide.

    And for all the love Pudge gets for being a great base stealer, his career SB% is 66.5%. That means his attempts at stealing bases actually cost his teams more runs than they earned, considering 75% is the break-even rate.

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    Re: What If Pujols...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I think you completely underestimate I-Rod's offensive abilities as well. Even if you take into account Rodriguez's offensive decline around age 36, he still has a career .297 batting average compared to Bench's .267. Bench had more power but I-Rod batting 30 points higher for a career than Bench is something to note and shouldn't be dismissed as "being a good hitter for a catcher".


    OPS+ of 102 means he was essentially an average hitter in his career, or "very good for a catcher"

    And that 30 points in BA means very little when Bench had a better OBA.

    You can keep plugging that BA all you want but in isolation it means very little.


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