Friday, April 2, 2010

Loose End and the Big Finish

We've addressed the players from whom I think we can reasonably expect "significant" (that is, double-digit VORP, or a whole win or more) improvement, and in the introduction, I touched on the fact that I didn't see a single player still on the roster whom I think will decrease by a significant amount. You can argue for Shin-Soo Choo or maybe a pitcher falling off a cliff, but generally speaking, I think:

a) Choo is a good bet to stay very valuable
b) Everyone else is "noise"

But let's address a few things explicitly:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Room for Improvement: Not Eric Wedge

First things first: let us not make global attributions about Eric Wedge the person. He is not an idiot. He is not a schmoe. I did not agree with every move Eric Wedge made, which puts him squarely in the 100% of other managers I have not agreed with at one point or another. He did some things well, and other things less well, and he has been both (IMO) undersold by passionate fans and oversold by front office types. Ultimately, a majority of what it means to be a good baseball manager is inaccessible to the public at large (managing personalities, talking behind closed doors, recognizing physical and mental state, etc.), and by most accounts Eric Wedge was pretty good at these hidden things.

This having been said, I did not spend most of 2007 concocting Completely False Statements for the Google Search Engine in order to get him fired as a frivolous exercise. (Go to and search for "Completely False Statement") There are many things that drove me crazy about Eric Wedge, including bullpen management, veteran playing time, and too much damn bunting. But there are two elements of Wedge-managed teams that are simply unavoidable:
  1. Slow starts, especially falling behind in April
  2. Underperforming the team's "Pythagorean Projection" consistently

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Room for Improvement: David Huff

As I prepare this piece, David Huff finds himself in a battle for the #5 slot in the rotation with, of all people, Carlos Carrasco. This is surprising for three reasons:
  1. Huff was arguably our number ONE starter last season, certainly no worse than #3, and led the team with 11 wins
  2. This means Huff has been passed up by both Justin Masterson, who seems miscast as a starter, and Mitch Talbot, a guy widely considered by lay Tribe fans as a "settle-for" player in dealing Kelly Shoppach's Salary to Tampa Bay