Friday, November 12, 2010

Reframing the Debate

At this point, I'd like to take a break from a solo harangue and check in with readers.  Some nice comments have come across the blog recently, and I'd really like to encourage that.  In addition, I'd like to recognize a column that used my columns as a jumping-off point to make a very interesting suggestion.

"rrhunter" has made two salient points:
Why not bring back Casey or do you figure he'll end up in Seattle with his buddy?
Why not indeed?  I just said in the body of that post that Blake was likely to outperform anyone we had in the slot, and although he's on the wrong side of the aging curve, I stand by the assessment.  My guess is that Blake does not want to relive his formative years with a rebuilding squad (one on which he was, in fact, one of the rebuilding blocks, as it were).  And there is something to the idea of Blake playing in Seattle, given that Jose Lopez is likely to leave and this would allow Chone Figgins to move back to 2B, where he appears to have been more comfortable.  But let's hold onto the thought for a moment.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Establishing the Baseline

I think a few things are perfectly obvious about the Indians' probable "solution" to the issue of who would make the greatest positive impact by playing third base:

1) We're not going to spend a lot of money
2) We're not going to treat it as Top Priority
3) Any solution for 2011 must be viewed in light of Lonnie Chisenhall being ready no later than 2013
4) We don't actually have a very good idea of what we already have

Point (1), for example, rules out signing an Adrian Beltre.  I lobbied for Beltre when he was with the Mariners, thinking we could get a year or so out of him if only for the defense, and I thought he'd hit better than he did in Seattle.  It turned out I was right, but it was a lot more expensive than I'd expected, so I can hardly fault anyone for what was kind of a half-baked idea in the first place.  (We'd have had to trade something to Seattle when he was still under their control, and I don't know if we had "enough" to get him without paying 1.6 buttloads of cash.)

Shoot, (1) probably wouldn't have gotten us Brandon Inge.  (Full disclosure: I am relieved we did not get Brandon Inge.  His "plus defense" seems to be all arm, not range, and he hits like a sack of wet Lou Marsons.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Excitement Cannot Be Contained!

Have I sponsored Tofu Lou Marson's BB-Ref page?  I most certainly have.

Did I wait for the price to drop to $5?  I would rather not comment on that.

Chasing the Ghost of Casey Blake

You can't spell "Blake" without a K and an E, and then all you're left with is "bla."
-- me, taking the Cheapest Shot Imaginable for comic effect, 2008

If there was ever a good case study for Confirmation Bias, it would have to be Casey Blake.  Sure, there have been other memes over the years, but few players ellicited the raw, naked emotion that Blake did in the middle years of his stint with the Tribe.  Blake appeared to be the kind of "free flyer" (that is, a flyer who was free, not some kind of wacky hippie) in the vein of Shelley Duncan or Paul Sorrento when he arrived in 2003, and surprisingly played virtually every day as a 29-year-old rookie in 2003.  He didn't hit very well (.257/.312/.411), but it was his rookie season, and he'd hit well in the PCL the previous three seasons:

2000: .317/.406/.529 (342 PA)
2001: .309/.376/.485, 10 HR in 417 PA
2002: .309/.383/.492, 19 HR in 546 PA

Sure enough, 2004 was a bit of a breakout season for Blake, in which he hit a robust .271/.354/.486 with 28 homers.  Oddly enough, he played kind of lousy defense at 3B after playing well as a "freshman," but that seemed like a fine tradeoff.  Without going into a long story:

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Statement of the Problem

Every year I take a month off at the end of the season to decompress.  This is necessary because I write awfully long game recaps and my team is awfully bad.


Baseball Prospectus does a series in the off-season in which a staffer is chosen to be "GM For a Day."  Many of the series' posting are quite illuminating, especially for teams I don't follow very closely.  The Brewers, for example, probably have some players who are neither Ryan Braun nor Prince Fielder.  I accept this on faith.  I would have to look it up to be certain, though.  In any event, this year's was written by Tommy Bennett, and it says basically, "Because hope is not a plan, the Cleveland Indians have no plan, because my strategy boils down to 'hope a lot'."