Link Dump: Defensive metrics, Greinke, Papelbon and Berkman


A few Sunday morning links for your reading pleasure:

Tim Marchman of addresses the problem with defensive stats and I couldn’t agree with him more.  While there is some value in the various defensive stats and the other stats that derive from them (WAR, VORP, etc.) I don’t think we can throw these out there every time to prove that Player X is better than Player Y simply because he has a better WAR.  The data isn’t 100% reliable as is shown by different metrics for these stats. I don’t know that there will ever be a perfect fielding metric as it will always have some subjectivity, having one uniform stat would be a good start.

Zack Greinke is unhappy in Kansas City.  Let the speculation begin, especially in New York.  I’m sure this offseason will be full of Greinke trade rumors, and whether or not the Yankees are involved they will be linked.  I think the Royals should trade him, looking for a Teixeira to the Braves type of package as they won’t go anywhere while Greinke is under his current contract and look at what the Tex trade has done for Texas.  While he is more than just a rental, the Royals should strike and get as big a package as possible.  From the Yankees perspective I’d just go all in on signing Cliff Lee and let Greinke go elsewhere.  The cost will simply be too much if he does go anywhere.

Another blown save by Jonathan Papelbon (and a doozy) and another article questioning whether he should be demoted with Daniel Bard taking over as closer.  As a Yankees fan I can only dream the Sox decide to put Papelbon in the 8th.  That would be beyond fantastic.  When Papelbon has been bad this year he has been really bad, but I don’t think it’s time to go to Bard.  I hope both Yankee and Sox fans get their wishes and the switch is made. I can’t imagine what we’d hear coming from Papelbon’s mouth if it happened, but I would get my popcorn ready if it goes down.

Here’s an article about one of the newest (and already hated by some) Yankees, Lance Berkman. It’s mainly about what he went through at the trade deadline and what he’s gone through since.  Pretty interesting to note the teams he was ok going to and those he wasn’t.  I can’t imagine why San Diego was ever interested in him, were they going to put him in the OF?  Scary thought.  Anyway it’s an interesting take from his point of view and also take note of the comments below the article.  Only a few fans have commented but they seem to show what a class act Lance was and expect him to help the Yankees in a big way. So do I.

Categories : Defense, Links


  1. TC says:

    It’s well known Greinke is like agoraphobic or something, hates big cities and crowds, more than hates, can’t deal. He’s made it clear he’d never come to NYC. Cliff Lee will come. I think there’s an awfully good chance he’ll be in pinstripes next season.

    • Chris says:

      Ummm… none of that is actually certain. Greinke had social anxiety and depression issues, but nothing that specifically relates to big cities or New York. He’s also never said he wouldn’t come to New York.

    • Riddering says:

      It’s so well known there’s no documentation of it! I do remember a quote of his saying something about the pressure of NY but nothing that concrete re: big cities, big market = no.

      Not all anxieties and phobias are the same. Come on–”or something” doesn’t cut it.

  2. Pat D says:

    I don’t mean any disrespect to Greinke, but we know he has suffered pretty severely from mental health issues in the past. I can empathize, as I have been treated for depression personally, and know of several other friends and family members who have had similar problems.

    With that knowledge, I don’t think New York is a good place for Greinke. He doesn’t seem like someone who would hold up well with the constant media and fan barrage, especially if things don’t go well. Think Ed Whitson/Kenny Rogers/Carl Pavano territory. The Yankees would be much better served by focusing on Lee and letting Greinke fall where he may.

    • Chris says:

      Think Ed Whitson/Kenny Rogers/Carl Pavano territory.

      Whitson and Rogers just weren’t very good (for the Yankees or anyone else) and Pavano couldn’t stay healthy. Their struggles in New York had nothing to do with the media/fans – they were just normal baseball struggles.

      • Ed Whitson, Kenny Rogers, and Carl Pavano combined don’t have the pitching talent of Zack Grienke. Greinke pitching well here would make his time here much easier.

      • BklynJT says:

        You may not agree with Pat’s comparisons, but he has a valid poit. Part of the Cashman’s job is to evaluate whether not a player can succeed on the Yankees. It would be foolish to simply assume Grienke will produce the same results in pinstripes as he did during his cy young year. There is enough evidence to suggest that the Yankees should avoid trading for grienke, especially since Lee can be had just for money.

        • Chris says:

          Certainly there are risks in acquiring Greinke, and I would hope that Cashman looks into those. I personally think that there is less risk with Greinke than someone like Albert Belle (who the Yankees decided not to pursue because they didn’t think he could handle New York). There’s a difference between just having a short fuse and having a diagnosed social anxiety disorder that you’re undergoing treatment for.

          Also, I don’t think there’s a need for a Lee or Greinke debate. I would love to have Lee AND Greinke. Greinke doesn’t make too much money so there’s no reason that acquiring him would prevent a move to get Lee.

          A rotation of CC, Lee, Greinke, AJ and Hughes (possibly Pettitte if he doesn’t retire) sounds pretty good to me.

          • Pat D says:

            First of all, Whitson and Rogers had good years for other teams. I know wins don’t mean much, but Rogers won over 200 games. He was good for everyone he pitched for except the Yankees and Mets.

            Treatment for mental health issues are not guarantees. Again, I’m speaking as someone with personal experience. The symptoms never fully go away, even with medication and treatment. They become a part of you, whether you like it or not. Treatment for mental health is funny, too, in the sense that the same things don’t work for the same people and even over time what did work may not continue to work. Your medication can be changed and it can take weeks, if not months to find the right treatment again.

            I don’t doubt Greinke’s talents for one second. But I also know all too well the New York media and fanbase. Let’s say that the Yankees trade for him. Now let’s say his first few weeks in pinstripes resemble the beginning of Javy Vazquez’s season this year. The results will not be very pretty. He’ll be ripped for being overrated or not able to handle the pressure. He’ll get booed at the stadium. Who knows what impact that will have on him? No one does. Maybe he’ll take it in stride, he’ll improve and that will be the end of it. But maybe it will eat at him and dominate him and his issues will come back full force. Yea, that’s the absolute worst case scenario, but it’s a possibility. That’s what mental health issues do to you. They make you think in those terms.

            • Chris says:

              Who knows what impact that will have on him? No one does.

              Exactly. But don’t just assume that it’s a problem.

              Another thing to consider is that fans and the media might handle him with kid gloves because of his problems. The fans are demanding and irrational, but they can also understand the difference between someone that’s an asshole (like Randy Johnson) and someone with a real problem (like Greinke).

  3. AndrewYF says:

    Just read that the Nats signed AJ Cole for $2M. He was a fourth-round pick.

    Am I off-base in thinking that the Yankees should have nabbed him instead of Gumbs or Segedin?

    • He was a first-round talent, from what I heard. Of course, I’d much preferred him over the players you mentioned, but whatevs. For what it’s worth, I thought they should have went Austin Wilson with an early pick and thrown tons and tons of cash at him.

      I’ll probably be wrong about that pick and he’ll end up leaving Stanford a Rhodes Scholar, having choses to focus his energy on saving the world and helping hungry people, rather than being the best ballplayer ever.

    • mikebk says:

      well it is not really a 1 for 1. if the draft budget is as tight as it appears this year, so far, you have to ask who else wouldnt have been signed if we gave 2 mil to Cole instead of what we spent on gumbs or segedin. Cole’s 2 mil is just under the total of our top 3.

      clubs like the nats, royals and somewhat the pirates have finally learned that spending big in the draft is the best way to improve the system. i realize many of these guys dont pan out, but even at our level if 1 hits it saves huge money in comparison to going out and getting a guy at FA prices so not sure why we didnt take more high upside big bonus guys.

  4. Lou S says:

    I wish the best for Berkman and that he really succeeds as a Yankee. But, on the other hand, nobody wants to hear about the Astro-Berkman “mopefest” from here on out. The Astros needed to be make some smart business decisions, they traded you. You are a Yankee now. The Yankees are paying a sum of money for you to do the job for the New York Yankees. Sorry, Lance, Baseball is still a business. You are blessed to be playing a kid’s game for a living, an EXTREMELY comfortable living. I hope for the best, but suck it up.

    • whozat says:

      So, a reporter from Houston comes to Berkman and asks him questions for a puff piece in a Houston news paper…and he’s supposed to, what, blow the guy off? It’s not like he called this guys and said “my story must be told!!!”

      Really, you’re angry because he isn’t performing yet. If he DIDN’T talk to this reporter, and the guy wrote a piece about how Lance Berkman wouldn’t talk to him, you’d be angry at him for being a jerk.

      • JP says:

        Seriously people, I think you need to lay off Berkman. Sure, he doesn’t get a hit every time he comes to the plate, but neither does Jeter, and I don’t hear any of you complaining when Jeter goes in a slump! A few weeks ago he made a big error, but Jeter does that too, and again, I don’t hear you complaining when Jeter makes an error. Everyone does every once in a while. Last week Berkman was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles. And I have yet to see a bad at-bat from this guy. Berkman is a very patient hitter and he works the count. And when he does get hits they’re pretty big hits. Is all that not enough for you? Just because he’s not hitting the cover off the ball doesn’t mean he’s not performing at all. Besides, the season is not over yet. Give the guy a chance to get hot before you chastise him.

        • JP says:

          And for the record, before you give me heat for criticizing Jeter, let me tell you something. I love Jeter just as much as every other person that calls themselves a Yankee fan. But just because he’s Jeter doesn’t mean that he should get a free pass when he doesn’t perform. I get quite tired of hearing fellow Yankee fans treat Jeter like a teacher treats a teacher’s pet. Jeter is paid to do the same job as the rest of the team, so he needs to be held to the same standards as the rest of the team. That means if Jeter pops out or strikes out with runners in scoring position (and he has), he’s going to get the same criticism from me that A-Rod or Tex or Cano or Berkman would get had they done the same thing. If the team can get equal credit when they win, they can get the same equal credit when they lose.

      • Lou S says:

        whozat — I think you’ve jumped way too quickly into believing I am a flaming hot head who is angry at Berkman for underperforming. No, I’m not angry, I have faith in Berkman’s future successes as a Yankee.
        It IS a tad concerning that the man can’t seem to focus on his new team in a new town, Baseball’s biggest stage. I mean, a few years back, Johnny Damon made the walk across the aisle after being the heart and soul in the Boston clubhouse for four years. He let go of all the “mushey feelings” and became a Yankee (and succeeded). I understand, this was more against Berkman’s own will but the man seems mature and team-centered enough to do the same as Johnny did, make a splash in Pinstripes.
        Again, I am not angry at Berkman, as you claim. He needs to find his role and place on this 2010 Yankees team. I don’t see that happening if his heart and soul is still entirely in Houston.

  5. Betty Lizard says:

    Got to watch Lance Berkman at batting practice last night. i loved how engaged he was, even though he wasn’t in the lineup. He’l one of those players I just can’t help liking tremendously, and I also can’t help believing we’ll look back at the end of the season and we’ll be extremely grateful for his contributions. I’m a starry-eyed Pollyanna I know but it works for me.

  6. m says:

    Right on the money with all 3 of the above. And I agree I do not think Greinke could handle NY, and with Lee out there I would rather spend the money than give up the farm and put yourself in position like that. Our farm system has served us well the last few seasons from call-ups to trades(from the small swaps like Kearns to the Vazquez deal) That flexibility is key to success in the AL East last thing we want to do is get stuck having to make a deadline deal because of injuries and lack of performance from our call-ups

  7. Look, the guy was just moved from the only organization he has known, coming back off knee surgery, switching leads, coming to the New freakin’ York Yankees. We have seen this before. The new acquisition starts out cold, then at some point, there’s that signature moment — a big hit in a tight game — and then they feel how its like to win in New York.

    With A-Rod and Tex and Jeter heating up, Posada healthy, Swish, Cano steady, Gardner showing signs of life, and Grandy perhaps straightening out his swing, Berkman will see a lot of nice pitches and be hitting with a lot of men on base. Just a matter of time before he comes to life.

  8. I bet a team in one of the Central or West divisions steps up with a solid package and trades for Greinke (but not until the 2011 trade deadline at the earliest, I doubt he gets moved this winter).

    My money’s on the Brewers with a Kentrail Davis-centric package.

    • GG2010 says:

      I hope that we don’t get in to the Greinke bidding though let’s suppose we play the hypothetical trade game … if Tex netted Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Braves, what might be a comparable package from the Yankees?

      Romine (Saltalamacchia?), Nunez (Andrus?), One of Banuelos/Brackman/Nova (Feliz?) … I have no clue on comps for Harrison and Jones so I’ll just guess B/C prospect trade filler for now.

      • if Tex netted Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Braves, what might be a comparable package from the Yankees?

        I’m not sure the Tex comp is a good one, because teams have used the Tex package as the cautionary tale example of “Never give up this much talent, ever, no matter how good the player you’re trading for is”.

  9. The All-SOB Team

    On the heels of the Frankie Rodriguez fiasco, I wanted to assemble a team of the biggest jerks in the history of the game. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far-

    1B-Jose Offerman
    2B-Ty Cobb
    SS-Larry Bowa
    3B-George Brett?
    RF-Albert Belle
    CF-Milton Bradley/Carl Everett
    LF-Barry Bonds

    #1 Starter-Roger Clemens
    #2 Starter-Randy Johnson
    #3 Starter-Steve Carlton

    Closer-Frankie Rodriguez

    Any others I missed?


    Thanks for the help, guys. The post is scheduled for 2:00, enjoy.

  11. Zack says:

    Boston is better with Bard as their set up guy. Always say the best pither should come in with guys on base in the 7/8 innings, well that’s Bard now.

  12. Chris says:

    While I agree, not necessarily with the specific points noted by Marchman, that the new defensive stats are flawed; the old ones were useless. Going from useless (Fielding %, putouts, assists) to flawed (UZR) is a significant step forward in the process of valuing defensive ability.

    Everyone that decries new stats claims they aren’t perfect, which is a poor argument from people that still hold statistics like RBI as the gold standard for a player’s value. Somehow it’s ok to use stats with little merit until the magical “perfect” statistic comes around.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Defense is arguably the hardest to quantify in stats. While UZR and TZ may not be the best stats out there they are the best available and continue to improve fan’s knowledge of the game.

      This is so much better from what I forced to hear from the KC Royals announcers who gushing over the “great” Yuniesky Betancourt. They were praising him for his solid D and contributions to the team and went on to say that “they would rather watch player and make a judgment than some person from Toledo watching the game on his computer.” This is obviously because the Royals don’t need stats and have had one of the best crops of talents the last 25 years.

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