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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Comments

Why would you use wOBA to evaluate players when that totally takes defense out of the equation? Part of Utley's value is his defense as a 2nd baseman. Part of Howard's detraction is his defense as a 1st baseman.

Isn't defense a rather important part of the game?

"Why can't we praise someone b/c X player is better? Can't we just praise someone for their own accomplishment(s)?"

When taking into account how valuable someone is to their team, I also take into account their contract and how likely/unlikely it is that said player will perform up to that contract.

If that's crazy, book me a room at the asylum, fourth floor.

We should definitely praise people for their accomplishments, regardless of what other people do.

Juan Castro is a very good baseball player. He can hit a ball out of a major league ballpark against live pitching (he's done it 36 times in his career!). He can also field hard-hit ground balls and throw them to first in time to get a sprinting runner out (well, most of the time at least). Guys, let's have more posts praising Juan Castro. He's awesome at baseball. YOU GUYS ARE SO DAMN NEGATIVE ALL THE TIME.

@Conshy -- you might be quoting a stat that you don't understand. There are two versions of wOBA...the fangraphs version actually uses weights based on ballpark.

Err cancel that, fangraphs does not weight by ballpark, statcorner does.

In my last post, it should be changed from "if George Steinbrenner was managing the team, Charlie actually would be fired if he didn't win the All Star game." to "if George Steinbrenner OWNED the team, Charlie actually would be fired if he didn't win the All Star game."

Fingers moving too fast today, sorry.

That was in response to this comment from Evan:

"I'm not sure I understand the praise the Ryan Howard gets. He's a great top-tier player, but Albert Pujols is light years ahead of Howard and always will be."

Only the extreme best are worthy of praise, otherwise, you're nothing.

heather - i'm not saying that defense isn't an important part of the game, just that it is difficult to quantify. not that the stat community hasn't tried, and to varying degrees of success.

i just think that you look at offense based on numbers, and defense we just may have to be resigned to using our eyes. is that sooooo terrible?

Few things on Howard;

1. Defensively he was never as bad as people made him to be and this season he hasn't played that well defensively. Not even average and he still has same flaws (inability to throw to his right, etc.).

2. Have to see how things turn out but 30-HR Howard is not superior to 45-HR Howard.

3. The contract he accepted was Amaro's doing. Howard would have been a fool to turn it down.

4. Howard is my favorite player on the team and an incredibly easy player to root for.

5. Howard had the single greatest season I gave seen a Phils player have and he only could go downhill from his 2006 season. He still is the only player of carrying this team offensively though for a month and one of the only few hitters in baseball who can.

6. His durability had been really underapptrciated and it is nice to have him as a daily fixture.

Heather -- WAR tells us that defense at 1B is not an important part of the game, therefore we might as well only focus on his hitting statistics and blind ourselves to the rest of the game.

anyone have thoughts as to what lineup should look like when Polanco returns? How about:
Rollins
Vic
Polly
Howard
Werth
Ibanez
Chooch
Valdez
Pitcher

With Rollins not running, think putting Polanco after Vic makes optimum use of his moving-runners ability.

If the Reds make the WS, then Baker can possibly choose Votto over Howard next year. Cholly would have been a fool to snub his own player even if Votto has clearly had the better season so far.

I should have phrased my statement as "I don't understand the level of praise Howard gets".

Howard is good, but he's not an all time great. He's not HOF good, or he hasn't shown that he can be HOF good (aside from his insane 2005-2006 years). I think its a bit much when he gets called "the total player".

Regardless, isn't anyone else interested in Howard's changing approach at the plate? Agree/disagree with my excellent thesis that it has hurt him more than helped.

Is bat chooch second in that line up. Assuming he is healthy.

"I'm not sure I understand the praise the Ryan Howard gets. He's a great top-tier player, but Albert Pujols is light years ahead of Howard and always will be."

Wow. I realize now that Howard is nothing compared to Albert Pujols, nor will he ever be. As such, there's only one way for Ryan to end his disgraceful career while maintaining a shred of honor & dignity:

EVan -- the HOF debate can wait until Howard has played 10 years or so, otherwise it is a bit premature to automatically say he isn't a HOF because you don't like him.

The impact of his change at the plate can also stand to wait another 300ABs to see if it lasts. But thanks for your thought provoking posts...

"3. The contract he accepted was Amaro's doing. Howard would have been a fool to turn it down."

I'm not denying Amaro is the one mostly to blame for the ridiculous contract, but ballplayers set the price for themselves too. It's not like Howard was an innocent bystander in that situation.

"Heather -- WAR tells us that defense at 1B is not an important part of the game, therefore we might as well only focus on his hitting statistics and blind ourselves to the rest of the game"

If we were comparing him exclusively to other first baseman, perhaps (although I don't 100% buy the argument that defense at first base is unimportant...just not as important as it is at say, shortstop.) If we're trying to compare him to other players, however, I would postulate we need to come up with a metric that weights a player's defense along with his offense. WAR does this, albeit imperfectly.

Does Howard actually get HOF-level praise? I don't think he does. OTOH, how many guys have hit 4 straight seasons of 45+ HR (maybe even 5 if he picks things up)?

Evan, I think it's too soon to tell if Howard's new approach has hurt more than helped. Did you see his June numbers? I think it's a work in progress and the power is still there. He could just be working on finding a way to find power and have more contact. It is surprising that he SLG about .650 in June without many BB or K.

I do agree that I like the higher OBP/SLG lower BA Howard. Just that it's too soon to tell if that's what he is now (especially considering his OPS is over 1.000 in the last 30+ games).

Evan I will agree with you totally that Howard is very good but not "total player great" and I think most of the other posters around here do as well...

Witness the "rebuttals" which seem to run along the lines of "Well, EXCUHHHHSE ME, he's not Albert Pujols!"
"Plenty of great players had no plate discipline and couldn't hit lefties worth a damn!"
"The enormous contract was not Ryan Howard's fault!"

My post all star line up

Rollins
Ruiz
Werth
Howard
Polanco
Victorino
Brown
Valdez

I'm not denying Amaro is the one mostly to blame for the ridiculous contract, but ballplayers set the price for themselves too. It's not like Howard was an innocent bystander in that situation.

Wait. Let me get this straight. You think Howard's agent should have consulted with fangraphs before negotiating with Amaro. "No, Rube. We don't want $25M per. I'd be doing my client a disservice getting him the highest valued contract."

He would be the dumbest agent alive. Does Howard/his agent have an obligation to make money that mirrors their WAR? Really?

You guys are crazy overreacting to my statement.

Howard is a great first baseman. The only part of his career I'd criticize is Ruben Amaro's insane contract extension.

GTown: By the way the little animation of the guy setting himself on fire is awesome.

Star players take less than max all the time. For whatever reasons.

I couldn't stay away. I have an favor to ask everyone who feels that Howard is not performing up to his contract.

If you don't mind, please provide a stat-line (including AVG/OBP/SLG, HR, RBI, K, BB) that would be acceptable in "performing to his contract" for the following:

2010: $19M
2011: $20M
2012: $20M
2013: $20M
2014: $25M
2015: $25M
2016: $25M
2017: $23M (club option)

I just want to have a reference point of where people are coming from.

Thank you in advance.

Heather- the reason someone would use a measure that only considers offense is that many people feel a defensive metric that is reliable has yet to be developed. If this is the case, it is better to leave it out, since it is simply a random chaos factor that arbitrarily pushes numbers up or down. You can't simply say that defense is important so any defensive metric thrown in is better than none. The reason all of these new metrics keep getting invented is because they all have flaws.

Don't get too attached to WAR, because soon it will be replaced. This is why most people look at a range of stats when comparing players, to cut down on the statistical noise.

Howard is a great first baseman. The only part of his career I'd criticize is Ruben Amaro's insane contract extension.

The only part of "HIS CAREER" that you would criticize has NOTHING to do with Howard as a player, but his agent's negotiating skills and Ruben's determination of Howard's value to the franchise.

So, let's bust Howard's chops. Excellent.

I'd expect a ops above 900 for that money. And good defense.

Sophist: Howard and his agent would also be dumb if they didn't think his contract and his ability or inability to live up to it would color people's impressions of Ryan Howard's value as a player.

If they didn't give a flying rat's A$$ about that, fine, that is entirely their right. But you can't have it both ways.

My assumption is that if the NL finally wins tonight we are not going to the WS. I think this is how the BB gods work the system.

Or at least a 6 war

Euphronius:

For which year? The money values are not the same, therefore, production should be reflective of those changes. If .900 OPS is ok for $19M, then do you expect .950 for $20M? 1.200 OPS for $25M?

See what I'm driving at?

wOBA isn't park-adjusted, but you there are park-adjusted versions of it that take the form of OPS+, specifically, wRC+ (available on Fangraphs) and wOBA+ (on statcorner.com). Both are great.

Tough to tell in the future because we don't know what the market will be.

For this year and next, if I were a gm I'd want at ops in the 900s with plus D or around a 6 war for that money.

Heather: An added bonus of Howard going the route of GIF Guy is that no one could deny Ryan was, in fact, "en fuego".

Billingsley: Here is an article that more or less lays out what Ryan Howard would have to produce to equal his contract:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/what-are-the-phillies-thinking/

Here is the main idea: "In other words, Howard will need six seasons that were better than his 2009 season, except over his 32-37 years."

If pujols fielder and Gonzalez end up making 35 million a year, howards contract will start looking a lot better, eh.

Oh come on, its obvious that isn't a criticism of Howard but of Amaro. I don't blame anyone for taking a big contract in the majors, its ridiculous to think a person would turn down that kind of money.

Even so, his contract will probably reflect badly against his reputation unless he lives up to the $$ he's getting. That's no fault of Howard, but people tend to place blame on the player rather than the GM.

Heather that article was in 2010 money right?

Because I think salary inflation is going to continue. Or did it include salary inflation.

Heather: I've read that already. Not my issue.

I'm asking what people on this board would want, not what fangraphs says. We are the people criticizing Howard. You, among others, stated that he isn't living up to his contract. Based on dollar value, what do you think is acceptable production?

Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious to know what people think is acceptable regardless of how you interpret my post. I will most likely disagree, but I'd still like to hear opinions.

Tough to tell in the future because we don't know what the market will be.

So how can we judge the Howard deal and say it is a disaster as many are claiming, including the almighty fangraphs, if we don't know what the market will be?

Interesting, no?

RB - Here's another take. This one may require a subscription. Not sure.

The new version of MORP provides a more accurate estimate of the cost of a win, which is approximately $5 million for 2010. However, Howard’s deal does not begin until 2012, and extends as far as 2017 if the Phillies pick up the option. I have made a conservative estimate that salaries will inflate at five percent on average for the sake of picking a number, but salaries could really do any number of things. Reports have suggested the salaries inflated at about 8-10 percent during the mid-2000s, while inflation for 2008-10 appears to be about one percent.

The reality is that we do not know how much inflation will be. If it’s two percent, the Phillies are in trouble, but if it’s 10 percent, they are in decent shape. One of the best aspects of this contract is that the option actually takes advantage of this uncertainty. Howard could be anywhere from replacement level in 2017 to a perennial four-win bomber.

...

All of a sudden, this starts to look like it could very well be a decent deal. Ultimately, the question is whether Howard is likely to age gracefully or not, because if he becomes a below-average player by the end of the contract or becomes merely average in the middle of the deal, even a high inflation level won’t cut it.

This contract actually starts to look terrific when you consider the possibility that the next collective bargaining agreement (after the current one ends after 2011) could remove draft-pick compensation. If that does happen, and salaries rise as I predicted in my MORP series, then even the five percent salary inflation looks quite plausible for Howard to achieve, and if the outcome of the next CBA does not allow for draft-pick compensation, this could easily turn into a good deal"

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10677

I was only talking about this year?

We know the market this year and have a good idea about next year.

Sophist: Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

I don't know why I got back into this. Exhibit A of why I dislike the All Star break.

"So how can we judge the Howard deal and say it is a disaster as many are claiming, including the almighty fangraphs, if we don't know what the market will be?

Interesting, no?"

I see. So people who are smarter than you or I cannot reasonably project what prices might be in 5 years?

There's just no way of telling with any reasonable certainty? That's your argument?

To be fair it is really hard to know how much the Yankees are going to pay Pujols.

If pujols fielder and Gonzalez end up making 35 million a year, howards contract will start looking a lot better, eh.

So, if Pujols, Fielder and Gonzalez make $35M, our expectations of how Howard should perform should drop significantly, because he is not the highest paid 1B in the league?

That seems strange to me. Remember, that's how this whole argument started.

I expect Howard to perform like Ryan Howard.

I don't know where you get the expectation stuff from.


I am capable of a nuanced appraisal which values Howard as a player separate from all salary concerns and also at the same values his contract in the context of MLB

Did MVPTommy get a sex change?

Heather: No, that is not my argument. I'm a pretty smart guy, though ;-).

Fangraphs can certainly opine on the Howard deal. But, I am also asking those who feel that Howard is under-performing what they would feel is acceptable production.

Honest question. Really, I'm curious.

In the beginning of this whole mess, I said that Howard was having a good year. I was shot down by saying that he is under-performing based on what he is paid. What is acceptable production, then?

Heather's got nothing on tommy's obsession and ignorance.

Rb here, it is two separate questions for me:

Is Howard having a good year? This does not ever look at salary.


Ok next question:

Is that 19 million salary slot on the phillies team a " good" use of scarce funds considering the value it returns?

Two different questions.

Howard needs to play more like that guy at 1b in NY, you know, for the Yankees. Texiera or whatever his name is, that really good defensive first baseman. Howard should try to play more like him and, that way we can compare two guys at the same spot with a similar contract...

Euphronius: Exactly. So,why are we debating this? The debate we've been having for over two threads now relates only to the first question. The team's use of resources has nothing to do with Howard or his production. Therefore, why should the team's use of funds have any bearing on how Howard is perceived/criticized?

It shouldn't. That was my point from the very first post on the subject.

Because, as was my point, it is a problem for the phillies if that 19 million salary slot is not returning high value. That is I have only ever been concerned with the second question


As to howard, I think he is doing well this year and I like some things I see and am willing to wait on others. But, overall he is having a fine year. I love watching him.

The game is much more enjoyable when you don't worry as much about the stats. The stat that trumps them all when I am walking out of the stadium is did the Phils win. Watching Howard Swing and hit a drive is much more fun than computing how often he swings and connects or swings and misses. Just win baby! Al Davis had it right...that is the only stat that counts.

Nice thread header, Jason. I love all of the Phillies players, but Howard is my favorite. He's a very likeable guy, an easy choice. Utley is favorite player 1-A. Halladay is 1-B.

Actually, Howard's production might be more difficult to replace than Utley's. Very few players in history have matched Howard's power numbers. Of course the HRs are down this season, but Utley can't stay on the field.

There are currently more power hitting 2nd baseman than ever before. Perhaps this will eventually lead to an adjustment of the WAR figures.

by power numbers are you referring to slugging or iso or ops+ or what?

Also, positional value isn't the same as scarcity. There are a lot of talented SS because talented players tend to play shortstop. There are fewer talented 3rd basemen, but that does not make them more valuable.

His career ab per HR is super awesome. I think that is his best stat.

ItzmikeyG - "The stat that trumps them all when I am walking out of the stadium is did the Phils win. Watching Howard Swing and hit a drive is much more fun than computing how often he swings and connects or swings and misses. Just win baby! Al Davis had it right...that is the only stat that counts."

Al Davis is a invalid who has run his franchise into the ground largely because of this philosphy . . . Recipe for Disaster.

There's nothing less important in baseball than wins. Right?

So, moving onto better topics, what do we think the Phils will do in the next couple weeks?

My guess is we will trade for a bullpen piece, and that's probably it. With Polanco due back this weekend, and knowing that Utley will push to be back on the early side of the time range, I doubt we will add an INF. The time to do that would have been last week.

The wild card is whether we trade for a Haren/Oswalt/Lilly type. Most people have noted that the Phils can't be all that confident in a playoff series with Moyer and Blanton as their 3/4 guys. The question will just come down to whether it's worth making that sort of big move.

Baxter - how do you define talent? is there a talent+ stat i'm unaware of? TARP? oh, that's something different...

clout - for a starting pitcher, yes. this is well documented and not really worth getting into here. just know that you and joe morgan are on the same page here. nuff said.

baxter (again) - are these guys not talented?

wright
longoria
youkilis
zimmerman
arod
young
fat panda (not so good this year)
chipper

just saying...

Wins are a useless measure for evaluating how good a team is.

Much better is to rank them by a combined measure of OPS and ERA+. You could just eliminate the post season that way.

Also, we could moderate our rooting for players on the basis of the WAR value relative to their contract. A fairly simple ratio, actually.

And then we could just all go blow our brains out.

****Also, we could moderate our rooting for players on the basis of the WAR value relative to their contract. A fairly simple ratio, actually.****

If this was Fangraphs, I wouldn't even blink at that statement as I'd assume it was a serious one.

"...some of the lowest paid players are regularly the recipients of the greatest amount of vitriol by fans. Actually, I think it kind of weird that the least important players on the team sometimes receive the greatest amount of scrutiny and criticism..."

Old Phan, I believe you are referring mostly to BENCH players.

As such, based on what I've read on BL for the last month, your statement id 100% accurate.

"Heather's got nothing on tommy's obsession and ignorance."

Thanks for caring. Big hugs sent your way too.

Ad hominem attacks: When nothing else will do.

"So, if Pujols, Fielder and Gonzalez make $35M, our expectations of how Howard should perform should drop significantly, because he is not the highest paid 1B in the league?"

Exactly. Comparative cost value is something we do every day.

If $5 is the most I can pay for a loaf of bread, I expect that loaf of bread to be the best loaf of bread out there. If $5 is average, then I expect the bread to be average.

The price hasn't changed, but my perception of what that $5 could and should buy has changed.

I don't think we can evaluate prices in a vacuum...they are only useful if they are compared to what that money can buy.

So if Howard scrapped his current deal and signed a $4M contract for next season, you'd expect him to produce like Pedro Feliz? That's what $4M buys in MLB after all.

clout: Why are we even talking about offensive players? They aren't credited with wins, so they must not be contributing to the game.

Thanks to Nelson Figueroa, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, and Cole Hamels for your sweep of the Reds. Everyone else: thanks for nothing!

(My mischaracterization of your point of view is no sillier than your mischaracterization of yours.)

That should read: My mischaracterization of your point of view is no sillier than your mischaracterization of mine.

You know, I bought a really, really good loaf of bread the other day. It tasted fantastic and was very nutritional. But it was quite expensive.

But then I broke my level of appreciation down into a mathematical formula, and calculated that a loaf of Wonderbread was actually a better value relative to the amount I spent on the other loaf. It tasted pretty lousy, and wasn't very nutritious at all, but given that it was so much less money, even the paltry level of good taste and nutritional value were higher relative to what I paid than the really good bread.

From now on, I will only eat Wonderbread. I will be miserable - but I will be happy.

"So if Howard scrapped his current deal and signed a $4M contract for next season, you'd expect him to produce like Pedro Feliz? That's what $4M buys in MLB after all."

So comparing players to contracts does not give a good indication of value?

For example, Cliff Lee was so desireable at the trade deadline because a) he is a kick ass pitcher, but also because b) he has a comparatively small salary. Therefore, his value is sky high.

If his salary was $25 mil, that wouldn't make him any less of a kick-ass pitcher but it would make his value less, because less teams could afford him, and whatever team picked him up would have less payroll to make other moves to make their team better.

Value analyses appear to be something that team front offices do every day and it certainly has a place in what a player is worth to a team. (How much emphasis should be given to it is another question).

I can certainly evaluate Howard as a player, independent of anything else. However, it's also not invalid to compare Howard to his contract, either.

phlipper: The money you save by buying Wonder bread instead of the very good loaf of bread can be spent on fresh fruit or more snacks or a nice filet mignon to replace the hamburger in your rotation of meats.

I'm staying out of the Howard argument because he's one of my favorite Phillies. Just commenting on your metaphor.

At the risk of convoluting this metaphor even further, I guess my view is that you shouldn't criticize the very good bread for costing so much that he keeps you from buying another nice steak - you should criticize whoever's buying the groceries.

philiper - You likely will be constipated a bit then.

Heather, I agree with everything in your post, but it appears you've changed the subject. Howard's value as an asset is almost entirely tied to his contract. But the post you quoted asked if our expectations of Howard's performance would change if some other 1B were given even larger deals.

Inflation as well as how Howard ages, as that BP.com article shows, is closely tied to the analysis of Howard's contract. But would you expect Howard to perform more poorly because his contract became, even a bit, more team-friendly? Would you expect Castro to perform like Pujols if the Phils handed him $40M? This seemed to be the point of your bread analogy.

I base my expectations on career numbers, not salaries. Comparing a player's production to their contract isn't "invalid" it's just not relevant to predicting what that player will do in the future.

"The money you save by buying Wonder bread instead of the very good loaf of bread can be spent on fresh fruit or more snacks or a nice filet mignon to replace the hamburger in your rotation of meats."

I already did that, DH, only my mathematical calculations proved that eating at McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner brings the best return on my dollar spent. I used to enjoy fliet mignon - but then I calculated that the cost/benefit ratio wasn't as high as on a Big Mac or an Egg McMuffin.

Geez. I wonder if I should factor in cholesterol buildup into my calculations?

Anyway, the point is that it's pretty sad when someone can't just sit back and enjoy watching one of the premier power hitters in the game carry the Phillies on his back to the WFC because some abstract mathematical formula indicates he's getting paid more relative to his value than some other player.

""Heather's got nothing on tommy's obsession and ignorance."

Thanks for caring. Big hugs sent your way too.

Ad hominem attacks: When nothing else will do."

For what it is worth, given my faulty memory of some of Tommys' posts I actually thought he was complementing you...but I'm a hack at the english language and my sarcasm meter is faulty today too...

Let's start giving posters ratings for their value over a replacement poster. Any ideas?

phlipper: The only reason anyone cares about player salaries is that they represent an opportunity cost.

I'm not anti-Howard, but you're not understanding the argument against you.

"Let's start giving posters ratings for their value over a replacement poster. Any ideas?"

Posted by: Gsl

You can start with me as I'm extremely fungible. I pop in looking for some levity or some nuts and bolts Phillies stuff and all I get is htis egg-head crap and semantic bickering. It's enough to hurt my egg-head.

I think some folks here are slaves to statistics. I understand how appealing that is, but I think it's a mistake.

Statistics are useful tools, but their purpose is merely to help to predict which team is going to score the most runs while preventing the other team from scoring more runs. Once the time for prediction has passed, statistics are useless; we just have to see who wins the game. And lots of times, particularly in sports, that rests on intangibles.

In fact, it's those intangibles that are actually the reason that sports exist. Sports are about cooperation, endurance, overcoming, perseverance, courage... all things that only show up tangentially in statistics, but show up very directly in the W-L columns.

The real drama of sports resides in the "Casey at the Bat" moments, where the stats don't determine the outcome. In real life rather than literature, just off the top of my head, I'm remembering the 1960 World Series, in which the heavily favored Yankees outhit the underdog Pirates 91 to 60, and outscored them 55 to 27 -- and lost the series. Also the 1969 Mets, who won the world series without any big name players at all (unless you count the young upstart Tom Seaver, who was 24 at the time.)

Stats are fun and useful, but they don't determine the outcomes of games.

That's all. Carry on.

I'd rather see Ryan hit .290, K less, hit 35 HR's and knock in 120 than hit .260 with 45 HR's and 145 RBI. Just look at Pujols.

When you put the ball in play better things happen than when you don't. 'Nuff said.

In order to asign poster WAR, maybe we need to define roles comparable to fielding position. For instance, a whiner, no matter how talented may provide less value to the site than a comedian, an eternal optimist, or the emotionally stable objective analyst. It's an important consideration.

philwynk: I cannot find a complex statistical algorithm by which I might measure these so-called "intangibles" on FanGraphs.com, therefore they do not exist.

philwynk - awesome reference on the '60 World Series. Great example embedded in there for those who think wins and losses are meaningless (doesn't include me, but I get the point).

Winning pitcher in the climactic game 7 was Harvey Haddix. He secured the win by allowing two inherited runners to score in the 9th inning and then watching Mazeroski's iconic homer sail over Berra to end it. Evens up the previous year's game against Milwaukee where he retired the first 36 men he faced and got tagged with the loss in the 13th.

"I base my expectations on career numbers, not salaries. Comparing a player's production to their contract isn't "invalid" it's just not relevant to predicting what that player will do in the future."


Sophist~ You are correct. A players' contract has no bearing on what he WILL do on the field. The contract is a more like the reward for what he HAS done on the field.

Werth had 1 big year and now he going to get astronomical money on the FA market. There's no guarantee that he will live up to his next contract.

Dpatrone: "When you put the ball in play better things happen than when you don't. 'Nuff said."

Unless you're not putting the ball in play because your hitting it over the fence. Every statistical analysis concludes that the old Howard is more valuable than the one we've seen the first half this season.

DH Phils: I don't think Phlipper understands terms like "opportunity cost." Frankly, it doesn't seem like posters on here understand most basic economic concepts, at least as they apply to the business of baseball.

Also, Phlipper, the irony of your posts is, of course, Wonder Bread and Mcdonald's are far more popular than the other options you suggested. Meaning that cost effectiveness is EXACTLY what people look at in their every day lives.

Here's what we know about Howard:

He was passed over for 4 rounds by numerous teams because he was a 4 year college player. When he made the bigs he tore it up and made Jim Thome expendable. The Phillies rolled the dice and traded Thome freeing up a spot for Howard. He responded by posting a line of .313/.425/.659/1.084 with 58 home runs and 149 RBI's. He proved that the Phillies absolutely were right to keep him and not deal him.

A few years later, people talked about his body and said maybe he was too big. He comes into camp noticeably slimmed down and looks much more muscle orientated than he previous was.

For years he took a beating (probably rightfully so) for his defense. So int eh off-season before 2009 he worked extra hard at improving himself defensively and improved himself.

His power numbers have slipped some this year but his average is ticking upward again after bottoming out in 2008 at .251. I actually think what you might be seeing this year is a guy whose power numbers might slip some but he is adjusting himself to be a more complete hitter. I sometimes think that what happens to aging sluggers is they still try to rely on their strength because they never had to rely on anything else.

This is a guy who has worked hard at improving perceived deficiencies in both his physical type and in his game. We can argue about the length of his contract one day when maybe he isn't producing at the clip you would like but I have relatively no problem with a team rewarding a guy who has shown time and again that he wants to play here and will work hard to make himself an even better player than he already is.

Color me a little surprised at how little respect Ben Francisco has gotten here today from some quarters.

Cody Ross lifetime OPS+ 106, 2010 OPS+ 98

Ben Fran lifetime OPS+ 103, 2010 ops+ 75


So, our "BL GMs in waiting" are ready to dump Ben Fran by selling low and replace him with Cody Ross, who you'd probably have to overpay for - A MARGINAL UPGRADE AT BEST.

Could it be that your opinions are biased by the type of counting stat performance Ross has against the Phils - 13 HR, the most against any team?

Beware. He's not "all that" against everyone else.

Also, Ross has 355 PA this season, Francisco 105.

You'd sell low on Ben Fran based on 105 PA?


Hugh Mc,

Thanks. You mentioned everybody's favorite Harvey Haddix moment, his famous 12 perfect innings. A few weeks ago I discovered something about that game, though: BOTH pitchers pitched the entire game, and the winning pitcher -- Lew Burdette of the Milwaukee Braves -- was credited with 12 shutout innings, which is just an incredible performance no matter how you cut it (he gave up 6 or 7 hits). Can you imagine today, two managers leaving pitchers in for 12 innings? Men were made of iron back then.

Anyhow, on paper the 1960 Pirates were no match for the Yankees. Nobody knew who Roberto Clemente was back then, and the biggest power hitter on the team, Dick Stuart, hit only 24 home runs. But they won, and Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the 7th game is in everybody's "Great Moments" reels.

You'd sell low on Ben Fran based on 105 PA?
====================

yes. he sucks.

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EST. 2005

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