Read about it here, my synopsis/analysis follows…
OK, so a few points:
- David Laurila is FanGraphs’ best writer (we’re always bragging his Sunday Notes up…) and here he and anybody who edited the piece wisely just chose to let Braves’ GM John Coppolella talk. Thank you.
- The Braves’ fan base is upset about this deal because Atlanta’s been bad for a couple years, the Wood/Peraza trade looks terrible, and this move pushes the recovery further down the road.
- Coppolella chose the wrong forum to defend this trade if he was every going to say anything like “We feel there is an argument to be made that we may be better in 2016 with Erick Aybar because he’s one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball with a career .276 batting average. ” Fuck me. The FanGraphs crowd is very Sabrmetric, and Sabrmetricians hate batting average. Bringing up BA on FanGraphs is unwise at the best of times, and for the Braves these are not the best of times.
- The commentariat duly ripped that apart, pointing out that, never mind defence, Simmons’ is Aybar’s equal or better on the Sabrmetric offensive stats, regardless of how geeky you want to get. First order stats that everyone understands like OPS and SLG? Simmons. Easy compounds like OPS? Simmons of course. Complicated stuff like isolated power and normalized runs created? Simmons by a wide margin.
- What really happened here is what I wrote about Friday: Aybar is in his walk year, and the Braves took him either because they had to (to get the AA pitchers they actually wanted) or with half a mind that he might be OK and flippable as a cheap rental near the trade deadline for even more prospects. That’s it.
- Coppolella won’t be granting longform interviews to FanGraphs again anytime soon.
- Copp would make a better real-world GM than Coppolella. In a case of a sum being less than its parts, so might Copp’s grade-school daughter, Ella.
So the US celebrates that they bagged Jihad John this morning. The UK wants additional proof of the kill. ISIS just kind of shrugged their shoulders, gave another hump a dagger, and filmed him as ‘Jihadi Phil’.
So it is with Atlanta who traded Andrelton Simmons and low-minors catcher Jose Briceno for Erick Aybar (headed into his walk year) and blue-chip AA pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. Atlanta probably wishes it still had Jose Peraza (the perfect Jihadi Phil) but the plan here is fairly straightforward: run Erick Aybar as a “better” bat than what Simmons has shown so far and slip Pedro Ciriaco in late as a defensive replacement as required.
Atlanta must love the pitching prospects. The Braves aren’t contending next year, so there’s no harm in getting younger. Aybar actually gets them younger if he’s not re-signed next winter too. But Simmons is cheap-ish at $53M through 2020/age-31.
Simmons’ bat has been disappointing the last couple years but he’s cut down the K and if he settles in to 2015’s .321 OBP while the 15-20 HR eventually fills in, the Angels have done well here.
You can never have too much pitching they say, but Atlanta’s move here is a little surprising as Atlanta’s seldom had to trade for it.
We panned the 4-year-deal Atlanta gave Nick Markakis last year. Year One turned out far better than we thought (not sure which surprised us more: .746 OPS or 156 games played). But shipping out Alex Wood and Peraza this summer, and now Simmons, makes the Markakis signing that much more bizarre. The sun may set on the Markakis deal before the Braves are competitive. The Nationals and Marlins should both be much improved next year, and the Mets won the pennant. Atlanta’s got a long way to go. We’re not claiming they can’t get there, but they’re walking instead of riding.
I think we’ve aired this before but it deserves another mention after the Mets’ Game 5 collapse that ended the World Series. Mendoza suggests that when plugging a SP into your lineup you should be able to limit his IP pregame. In-game’s not feasible because we have lives and jobs and stuff (yes, even this writer now has a legal job…) but suppose, before the outing, you could say “I only want 5 (or, 6, or 7) IP from my SP because I don’t want the late inning where he gets roasted and hooked” or “I only want my SP to go through the lineup twice” or similar.
Matt Harvey wasn’t roasted last night, but he clearly convinced the manager to leave him in too long. As it happened:
Harvey was dominant through 7: 0 runs, 84 pitches, 9 K, 1 BB.
The eighth was a struggle: no runs, but 18 pitches. Pitch count now 102.
The heart of the Royals order was due up in the ninth with the Mets up 2-0. Harvey got word from the pitching coach that he was done, but angrily told manager Terry Collins he was going out to finish the game. Collins acquiesced.
Lorenzo Cain worked a seven pitch walk, and stole second on the first pitch to Eric Hosmer. Hosmer doubled in Cain. 2-1 now, Hosmer in scoring position nobody out.
Only now did Collins hook Harvey. In came Jeurys Familia. Mike Moustakas and Sal Perez each hit ground balls for outs, but Hosmer easily advanced to third on the first one which went to the right side and cleverly came home on the second after David Wright thought he looked Hosmer back to third. 2-2 for Familia’s blown save, but this one feels harsh to hang on Familia. Familia would pitch both the ninth and tenth, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 H. The Royals scored five in the top of the 12th, series over.
Matt Harvey: 8+ IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 9/2 K/BB
That’s still pretty good, but suppose you as a manager wouldn’t be intimidated by Harvey. Isn’t this better:
Matt Harvey: 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 9/1 K/BB
…or even 5 or 6 IP of shutout ball? You’d likely want to shoot for 6 to grab the QS, but if you didn’t need the QS, perhaps 5 IP, or even less would do.
Mendoza’s idea to limit the length of SP outings is overdue.
Lenny Dykstra used blackmail to get an edge. I’m sure I have some stories about Dirty Commish from our university days. I’d really like to draft first overall next year.
“Lenny Dykstra has made a confession.
At this point, this barely qualifies as groundbreaking, but this isn’t about steroids or a $31 million debt or embezzling or grand theft or any of the litany of negative stories that have come out about the former Phillies center fielder.
Dykstra admitted while being interviewed, with no provocation, that he used half a million dollars to hire a private investigation team to get dirt on umpires, including extramarital affairs and gambling, that he would then use to shrink his personal strike zone.
“It wasn’t a coincidence I led the league in walks the next few years, was it?” he asks a flabbergasted Colin Cowherd.
I waited a few days to write this–I didn’t want my take to be so hot it melted your computer screen. Four thoughts:
- The Baseball Playoffs are a random thing, no matter how well you played all year. If you don’t want to take my word for it, take the Cardinals’. Or take the word of any of all six of the 2014 division winners–not one of them made the World Series. Any of the eight teams past the Wildcard round have more or less a decent chance, and the Jays didn’t embarrass themselves on the field.
- That said, the Jays didn’t maximize what chance they had. It started by not doing everything they could to secure home field throughout the playoffs. Home field isn’t everything (it sure wasn’t in the Rangers series) but home teams win 54% of their games. In the playoffs this edge can increase because if you’re absolutely trying to win TODAY’s game, tomorrow be damned, knowing exactly what you need to do in the bottom of an inning is useful. It should also help in bullpen management–not just yours, but guessing at who the other side will pitch to try to keep you off the board in the bottom half. The Jays tanked the last two games in Baltimore and the season-ender; winning any of those would have flipped home field in the Royals series.
- Aside from costing them home field, the Baltimore celebration was unprofessional. Sure, I think the regular season is worth more than the playoffs (I just told you how random the playoffs were, right?) but no matter your workplace and no matter the good news for the company, there’s no excuse for spending two workdays drunk in Baltimore. I’m surprised the field management and front office didn’t clamp down on that–it gave off the impression that the Jays were just kind of happy to be there and everything was already Mission Accomplished. I don’t give a shit about bad behaviour, but keep it civilized until after the season.
- David Price was mismanaged. First, he didn’t pitch for 11 days prior to the Rangers series. The rust was obvious in Game 1. There was no reason not to give him 70 pitches on the final regular season weekend to keep him sharp. Running him out in Game 4 with a six-run lead was stupid and Price’s head wasn’t in it because he was as confused as everybody else. Price pitched well enough in the Royals series but was left in too long in Game 2–mismanagement again. In Game 6 he was average, but even the great ones have average appearances. The previous three showings didn’t put him in positions to succeed.
From thirty feet. Amazing.