Saturday, March 31, 2007

MLB: You Suck!

You've gotta love Pesky!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Apparently, evil has no rythm


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Quick thoughts on the Cubs

Looking back over my previous post, and thinking about the Sox rotation moving forward, I became very confused over the actions of the Cubs. While I understand the idea of a massively rising market in terms of players salaries and prices (making that Oswalt deal the Astros did even more spectacular, even before he added the apparently brilliant change-up), I am utterly at a loss that they are barely talking to Zambrano. They just threw a Brinks truck at Soriano, who is good but not great, and chucked a bunch of money at some equally mediocre (as in average) players, basically promising all of their satellite radio money to a bunch of guys that make for a good base behind stars but not the vangaurd of a team (save Lee). I think, with the way their team is currently constituted, they need to add another impact bat or two to the lineup for '08 plus another top-flight pitcher in addition to Zambrano. Of course, the only one out there next year with any track record (i.e. not a guy that does well this year in a contract season) is Zambrano. I don't care what he is asking, give it to him.

In a weird way, this is a buyer's market. This is because of all the sticker shock that most teams have had this winter at the deals given out. I don't think this is another year 2000 where everybody goes crazy and the market price will drift down for a few years. I think that, much like in the NFL, the rapid expansion of traditional revenues and new revenue streams will kick up the average salary values excessively. So, as long as you are locking down quality players, you can get someone locked down this year before the rest of the teams come to grips with the fact that the sticker prices are out the window.

Think of it like this, each team is getting something like $10mm in revenue from XM. That means that, on top of regular operating revenue, every team now has an extra $10mm in vault cash sitting around because there are very little expenses for the teams in relationship to the XM deal. Even if owners just pocketed half of that money or put it towards costs and minor league development, each team would apply about $5mm to their major league rosters. So, there is an extra $5mm per year available to spend on players, which we will assume makes it to the major league roster exclusively (which I think is still under the true value, but let's stick with this). So, on the 25 man roster, we would expect an average salary increase of about $200m per player.

However, there is a CBA in place that puts major cost controls on players in their 1st 3 years in the league, plus another 3 arbitration years that somewhat surpress salaries. So, basically, the first 6 years of salary for most players is at best at the league rate for talent (and usually much lower). The majority of players on the major league players fall into this category, as the median career length of the ML players is under 6 years (by a good margin). Also, there are the journeymen and minor league spring-training roster invitees that make low and league minimum-type salaries. So, all things considered, it would not be unreasonable to think that the $5mm per year will be spent almost entirely on the upper third of talent in the majors who are in their 7th year or beyond, and I'm willing to bet that is a conservative estimate. So, if you figure that money is now spread to about 5-8 players per roster (or $600m-$1mm per player).

Okay, so stars are probably going to be bid up by up to a million per year above regular. Doesn't seem too high, right? Well, that will only be the case once prices fully adjust and most teams realize this. In the short run, however, there are very few high quality players on the market, and each team has that $10mm sitting there. So, in the next 2-3 years, there is a surplus of cash for a limited number of players. As such, a smart team would bid a front-loaded contract.

What does this mean? Well, it means the Cubs should (should have?) used that money to lock down Lee (did) and Zambrano (maybe). So what is my point? Well, two things. First, giving Zambrano a contract for the same price as Zito's (remembering that it buys out an arbitration year) would be a good move. Second, the Royal's Meche contract still is probably not a good one because he isn't a top talent.

Short-term disparities in the market mean a smart team will lock-down a top talent.

Alright, spiralled off a bit there, but the point is: if Zambrano ends up anywhere but Wrigley next year, I will call it a poor example of Industrial Organization.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

There is an excellent chance this is kick-ass!

So Paps is back to closing, which is awesome if he stays healthy. This does a few things:

1. It nails down the end of the bullpen. I like the prospect of Timlin, Piniero, and Donnelly working the 8th instead of the 9th. If Papelbon is 75% as effective as he was last year and just pitching the 9th, there will be order in the chaos that was our bullpen. Big help.

2. It could open a spot for Lester down the line. While I don't like the prospect of Tavarez being the 5th starter for the bulk of the year (and frankly, I would prefer Snyder from the get go). However, I prefer Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Lester with Paps closing to Schill, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, Wakefield with no closer. It would give us a potentially stud power lefty in the rotation for the 2nd half.

3. If Lester isn't ready, it opens a spot for the Big Douchey Texan. As much as I freakin' hate Clemens, even more so with this "I'm pitching half a year for the highest bidder" bullroar, it would go a long way towards some cathartic healing if he came back to the Sox for the late summer push rather than back to the MFY to be reunited with the merry band of dipshits.

4. Not related to this move, and I know it pains Mets fans when I say this, especially Rizza the Raza', but I am freakin' excited about Matsuzaka.

5. While a forward-looking rotation of Paps, Lester, Matsuzaka, Beckett, and Bard would have been something to salivate over, we still have 3 power pitchers under 27 years old in the starting rotation at the major league level under contract for the next 4+ years. While there are questions about the 3 guys at the major league level, as well as the questions that always come from prospects, the Sox still have an eviable position in the rotation that many teams out there would beg to have happen. Hell, Zambrano and Santana both could pop up in free agency the next two years, as well, so the Sox could also enlist one of their services.

6. Also looking forward, the Sox pen in the future could be filled with Paps, Hansen, Delcarmen, Bryce Cox, and Justin Masterson. Another 5 power arms coming out of the pen to follow the starters makes for one hell of a pitching staff that is both cheap and all under contract for the next 4+ years.

7. This also allows both Manny D. and Hansen to go back to Pawtucket and get a little more polish to their game. Hansen has shown some promise back to his slider, and regular work is just what he needs to regain the dominant form he had through college and to AAA. Get these two guys ready to join the group as effective pen arms and anchor the group I talked about in point 6.

Now, granted, I would prefer to have Paps in the rotation (and in the long run he could probably help the team more there), this still has a lot of upside in the short run and wouldn't be disasterous at all for the team in the long run.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Alright, so where is my Nobel?

I thought of this in high school! Scroll down to the "Hybrids without batteries" section, and relize I thought of this in high school, and I still have the paper to prove it. In AP Physics C, I actually wrote an extra credit paper on the possibility of hydrolic energy recapture. Granted, I needed to write the paper because I bombed the fluid dyamics test, but whatever. Dr. Pierce even wrote, "Great idea, just not sure how feasible it would be. Sounds like you already know what your thesis could be on, though. Stick with it."

Okay, so maybe as a sophomore I dropped Physics like a pimp's punch drops a ho, but I still think it is pretty cool. The rest of the article is pretty neat, too.

Friday, March 16, 2007

What a week

So your faithful weblogger, absent all these past days, has some big news. And no, it isn't that the Resident Female is pregnant (why does everyone always think that is what I'm about to tell them?). Rather, Fletcher is now the proud owner of a lovely condo within walking distance of the metro in Arlington (huzaa!). Closing will be April 6, and the home inspection occurred today (just one mis-wired outlet and cold means hot/hot means cold sink in the bathroom).

So, suddenly Fletcher's prolonged absence seems reasonable, yes? We will all stop bitching while calling Fletcher a lazy and crappy weblogger. The former is patently unfair, and the latter is somewhat cruel.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Well, this certainly fills a need. I'll take adding the best linebacker on the market, thank you very much. I am giddy about the schemes that Billy B can come up with to get Adalius cracking some skulls next year.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Babbling about Babel

I saw the movie Babel last night, and I am worse off for it. If you haven't seen it, don't bother. If you have seen it, please tell me you hated it as much as I did. Personally, I hate movies like that and hate it even more that the Academy Awards in general reward that kind of crap (a la Traffic and Crash). I absolutely hate that washed out, chaotic/shaky-cam cinematography that they employ. I hate the epic, sprawling, over-arching story lines. And most of all, I hate how seriously the films take themselves.

Now, that said, I could actually love a movie that employs all those this (the closest proxy is probably Adaptation, which was excellent). That really isn't the issue. The issue is that movies that do employ all of those things tend to have no point. I'm sorry, but what the hell was the general thesis of Babel? What, that our lives all suck, and the act of our lives sucking can actually be cause other lives to suck across the globe? We are never understood? Maybe throw in that guns are bad? I mean, it wasn't quite as pointless as "Crash" constantly whacking us over the head with their point that "racism is bad, M'kay", but Babel still had no purpose. No point. Catharsis from suffering? Bonding through pain? We all end up sad? We all can die at any moment? Seriously, what the hell was the purpose of the movie?

I do get "it", in that the movie was meant to portray varying forms of angst, pain, isolation, and contrast the issues of self-survival and ultimately redemption through caring about each other. I get that as the ultimate goal of the film-makers. But they really took an ass-backwards way of getting to that point, and did so with just horrid excuses of over-the-top "Oh, no, don't... don't do that... no... don't do it, don't do it... You fucking did. You idiot!" Just, that moment over and over and over again. No freaking point.

Because that is all I really want from the movies I watch: I want a point. I want a point and I want it carried out skillfully. It doesn't have to be something monumental importance, but it can be. Some movies entire purpose is to provide mindless entertainment and maybe an occasional campy laugh, like horror and action movies. Others are supposed to just make me laugh outright, like comedies. With dramas, I want something that makes me think, and I want it to do it in a way that actually has some ambiguity and open level of discussion and interpretation central to the plot rather than an over-the-top Topher Grace soliloquy about drug users that seems tacked on and is forced down our throat . Because these movies' purposes just seem to be "look: life is shitty. Feel bad about it. (Thanks for your $8)" I know this about life in general, and I don't need you coming at me with some display of shared angst for the sake of showing angst floating around on a screen for two and a half hours when the best underlying message you can take from it is "yeah, that stuff sucks. Glad that isn't me."

So, that said: Fuck Babel.