05 August 2010

Endless Summer

  • On a day Carlos Gonzalez hit two home runs, and Edwin Jackson solidified the White Sox' hold on first place, the Dbacks lost to the Washington Nationals, before the smallest crowd (15670) in Chase Field history. Eight of the nine smallest crowds in franchise history have now materialized in the last few months.

  • At the two thirds mark, Arizona is on pace to lose 102 games. They should finish better than that, but are sixteen games out. Not from first place. Sixteen games from fourth place. Looking ahead, Dan Haren and Max Scherzer try to propel contending teams forward. Followed by tomorrow, and the next day...and the next.

  • Update 8/6: Haren yielded ten hits last night and hasnt won for the Angels yet - despite an ERA under three.

Like our Dbacks, San Diego is unseasonably cool this summer, and it feels good. A thick marine layer lingers past noon most days, affording longer, brisker walks with the wife, without the usual bake and sweat. In the afternoons, our son and I body surf in the Pacific with the occasional "dolphin". They're thirty yards out, with large dorsal fins and the real estate agents all call them dolphins. Whatever. I'll be home Saturday, swimming safely with accumulated carob leaves in my own backyard pool.

More On Salary Dumps

I dont object to redistributing 2011 payroll. I have a problem reducing our chances of contending - and I think you do that swapping Haren and Ed Jackson for Joe Saunders and Hudson, even if some money can be applied elsewhere. It's almost as if the Dbacks thought process was as follows:

1. Our biggest competitive liability is pitching.
2. Haren and Jackson represent our largest financial liability among pitchers.
3. Neither Haren nor Jackson were good 2010 values.
4. Therefore, trading Haren and Jackson makes us more efficient (ie dedicated payroll) and flexible (future expenditures).

But failure to meet 2010 expectations doesnt resign either workhorse to fall short of 2011 expectations or preclude either from being an attractive contractual value going forward. Both are recent All Stars. Haren's got a high BABIP and strong peripherals, suggesting he could enjoy a significant "comeback" year. Jackson is more erratic, but a terrific athlete with a powerful, durable arm.

We didnt need to dump their contracts. We needed to optimize their talents by dumping organizational obstacles; namely a toxic manager, a subpar defensive catching tandem, immature offense, below average defense and a disturbingly ineffective pitching coach. Haren and Jackson were underutilized (if not outright squandered) by a dysfunctional organization.

If their careers deteriorate, Saunders maintains and Hudson develops, it'll be fortuitous - but if Haren recaptures most or all of his consistent mojo, he's virtually irreplaceable at $12M on the open market. Guys who throw 200 innings at 30% above league average run prevention are valuable and rare.

  • Finally, welcome to four new readers who just dont get it, inexplicably voting for Joe Saunders in our latest poll! Friendly reminder: Diamondhacks is a haven from that sort of thing.


Anonymous said...

Howdy 'hacks.

It's been a while since I posted here but still lurk frequently.

This might be more appropriate on the "sold down the river" thread but I wasn't sure if you would see my comment due to its age.

Just thought that you might like to do a write up on The Follies of Forbes and the biblical view that many bloggers hold this source of revenue, market value, etc. to.

The Forbes 2009 value for the TX Rangers was $405 mil but they just sold for just shy of $500 mil in a fire sale environment.

Some other D-Back sites (that will remain nameless at this point) seem to view the Forbes info on some type of gospel.

What were the Cubs (or any other team) really worth? And if the Rangers were indeed only increasing their value by 4% annually then how the heck did they just get purchased for a little shy of $500 mil?

Keep up the good work.



Diamondhacks said...

Forbes is useful, but as you suggest, there's no publicly available, definitive accounting of MLB franchises.

As far as methodological skew, all I can say is it's a conservative, pro business journal. It's part of the mix. One of the tools we use to triangulate around unknowable, fiercely protected financial data.