Thursday, May 28, 2009

Transactions Analysis: Supreme Court Edition

With President Obama's recent selection of Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court, we here at the GRBG got to thinking about how the team owners in the league would break down along jurisprudential lines. So we're going to try to match up each team with its judicial doppelganger. How, you might ask, do we plan to do this when there are 12 owners and only 9 justices? Honestly, we're not sure. Let's all find out together, shall we? (Teddy)

In the past we've compared members of the league to actual baseball teams and dead Presidents, so why not take the next logical step? For our late August TA, when there's some really uninteresting moves being made, I suggest we do a TA comparing owners to dead rock stars. It's clear that Corey is the league's Freddy Mercury, and as for who's the equivalent of Left Eye Lopes...we'll keep you in suspense. Onwards with our SCOTUS march and insulting of transactions in general. (El Angelo)

Le Dupont Torkies

Signed: Coco Crisp (OF, Kellogg's), Oliver Perez (SP, NYM), John Smoltz (SP, BOS), John Baker (C, FLA), Jim Thome (DH, CHA)

Waived:
Crisp, Glen Perkins (SP, MIN), Jed Lowrie (SS, BOS), Jason Varitek (C, BOS)

The Torkies keep steaming along, and spent the past few weeks stockpiling potential help for the second half of the season. John Smoltz is notionally a few weeks away, and Oliver Perez began a rehab assignment last week. Perez, of course, still has the handicap of not being very good, but Smoltz could be a fun toy while healthy this summer. For those wondering how the Torkies do it, one clue is to be found in the GP/IP columns in the standings--the Torkies rank second in GP by their hitters and second in IP by their pitchers. Can't win unless you play, boys.

So let's see here. This team's owner succeeds more through diligence than through any grand philosophical approach. At various points his team has been built around old guys, young guys, relievers, and hitters. In other words, while he might not be able to define what makes a good player, he knows one when he sees him. That approach, plus the owner's massive interest in pornography, makes Potter Stewart the obvious SCOTUS parallel here. (Teddy)

These moves only make sense if the defending champs follow them up by trading some of their surplus hitting to cure their holes on the offensive side of the ledger. While having a steroid-free Manny return in July will be nice, it also means they have another month and a half of Denard Span being their #2 outfielder, so it'd behoove them to start looking to deal for a hitter with a pulse. Unlike, say, John F'ing Baker. (El Angelo)

Flaccid Funiculi

Signed: Matt Palmer (SP, LAA)

Waived: Kyle Lohse (SP, STL), Jarrod Washburn (SP, SEA), Nyjer Morgan (OF, PIT)

Acquired Justin Verlander (SP, DET) and Shane Victorino (OF, PHI) and an 8th round pick; traded away Nick Swisher (OF, NYY) and a 1st round pick.

A nice roll of the dice by the newly named FF. The team is currently DAFL in steals, making Shane Victorino unusually valuable to them. Justin Verlander has been frustrating for most of the past season plus, though he has looked good recently. A bigger problem might be how to get Verlander innings, as FF is currently leading the league in IP (and GP) and is on pace to blow through the 1500 inning limit. By the by, this is an excellent bit of strategy move--go above pace to run up counting stats early, convince the other teams that they have no shot, and then cripple them by trading for their best players. Machiavellian. And trading the 1 next year won't hurt much if the pick stays in the 10-12 overall range--the pickings at that level have been slim over the past few years.

On to the court comp. Despite moments of madness (Mo Vaughn) and serving as a frequent target of mocking, this owner is sneaky, successful, smart, and friends with John Ashcroft. The fit is so perfect that we're willing to stretch past the SCOTUS bench to go with Robert Bork. (Teddy)

Absolutely love the judicial parallel and agree on the deal; the real notable pickup for them isn't Verlander, who methinks is about to crash back to reality, it's Victorino, who should net them 2-5 points in the steals and runs department. If you're going for it this year (and a team with three 4+ keepers is clearly going for it), then it's a deal you make. Nicely done. (El Angelo)

Mission Accomplished

Signed: Eric Stults (P, LAD), Mike Lowell (3B, BOS), Jason Kubel (OF, MIN)

Waived: Stults, Jim Johnson (P, BAL), Manny Parra (P, MIL), Jason Bartlett (SS, TB)

Acquired Nick Swisher and a 1st round pick; traded away Justin Verlander, Shane Victorino, and an 8.

My thoughts on the trade are pretty well handled above, so I only have two points here: (1) I assume you're only trying to win the whole thing at this point, because you had a shot to hit the board this year; and (2) Eric Stults is terribly underrated as an actor. If you're ever bored, go watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High again--he's one of Spicoli's entourage, along with a very young Nick Cage. The cast of that movie have won something like 8 Oscars at this point, which is the equivalent of the cast of Bring It On having racked up that many awards by 2030.

For the justice, we need someone Italian and smartassed who is never on the winning side, so Antonin Scalia is the clear choice. (Teddy)

Antonin Scalia has 9 children, one of which is a priest. I hope that's not the side of me you're comparing---my non-Christian wife would disagree strongly with that end result.

Regarding the trade, it looks like a dump and build for 2010, but it's actually not. I'm currently maxed out in W's and K's, and think Verlander's over the top. I also don't need Victorino; Kemp-Upton-Jones are better OF's, and there's no real difference between him and The Fukudome at this point for production. Hell, Swisher's as valuable in the power department. So it's subtracting little and adding a first round pick in the process, which granted, is probably going to be in the 9-12 range, but I see a deeper draft this coming year. It's also unclear how big a chance I actually have to win this thing (or even compete for money) this year; the price for closers on the trading market is so steep and my current level is such a product of Adam Jones and Pujols going apeshit. I wouldn't disagree with those who compared me to this year's Blue Jays squad. (El Angelo)

Unenviable Position

Signed: Dan Bard (RP, BOS), Emanuel Burriss (SS, SF), Mat Gamel (3B, MIL), Rick Porcello (SP, DET), Ramon Ramirez, (RP, BOS), Carlos Villanueva (RP, MIL), Jason Varitek (C, BOS), Elvis Andrus (Oops, Prospect List), Willie Bloomquist (SS, KC), Joel Pineiro (SP, STL)

Waived:
Alberto Callaspo (MI, KC), Bard, Mike Lowell (3B, BOS), Villaneuva, Andrus, Bloomquist, Burriss, Edwin Encarnacion (3B, CIN)

Whew. That's a lot of movement for a team with one obvious problem: every starter not named Johan Santana shitting the bed simultaneously. Even I can't tell what I'm doing, so I'll just skip straight to the SCOTUS comp. As I am liberal, intellectually lightweight, and was once almost impeached by Gerald Ford, my best comp would be William Douglas. (Teddy)

Baloney--you've burned waiver priority on Daniel Bard, who you subsequently cut because he's a not ready for The Show middle reliever, and are currently giving PT to not only Touchdown Tim Wakefield, but also Jason Varitek, which would only be okay if it were 2003. It's not. You have clearly lost your brain and surroundings, and are becoming senile in your ripe old age. Couple this with your liberal stances and your latent narcissism, and your perfect comp is Frank Murphy. Deal with it. (El Angelo)

Aroids Anonymous

Signed: Brett Cecil (SP, TOR), Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL)

Waived: John Smoltz (SP, BOS), Koji Uehara (SP, BAL)

Not that I'm much better, but based on the above transactions it might be worth AA's time to watch a couple of games involving non-AL East teams. Who would be the best SCOTUS comp for a guy who is internationally focused and has access to odd European liqueurs? Stevens? (Teddy)

There's a lot of international flavor on this list, as Corey Cody Corey discards one Japanese guy for another, and picks up his usual token Maple Leaf in Brett Cecil, presumably because he can't find whatever rock Dave Stieb is trapped under. Both pickups actually are proto-Blue Jay, as Kawakami shut down the Blue Jays pretty well a week ago, which says more about a Toronto squad that's winless since Patriot's Day. But while it's clear these moves mean jack shit for the team's successes (or lack thereof), it's unclear which justice this equates to. I'm going with Bushrod Washington, just because the name is cool. (El Angelo)

Recalcitrant Cobbler

Signed: Dan Wheeler (RP, TB), Gary Sheffield (OF, NYM)

Waived: Sean Marshall (P, CHC), Jordan Schaefer (OF, ATL)

The cobblers got a lot older in a hurry with those transactions--Jordan Schaefer for Gary Sheffield? Yikes--which at least implies that they plan to make a run at the board this year. With Joe Mauer looking like the draft steal of the year, it's tough to argue with them. I do wonder whether the good two weeks they might wring out of Sheffield will be worth Schaeffer's future, though.

As for the comp, because we've now reached the precise middle of the league standings, we really can't go with anyone other than William Kennedy. (Teddy)

I actually am fine with the OF swap; Schaefer strikes me as a guy who's more useful on defense than offense, and so long as they properly cut bait with Sheffield the minute he turns or as soon as either Fat Squirrel gets healthy or Corey Hart gets a clue, they'll be in okay shape. But I mean that literally--cut Sheffield the MINUTE it looks dicey. You don't want him infecting your fantasy roster. (El Angelo)

Wu Tang Financial

Signed: Kiko Calero (P, FLA), Jason Bartlett (SS, TB), Kyle Lohse (SP, STL), Howie Kendrick (2B, LAA), Hideki Okajima (RP, BOS), Barry Zito (SP, SF)

Waived: Leo Nunez (P, FLA), Ian Stewart (IF, COL), Ricky Weeks (DL, DL), Dallas Braden (SP, OAK)

This just hasn't really been working so far this year, and the continuing refusal of the Orioles to promote Matt Wieters isn't helping matters. That on top of the season-ending injury to Ricky Weeks and continued baffling suckitude of Troy Tulowitski means this team's IF puts it in a pretty deep hole. On the other hand, it's not as though anyone is running off with 3d place so far this year.

On another note entirely, Jason Bartlett is running away with the Pewter Parachute. I feel like he has been one about half the teams in the league and it's still May.

SCOTUS choice? Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I can't really explain it, but it feels right, doesn't it? (Teddy)

Let's hope you didn't come up with Ruthy based on appearances. For those who haven't seen it, if you find yourself near the Columbia Law School, stop by and check out the oil portrait of Justice Ginsburg in the library, where they've accentuated her jowls to the nth degree. It's about as unflattering a portrait rendered since Picasso took on Gertrude Stein.

Also, I believe Bartlett has some stiff competition from Dan Wheeler and Edwin Encarnacion, but hey, there's a lot of ball left to be played. (El Angelo)

Evil League of Evil

Signed:
CJ Wilson (RP, TEX), Juan Pierre (OF, LAD), Joe Nelson (RP, TB), Derek Holland (P, TEX)

Waived: Wilson, Chris Ray (RP. BAL), Jason Kubel (OF, MIN)

A friendly tip to any MLB drug enforcement employees who might have wandered by: did you guys check to see whether the Dodgers assigned Juan Pierre to Manny Ramirez's old locker and/or trainer? Because Pierre appears to have stumbled on some pretty good shit. It won't last, but his performance over the past few weeks mean ELoE wins this TA's award for best pickup. Joe Nelson is also a nice snag in the wake of Troy Percival's potential retirement. That would be pretty sweet, if one of my draft picks just retired rather than stay on my roster. Gives a man a warm feeling.

SCOTUS has to be somebody who parachuted on to the court from outside, dominated things for a while, and then stepped back to handle personal business. The best comp would be Earl Warren, who wasn't a judge or practicing attorney prior to joining the court, and certainly made a splash in his first decision as Chief Justice (Brown v. BoE, for those wondering). (Teddy)

This team has to be lining up the pieces for a trade, right? I mean, their bench has Matt LaPorta, Carlos Quentin (?), Phil Hughes, Clay Buchholz and now, Derek Holland. They've got to be ramping up for a big deal, because there's a lot of rebuilders that would like those players. In the meantime though, these are decent if boring transactions that seem to indicate that EOE is biding his time until his guys get healthy or he can make a deal. Though given that he's spotting Tucker a 28-point edge at the moment, time may be nigh. (El Angelo)

wormcheese mousebird

Signed: Luke Scott (OF, BAL), Brian Bannister (SP, KC), Seth Smith (OF, COL), Todd Helton (1B, COL), Mark DeRosa (IF, CLE)

Waived: Jim Thome (DH, CHA), Andy Sonnenstine (SP, TB), Scott, Mike Fontenot (2B, CHC)

For reasons unknown the mousebirds celebrated their return to the east coast by attempting to rebuild their roster using only players from sub-.500 teams. An Oriole, a Royal, two Rockies, an Indian--only things missing were a Clipper and a Jet. I actually like the two OF pickups, as the production level of the average fantasy team's 3d OF hasn't been all that impressive this year, and there are marginal gains to be made there.

SCOTUS comp is easy: Brown Guy = Thurgood Marshall. (Teddy)

With all due respect to Scot picking up Joe Nelson, Ironhead wins for transactions of the week. On the same day (May 13th), he picked up Todd Helton and Seth Smith, who were, respectively, the backup quarterbacks to Peyton Manning and Eli Manning in college. Either that's the most ridiculous coincidence in fantasy history, or the Healer spent his time between jobs thinking of ways to get a TA shout out. Well done, sir. (El Angelo)

It's Enrico Pallazzo

Signed: Manny Delcarmen (RP, BOS)
Waived: Cory Wade (RP, LAD)

IEP continue to have the fewest transactions of any team in the league. There is a thin line between keeping a steady hand on the tiller and deluding youself into believing that you can just power the boat through an iceberg; IEP is dancing right on that line right now. As for SCOTUS, we need someone who is used to having a partner shape their decisions and who hasn't been all that active on the bench recently. Scalia sidekick and noted silent partner Clarence Thomas fits the bill. (Teddy)

This team's lineup has precisely 3 players that are fixtures: Ham-Ram at SS, Russell Martin at catcher, and Dan Uggly at second base. Everyone else is fairly fungible. So naturally their position player move it...picking up a second baseman? Huh? Color me befuddled by the whole thing, much like I'm befuddled at Thomas' refusal to ask questions at oral argument. Good parallel, Theodore. (El Angelo)
The Loose Bowels

Signed: Luke Hochevar (SP, KC), Brandon Wood (SS/3B, LAA), Jorge De La Rosa (P, COL), John Grabow (P, PIT)

Waived: Homer Bailey (SP, AAA), Mark DeRosa (MI, CLE), Yadier Molina (Molina, Molina) Hochevar, Wood

The Squishybums transaction list for the past few weeks contains no fewer than five add/drops involving players with that little NA next to their names. While fooling around with players who don't actually, you know, exist for purposes of the game might bring some intellectual reward, it's unclear how such a strategy will lead to the commish's first-ever money finish. Stay tuned, I guess.

For a SCOTUS pick we'd need somebody devoted to debating issues that don't actually exist. As a result I'd love to use Scalia again. But I don't want to cheat like that, so instead I'll go with someone with a similar background to this team's owner. As the commish is (I believe) a Latina from the Bronx, we can go with soon-to-be Justice Sotomayor. (Teddy)

You know, I was trying to figure out why this team was mired at the bottom of the heap. Reviewing the last few weeks' doings reveals that they tinkered with a bunch of over-hyped minor leaguers, dumped a Cardinal for no reason, added a Colorado pitcher with an ERA over 5, took a flyer on one of Pittsburgh's milleu of bad relievers, and signed the Twins' fourth outfielder. We may have found our answer. (El Angelo)


The Spam Avengers

Signed: Ben Sheets (SP, Nobody), Billy Butler (DH, KC)

Waived: Kyle Davies (SP, KC), Anthony Reyes (P, STL)

Signing a guy who is not currently under contract is usually a bad sign for a team's fortunes; this appears to be no exception. Much like the retiring David Souter, TSA appears to have had enough of this shit for the time being. (Teddy)

That's actually his best move this week. The other three players involved here have a combined VORP that's lower than Jeff Keppinger's 7.3. Enjoy rural New Hampshire, Alex. (El Angelo)

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