Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Transactions Analysis: Independence Day Edition

A recent re-watching of the seminal Jeff Goldblum/Robert Loggia vehicle “Independence Day” has inflamed our patriotic spirit. The movie makes an important point about the resilience of the human spirit: nothing, not an alien invasion, not the acting of Judd Hirsch, not even the specter of a free world governed by Bill Pullman, can prevent computer hackers from saving us all. Accordingly, today’s TA pays tribute to Independence Day by re-familiarizing us all with some of the film’s many timeless lines of dialogue. Welcome to Earth. (Teddy)

"Independence Day" has secretly been an absolute favorite of mine for just how over the top and awful it is, which means this TA will probably spend more time ruminating on this crapfest than on this edition's not-any-good transactions. And my co-author is feeding right into my love by calling the flick a "Robert Loggia vehicle." Well stated. Robert Loggia is one of my favorite actors, mostly because he is always growling and like Gene Hackman, was born middle-aged. In other news, Mr. Loggia's house is currently on the market for just under $3.3 million. Am I the only one that thinks this looks like Jack Woltz's estate? (El Angelo)

The Loose Bowels
  • Signed Hideki Matsui, OF, New York (AL) [6/17]
  • Signed Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee, Chris Coghlan, Alkie, Cocktail and Kyle Blanks, 1B, San Diego; Released Matsui, Adam Kennedy, 2B, St. Louis, and Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado; Fucked around with Joe Blanton, SP, Philadelphia [6/20]
  • Released Blanks; Signed Jake Fox, OF, Chicago [6/27]
Julius Levinson: David. What the hell are you doing?
David Levinson: Making a mess!
Julius Levinson: Yes, this I can see.

The only logical conclusion to draw from the Ricky Weeks pickup is the TLB is considering keeping him next year. There’s a chance that would be a brilliant move, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a good chance. It’s also unclear what three days of Hideki Matsui was supposed to do for the club, other than maybe help re-stock the clubhouse’s porn collection. (Teddy)

If he's planning on keeping Rickie Weeks for next year, he should know that Weeks not only hasn't been that good this year, but was the 2008 recipieint of the Worst Keeper Award. I didn't think it was possible for someone to win that award twice, but our commish appears ready to give it a go. The biggest problem here is that the best player on the list is Carlos Gonzalez, who was cut. (El Angelo)

The Spam Avengers
  • Signed Homer Bailey, SP, Cincy; Released Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City [6/23]
David Levinson: [quietly] Time's up.

Billy Butler really is going to put it together at some point, though it’s now looking like a put-together Butler is going to look an awful lot like a peak-era Matt Stairs. In other words, a guy you’d be thrilled to grab in round 6 of the draft, but not a guy you’d be psyched to see on your keeper list. (Teddy)

You could say the same about Homer Bailey: he's more likely to be the next Eric Milton (i.e., useful starter) than an actual stud. Which for a team in last place is probably a waste of time. (El Angelo)

Le Dupont Torkies
  • Signed Brett Gardner, OF, New York (AL); Released Oliver! Perez, SP, Tidewater [6/24]
  • Released Gardner [6/26]
  • Signed Garrett Atkins, 3B, Colorado and John Maine, SP, New York (NL); Released Antonio Bastardo, SP, Philadelphia [6/27]
  • Released Atkins; called up Tommy Hanson from prospect list.
President Thomas Whitmore: We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!

Despite plenty of deals piling up behind them, the Torkies soldier on atop the league. That said, it’s tough to see how any of these moves will really tip the balance of power with the possible exception of the Hanson activation. Rookie starters tend not to make great second half pickups, but Hanson has talent to spare and should be valuable as another of the Torkies stable of spot starters. (Teddy)

Hanson's actually more useful as trade chit for this team, because the last thing they need is more starting pitching. It wouldn't shock me at all to see them try to flip him and someone else useful for bopper, unless they actually think the Ben Zobrist experience is something that's never going to end.

Given that there's not much else to comment on with this team, let's instead ask what movie constituted Bill Pullman's most meaningful work, because certainly, it wasn't his over-the-top and not at all believable work as the President here. Since we can't give Sleepless in Seattle any credence on this blog, Casper was nearly career-ending, and about 5 people saw Bottle Shock, let's instead narrow it down to three roles:

1. Lone Starr in Spaceballs. Iconic work, though he was something of the straight man in this comic gem. Still, the line "Princess, you are ugly when you get angry!" never gets old.

2. Dr. Jeffrey Jamison in Singles. His role was pretty benign; however, my appreciate for this move elevates it to about a 7/10.

3. Andy Safian in Malice. One of the all-time underrated nonsensical but thoroughly entertaining movies (one of the few where there's a serial killer as a subplot only), he plays the befuddled man surrounded by idiocy, including Alec Baldwin being the World's Great Surgeon. Personally, this is my pick, even though Baldwin's "I am God" speech makes the movie. (And the Sniper Killer.)

What say ye? Poll's open on the top left, and we're taking comments below. (El Angelo)

Flaccid Funiculi
  • Signed Tim Wakefield, SP, Boston [6/17]
  • Signed Jeremy Accardo, SP, Toronto; Released John Maine, SP, New York (NL) [6/19]
  • Released Accardo, signed Brett Gardner (OF, NYY) [6/29]
  • Signed Chad Gaudin (P, SD); released Randy Wolf (SP, LAD) [7/1]
  • Released Gardner, signed Jose Lopez (2B, SEA)
Capt. Jimmy Wilder: [impersonating Rev. Jesse Jackson] Why we are on this particular mission, we'll never know. But I do know, here today, that the Black Knights will emerge victorious once again.

Our other leading candidate for the top spot, FF spent most of the last month on the starting pitcher treadmill, trying to find hot hands and good matchups. But he might have been too active—FF is on pace to blow through the innings limit by a whopping 50IP, meaning his staff’s counting stats are a bit of a mirage right now. Some fancy footwork will be required down the stretch, assuming that the chasing group of teams don’t go away. (Teddy)

What's really going to make or break this team's outcome isn't these pitchers, it's whether or not Carlos Beltran gets healthy in time and they can keep wringing productive work out of Shin-Shoo Choo and Jose Lopez. I would bet "no" on all three of those, but I have been wrong before. (El Angelo)

Aroids Anonymous
  • Signed Brandon League, RP, Toronto [6/17]
  • Released League; Signed Shawn Marcum, SP, Toronto [6/25]
  • Signed Everth Cabrera (SS, SD); released Chris Volstad [7/6]
David Levinson: Must go faster.

AA is Exhibit #1,563 in the season’s utter discrediting of PECOTA, and to their credit they’ve realized they’re in with a chance and have been good about trying to patch the holes in their staff (i.e. the staff of the Toronto Blue Jays) as they crop up. There’s still a long way to go, but AA also haven’t fired any huge trade bullets yet, so they might have another gear left.

Also, who the sainted funk is Everth Cabrera? (Teddy)

According to his profile, Everth Cabrera is a shortstop for the Padres originally from Nandaime. Since that really didn't answer any questions, I had to google Nandaime to learn it's a municipality in Nicaragua whose patron saints are St. Anne and San Joaquin. We can only hope this means that we have finally found the home town of everyone's favorite Cardinal, Joaquin Andjuar. (El Angelo)

Evil League of Evil
  • Released Latroy Hawkins, RP, Houston [6/20]
  • Signed BJ Ryan (RP, TOR) and Vernon Wells (OF, TOR); released Juan Pierre (Lottery Winner, LAD) [7/5]
  • Acquired via trade Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL) and 6th round pick of Recalcitrant Cobblers; traded away Randy Johnson (SP, DL); released May Gamel (3B, MIL) [7/6]
  • Released Ryan; signed Dan Meyer (P, FLA) [7/7]
Captain Steven Hiller: [after crashing the alien spaceship by the Grand Canyon] *That's* what you get! Ha Ha! Look at you!

If Johnson really is done, we have our winner for best trade of the year. Put an asterisk by this pick in next year’s draft to see who ELoE ends up getting for free. Also, nice snag on Meyer. (Teddy)

I was going to write a screed stating that a 6th round pick is worthless, then decided to go back and actually look at this year's draft swag. Picks in the 6th round included Kevin Slowey, Chris Carpenter, Nelson Cruz, Raul Ibanez, Adam Jones, and stud prospect Pedro Alvarez Those are 5 quality starters and a good prospect, almost all of which are probable keepers. So I stand corrected. Although I will note that this team drafted Randy Johnson with their pick in the 6th round, so in the meta-fantasy realm, this is sort of a wash. (El Angelo)

Unenviable Position
  • Claimed Mike Macdougal, RP, Washington off waivers; Released Kevin Correia, SP, San Diego [6/17]
  • Signed JD Drew, OF, Boston and Scott Rolen, 3B, St. Louis; Released Joel Hanharan, RP, Washington and Carlos Villanueva, RP, Milwaukee [6/19]
  • Released Drew; Signed Luke Hochevar, SP, Kansas City [6/23]
Julius Levinson: If I had known I was gonna meet the president I would've worn a tie. Look at me, I look like a schliemiel.

Mike MacDougal, Scott Rolen, and Luke Hochevar? That’s my haul for the past 3 weeks? I can’t really defend that. (Teddy)

No argument here. Also, I wholly endorse any time we can use Yiddish in a TA and it isn't just calling Sahil a putz. Back to Independence Day, has anyone figured out what sort of reconnisance the aliens did to know that the first buildings they should be destroying were the White House, Empire State Building and downtown Los Angeles, rather than, say, Sao Paolo or Lagos? Because if it was just a first guess by the aliens, it was a helluva guess to go after the world's superpower AND locate their most important cities and key buildings. Somehow, I doubt that happened. There must have been alien spies disguised as humans living amongst us for 40+ years before the attack who figured out the when, where and how to carry out this devastation. Otherwise, the movie doesn't hold water. (El Angelo)

Recalcitrant Cobbler
  • Signed Juan Rivera, OF, Anaheim; Released Carl The Truth Pavano, SP, Cleveland [6/21]
  • Released Rivera [6/23]
  • Signed Dan Meyer, RP, Florida; Released Gary Sheffield, OF, New York (NL) [6/25]
  • Released Meyer; Signed Fernando Nieve, SP, New York (NL) [6/28]
  • Signed Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL) and Oliver Perez (SP, NYM); released Nieve and Pat Burrell (DH, TB) [7/2]
  • Acquired via trade Randy Johnson (SP, SF); traded away Kawakami and a 6th-round pick. [7/6]
  • Signed Nyjer Morgan (OF, WAS) and Jose Contreras (SP, Really?); released Aaron Rowand (OF, SF)
Video Newscaster: [TV news anchor reporting] Once again, the L.A.P.D. is asking Los Angelenos not to fire their guns at the visitor spacecraft. You may inadvertently trigger an interstellar war.

A lot of random firing here. A dodgy trade capped off a period during which Gary Sheffield, Carl Pavano, Oliver Perez, and Jose Contreras all passed through the team’s roster. Not really one for the season-ending highlight reel. (Teddy)

That quote is the second-greatest "don't shoot" line of 90's cinema, right behind John Travolta's deadpan line from Broken Arrow: "Please don't shoot the thermonuclear weapons."

On the actual players for the Kenneth Cole Buttmonkeys, I'm actually of the opinion that Nyjer Morgan isn't a bad pickup, especially for this team, which is next-to-last in stolen bases. Their other offensive production is solid enough they can withstand Morgan's failure to contribute in other categories, but he may help get them 3-5 points in SB's, which constitutes the easiest pickings for this squad to improve. (El Angelo)

Wu Tang Financial
  • Signed Kevin Correia, SP, San Diego [6/22]
  • Released Chris Perez, SP, Cleveland [6/27]
  • Signed Casey McGhee (IF, MIL) [7/2]
[after starting up alien ship] Captain Steven Hiller: I have got to get me one of these!

Free pickup of the week goes to WTF, who land surprise performer Casey McGhee, a guy who has managed to drive the more heralded Mat Gamel back down the Milwaukee depth chart. Kevin Correia? Less so. (Teddy)

McGhee's a 28-year old rookie, so there's a lot of Shane Spencer potential here that it doesn't last more than a month or so. Still, shockingly, this team is suddenly fewer than 8 points from the money. It's worth riding as long as possible. (El Angelo)

Mission Accomplished
  • Signed: Ramon Ramirez (RP, BOS)
  • Called Up: Gordon Beckham (2B, CHW)
  • Waived: Yadier Molina (C, STL), Hong-Chih Kuo (Lt. Cmdr, Kuomintang)
Albert Nimzicki: If we don't act now, we may not have much of an America left to defend.

MA cleans out the bench, calling up his lone remaining prospect. It’s no real secret at this point that this team is emptying every barrel it has in an attempt to win it all this season, so the decision is no real surprise. That said, it’s a little unclear what, if anything, will be in place next year, so the team better hope that these moves add up to a flag. (Teddy)

Actually, next year is not as bad as it looks--next year will still feature, at a minimum, the core of Pujols, Beckham, Upton, Kemp, Jones, King Felix, Price and Slowey. Also, I don't see it as a detriment to have both prospect slots empty. There are currently 9 prospect slots open for the entire league, and even assuming that we get up to 12, that's still such a small number that it's not hard to restock them come next year without dipping too far into the world of Michael Ynoa. (El Angelo)

wormcheese mousebird

Signed: Juan Rivera (OF, LAAoA)
Waived: J. Honny Peralta (SS, CLE)

[Jasmine is driving around the ruins of downtown Los Angeles with hurt people in the back of a pickup and sees a preacher holding up a cross and a bible. He is wearing a cardboard sign around his neck that says "The Time Has Come To Repent While You Can"]
Street Preacher: The end has come! He speaketh his word and the end hast come!
Jasmine Dubrow: Hop on! We're headed out to El Toro.

Street Preacher: You cannot defy what has come. It is the end!

Thus endeth the lowercase run of J. Honny Peralta, erstwhile keeper. We can only hope that he moves on to a better place, like Omaha. (Teddy)

I'm not sure what's more insulting to Peralta, that he was kept and consequently benched for Jose Reyes, meaning he was worthless on March 1st, or that he couldn't hold a starting spot when his competition was Ryan Theriot. What a fall from grace. (El Angelo)

It’s Enrico Palazzo

Squadoosh, yet again.

David Levinson: A toast, to the end of the world.

Are we sure this guy is still alive? Can someone go by his apartment and see if there are any odd odors detectable in the halls? We’re beginning to worry. (Teddy)

I'm a little disappointed that our closing quote wasn't something uttered by Marty Gilbert, played by Teddy's look-alike, the incomparable Harvey Fierstein. We'll just have to settle for photos of him playing Tevye. (El Angelo)

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