Monday, December 27, 2010

Jon Heyman's Latest Silliness

Sometimes it’s hard to criticize other people’s writing. And other times, it’s fish in a barrel. Not to turn all FJM on you, but let’s take a look at Jon Heyman’s piece about 25 bargain free agents that are still out there, because it’s a doozy. We admit that we’re cherry picking a bit and agree that guys like Johnny Damon and Chris Young aren’t horrible ideas for the right price. But as for much of this piece…well, see for yourself with our commentary.

1. Chris Young, SP. He also represents himself in negotiations, and while he's a Princeton man, this is rarely a good idea for maximizing one's deal.

There is nothing as relevant to a pitcher’s potential to help a team as the irrelevant facts of where he went to school and who his agent is.

3. David Eckstein, INF. His mere presence usually means that a team will overachieve. The ultimate scrapper.

Ah, the annual paean to Eckstein.
This one has one of the greatest nuggets ever: merely having him don your uniform means you’re going to overachieve True? Not remotely. We can think of two ways to determine whether a team “overachieved”:

1. Look at their final record versus their Pythagorean record. Ignoring Eckstein’s cup of coffee with Arizona in 2008—where they finished with the same actual record as their Pythagorean record anyway—in Eckstein’s 10 seasons, the delta between actual record and Pythagorean record has been -2, -2, -3, +1, +2, +1, +7, -7, +8, and -1. That’s an average of 0.4 games of overachieving per year. This is clearly attributable to Senor Scraptitude being on your team. This is also written sarcasm.

Looking at their final record versus everyone’s projections in March. This is a little tougher to do because I have better things to do than to look up what Jon Heyman thought the 2004 Angels would do. But let’s note that 40% of Eckstein’s seasons were on losing teams and only 30% of this teams won over 90 games. Where’s the overachievement here?

4. Marcus Thames, DH/1B/OF. He showed enough power to bat fifth against lefties in Joe Girardi's playoff lineups.

When your argument is predicated on the theory that Joe Girardi knows how to manage, it is fundamentally flawed. Ask every Yankee fan.

6. Freddy Garcia, SP. He's been fighting arm questions for years, but the guy is a winner. He isn't a No. 1 anymore and he won't exactly eat up innings, but he can win double-digits at the bottom of someone's rotation.

When was Freddy Garcia ever a #1 starter? The last time he had an ERA+ above 110 was in 2004, when most of the country had no idea who Barack Obama was.

8. Scott Podsednik, OF. And why not? He appears to be undergoing something of a career resurgence.

Podsednik’s OPS+ for the last 7 years: 75, 86, 75, 73, 67, 97, 99. So sure, he’s had a resurgence from utter crap to replacement level.

12. Jason Frasor, RP. Very solid setup man isn't getting the pub -- or the love -- he deserves.

The answer why is conspicuously absent here: Frasor is a Type A free agent. Who wants to give up 2 high draft picks for a middle reliever? We went through this entire exercise with Juan Cruz two years ago when nobody wanted him because of the draft picks they would forfeit. And they were right: he put up a 5.72 ERA in ’09 and was injured last year. Note that it took me under 2 minutes to come up with this answer and data, and unlike Heyman, I don’t do this for a living.

19. Edgar Renteria, SS. He won't approach the $18.5 million, two-year bonanza that he got two years ago, but he's right that the $1 mil the Giants offered seemed a bit light in the wake of his latest World Series heroics.

Yes, one home run should earn you more than a million dollars. By Heyman’s logic, Albert Pujols should have made $50 million last year.

21. Jeff Weaver, RP. He has found a solid niche as an underpaid reliever for his hometown Dodgers team after being an overpaid starter for years.

I actually don’t disagree with this. I’m putting it in to note that if this is one of your top 25 free agent bargains out there, you should have stopped at 20.

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We know it’s a snowy day in New York. But if you’re going to post a piece on a site like, please do some homework first.

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