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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Antonio Perez Underrated at Third Base?
2005-08-12 14:34
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Fielding remains the final frontier of statistical analysis. In particular, midseason evaluations are particularly difficult, because some fielding statistics are not published until season's end.

But naked eye observations can also be misleading, so it can be useful to at least consider some of the more advanced fielding statistics.

What follows are charts of every Dodger infielder with 25 innings or more at a given position – along with the major league leader at that position (minimum 300 innings). I've provided two fielding statistics, as well as one offensive statistic. Detailed explanations can be found in the italics, but for easy comparison's sake, just know that higher is better all around.

Zone rating is the percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc.

Rate2 is a way to look at the fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc. Rate2 incorporates adjustments for league difficulty and normalizes defensive statistics over time.

EQA, or equivalent average, is a measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average EqA is always equal to .260. EqA is derived from Raw EqA, which is (H + TB + 1.5*(BB + HBP + SB) + SH + SF) divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH + SF + CS + SB). REqA is then normalized to account for league difficulty and scale to create EqA.

First BaseInningsZone RatingRate2EQA
Todd Helton836.918115.299
Jeff Kent63.90086.312
Hee Seop Choi539.83697.274
Olmedo Saenz304.83085.298
Jason Phillips75.78688.237

Not surprisingly, middle infielder Kent is probably the best-fielding Dodger first baseman – and yet no comparison to the defense of hitting machine Helton. But note that Choi surpasses Saenz and Phillips in zone rating and exceeds even Kent in Rate2. Based on these offensive and defensive numbers, you can make arguments for Kent, Choi and Saenz at first base – but once again, Phillips comes up lacking at this position.

Second BaseInningsZone RatingRate2EQA
Nick Punto362 2/3.891107.238
Jeff Kent867 2/3.80290.312
Antonio Perez127 1/3.70285.297

Kent is the Dodgers' clear-cut winner over Perez at second base.

ShortstopInningsZone RatingRate2EQA
Jack Wilson966 1/3.883109.214
Cesar Izturis837.859106.227
Oscar Robles125.861100.247
Antonio Perez35.769100.297

Perez also comes up lacking here during his brief time at shortstop, but these numbers give Robles supporters something to feast upon. I can't say I'm convinced that Robles is better than Izturis, but certainly this points to how much Izturis has tailed from the definition of an All-Star shortstop.

Third BaseInningsZone RatingRate2EQA
Scott Rolen476.875114.244
Norihiro Nakamura57.944100-.060
Antonio Perez237.84792.297
Oscar Robles219 1/3.82192.247
Olmedo Saenz86.81589.298
Jose Valentin184.79485.248
Mike Edwards221 2/3.77684.232

In limited duty, Nakamura was dim at the plate but bright in the field. But the big news is that despite the derision he has received, Perez actually matches Robles in one defensive category and surpasses him in another.

True, Perez is no Rolen, but based on these stats, one should wonder whether a) observation of Perez's defense has been misleading and b) whether the defensive stats could possibly be so wrong as to justify the Dodgers not using Perez's offense at third base.

Thanks to ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus for the statistics, and to Rob McMillin and Doug Fearing for providing some guidance with this post.

Comments (133)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-12 14:44:03
1.   Warren
This is why I'm addicted to your site. :)
2005-08-12 14:45:51
2.   Yakface
How is Nakamura doing in vegas anyhow? I have yet to hear anything about him since early july or something like that.
2005-08-12 14:45:56
3.   Eric Enders
It's worth noting that (to my knowledge, at least) nobody except Jim Tracy has been claiming that Perez is an unacceptable defensive third baseman. When I watch him he certainly looks like he can hold his own there, and I'm glad to see the stats bear that out.

I think this may be one of Tracy's little blind spots, where his opinion cannot be swayed no matter the weight of the evidence against it. (see Choi, H.S.)

2005-08-12 14:46:04
4.   fanerman
I've supported the idea of AP at 3B for awhile (I cited his Rate2 stats compared to Robles, too while BP was free, though I think Robles' Rate2 was higher back then). He'd get more comfortable as he plays there more, maybe he can raise that up. Even if he's just been lucky and time will show that he really can't play there right now, what do we have to lose?
2005-08-12 14:47:13
5.   Sam DC
Is anyone else surprised that Choi has played 100 more innings at first than Saenz, Kent and Philips combined?
2005-08-12 14:48:51
6.   Jon Weisman
It's possible that Tracy may be to ballplayers what Jerry, George and Elaine were to dating. Little incidents might play a huge role. It's like Tracy saw Choi or Perez use a toothbrush that had once been dropped in the toilet.
2005-08-12 14:49:31
7.   Jon Weisman
5 - I was surprised by how many innings Choi had at first and Perez had at third. Yet it's still not enough in my view.
2005-08-12 14:49:49
8.   bigcpa
Or maybe Choi ate an eclair out of the garbage?
2005-08-12 14:49:55
9.   Yakface
I thinks it's because he's a ball bobbler, not necessarily an error maker but he bobbles the ball often. However he still makes the out 8 out of 10 bobbles so his offense should more than make up for his quite frequent ball bobbling.
2005-08-12 14:53:21
10.   fanerman
9 - I guess that's the difference between hitting, pitching, and defense. If you look bad hitting or pitching but manage to be successful, people look past it. That doesn't seem to be the case with defense.
2005-08-12 14:54:23
11.   Yakface
Tracy's a Ball Bobbler Bashing Bigot.
2005-08-12 14:55:23
12.   bigcpa
And if you're smooth with range, no one notices when you become smooth with no range- see Steve Finley.
2005-08-12 14:55:33
13.   kent
Perhaps we could trade Choi to Foster Farms in return for Chicken Dogs at the stadium.
2005-08-12 14:56:18
14.   Yakface
13------ ?
2005-08-12 14:56:54
15.   fanerman
12 - Or Vizquel. We SHOULD be taking advantage of that misconception... except our manager is buying into it all the same.
2005-08-12 15:00:16
16.   kent
14- That's what the Yankees ultimately did with George Castanza, they traded him to a poultry company.

While were at it, do you know the difference between Dodger Dogs and Cardinal Dogs?

2005-08-12 15:06:09
17.   Odysseus
Seriously, can depose Jim Tracy in some sort of bloodless coup?
2005-08-12 15:13:20
18.   Steve
Izturis is at 106? Don't you mean 160? or 1060? Again, as usual, I'm stunned.
2005-08-12 15:13:38
19.   natepurcell
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/news/top50/index.jsp?content=2

jon mayos top 50 prospects. i dont like the list and i think the guy is an idiot.

2005-08-12 15:15:56
20.   Nagman
I don't care who plays short at this point, but I do know that I don't want Robles AND Izturis at the top of the lineup every night.
2005-08-12 15:22:15
21.   Eric Enders
19-- So much of an idiot that you decided to do him the favor of increasing his exposure? ;)

By the way, for anyone who likes the Simpsons, this cannot be missed:

http://tinyurl.com/awwau

2005-08-12 15:23:25
22.   fanerman
Los Angeles Dodgers - Disco Stu - Overconfident and forever predicting the return of their glory days. Brought up by devoted fans more often than is probably reasonable, considering their sporadic appearances. Haven't been relevant since the '80s.
2005-08-12 15:24:02
23.   oldbear
Whats strange is that I dont remember Tracy ever being this bad at going against the stats as he has this year?

The treatment of AP/Choi is just mind blowing. Especially considering the team has fallen 12 games under .500 while not playing these guys. Whats to really lose (if your Jim Tracy) by actually playing them?

The key to turning this ship around is Cesar IZturis. If DePo moves him, it has a domino effect on the lineup. We fix the problem of AP not playing, along with our Izzy leading off problem.

AP
Drew
Kent
Bradley
Choi
Cruz Jr
Navarro
Robles

I can dream of this lineup in September.

2005-08-12 15:25:25
24.   popup
For what it is worth I saw A. Perez play short when Vegas played in Tacoma last year. Obviously I did not see him over a long stretch of games, but he did not look like a bad defensive player at all.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-08-12 15:25:25
25.   oldbear
20. Exactly. Thats why it was refreshing last nite to at least see Werth in the #2 spot. Werth has more patience than Izzy, and there's at least a chance, albeit slight, that he could knock one over the fence.
2005-08-12 15:25:26
26.   kent
There are three kinds of lies; little white lies, big whopping lies and statistics.

No computer breakdown is going to sell me on the idea that Robles doesn't have dramatically better hands than AP. That conclusion is simply contrary to the empirical evidence I have collected by watching 95% of this year's games.

2005-08-12 15:31:07
27.   Steve
If I understand the statistic Jon is using correctly, it rates more than "hands." FOr instance, Perez has a better zone rating (balls reached), which could make up for having worse hands.

Anyway, if you look at their ratings, both Robles and Perez are below average, which seems right to me. Perez just has a tag that Robles doesn't.

2005-08-12 15:31:50
28.   fanerman
26 - Nobody is selling the idea that Robles doesn't have dramatically better hands than AP. The idea being sold is that that may not be as big a deal as empirical evidence would suggest. Really, what do we have to lose by trying him there?
2005-08-12 15:35:20
29.   Steve
23 is dead on. If there wasn't tremendous preconceived and ill-considered bias in decision-making, there is not one argument to be employed for playing Izturis that wouldn't be exactly the same as the arguments for playing Choi or Perez, with the added specter on Izturis-backers that they would have to explain why being an average fielder should justify playing (and leading off) one of the worst hitters in the National League.
2005-08-12 15:35:20
30.   kent
I recognize that stats can be useful, but when you rely on them too heavily, they do more harm than good. Stats should be viewed as one tool, not as a panacea. Let the numbers guide our judgments, not replace them.
2005-08-12 15:36:14
31.   Steve
30 -- We all watch the same games you do.
2005-08-12 15:37:18
32.   Howard Fox
I've been to most of the games, and I don't have much confidence in AP's ability afield, except when at second. He seems tentative at best when at third, to the point that Izturis is constantly cajoling him to be aggressive and make plays.

That being said, I'd put him and keep him in the lineup regardless, we need the stick.

I've never liked Izzy at leadoff, too impatient. I like Robles alot up there, although lately he is too patient, taking too many called 3rd strikes.

Werth, to me, is trade bait in the off season.

But the saddest statement on our team - see 20 above -, is Cruz starting after the Red Sox and D'backs dumped him.

Even though off to a slow start, I like Navarro alot, love the way he handles the defense and pitchers. Unfortunately for him, our staff is setting a season long record for slowest deliveries to the plate, to the point that last night Vinny was dissing Odalis about it.

2005-08-12 15:37:34
33.   Nagman
Okay, I'll do a Jim Tracy patented "gut feel" here -- I think the odds of AP changing the outcome of a game defensively seems much smaller than the odds that he could change the outcome of the game offensively. Not to mention putting him in the lineup would help the other hitters.
2005-08-12 15:38:06
34.   kent
31- and do you think AP is as good defensively as Izzy or Robles?
2005-08-12 15:39:29
35.   fanerman
32 - I agree.

30 - If we give him a chance and he's really bad to the point where his offense can't overcome his bad defense, what do we lose? Another game in the standings? What does that matter at this point?

2005-08-12 15:39:31
36.   Howard Fox
34 - he'll be more beneficial offensively than hurtful defensively
2005-08-12 15:41:16
37.   kent
32- I think I agree with every word of your post.
2005-08-12 15:42:01
38.   Bob Timmermann
33
I concur. Thinking that Antonio Perez is going to lose a game with his glove because he made a crucial error in a game (the worst being one at shortstop against KC in my opinion) is Plaschke-style thinking. Such as Plaschke's infamous consignment of the Dodgers to the cellar because Valentin made an error on Opening Day against the Giants.

For years the Dodgers have started all sorts of awful third basemen. Tommy Davis, Bill Sudakis, Steve Garvey, German Rivera, Pedro Guerrero!

Why all of sudden third base has become the most crucial position on the diamond is baffling.

2005-08-12 15:42:01
39.   Howard Fox
35 & 37 - don't get too used to it...I am just having a good day, that's all..
2005-08-12 15:45:45
40.   Odysseus
26 you are conflating empirical evidence with anecdotal evidence
2005-08-12 15:45:46
41.   kent
I never said I wouldn't play AP, I just said I don't buy any stat that suggests I should ignore my own observations and trust numbers that tell me AP is not a defensive liability.
2005-08-12 15:47:37
42.   Kayaker7
41 Shouldn't you be getting ready for tonight's game, instead of wasting time on an internet site? Sheesh, no wonder you make questionable decisions on when to pull starting pitchers.

;-)

2005-08-12 15:47:38
43.   King of the Hobos
24 He was Vegas' starting SS last year. Thurston at 2B and Ricky Bell at 3B
2005-08-12 15:48:10
44.   Odysseus
41 the numbers actually say that Perez is a liability, however, not as much as some would have you believe (I'm talking to you Jim Tracy) and further, that his offensive numbers more than make up for it
2005-08-12 15:48:36
45.   kent
40- 100 games is not anecdotal. Nor is forty years of studying the game. Taken together that is most assuredly empirical.
2005-08-12 15:49:42
46.   Nagman
Have to admit, this team has given DT plenty of things to discuss...

I wonder what they talk about over at Cardinal Thoughts? Must be boring.

2005-08-12 15:49:47
47.   Steve
No. I don't think he is. But the numbers are telling me that he is the same as Robles, and I take that seriously, mostly because I share the same likelihood to suffer from bias as everyone else does. If the stats told me that Izturis was a 125, I would have to look at that too. But the stats tell me what I already knew -- Izturis is an average shortstop who can't hit. Likewise, I think they're telling me that while Perez makes errors with his hands (he's made five), he may have made up for that by reaching five balls that Robles would not have gotten to. Perez appears to have a quicker first step and reaction time than Robles, so I can believe that too.

I'm the one who gave Perez the nickname "Darth Offerman." He hasn't convinced me to change it. But that doesn't mean I don't want him playing. The real debate is whether to play Izturis or Robles at SS.

2005-08-12 15:50:48
48.   kent
42- And miss out on all this collective wisdom?

:)

2005-08-12 15:51:03
49.   Odysseus
actually 40 games is a pretty small sample size, you also seem to be making the mistake of relying too heavilly on subjective evaluations. one of the keys to moneyball is combining objectivity and subjectivity
2005-08-12 15:51:34
50.   Kayaker7
45 Not anecdotal, but relying on your senses, which are fallible.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-12 15:51:37
51.   Bob Timmermann
There are Cardinal blogs.

There are lots of complaints about Tony La Russa. It's something of a standing issue in the city of St. Louis. Sometimes they change things up and complain about Dave Duncan.

2005-08-12 15:53:54
52.   Howard Fox
I'd put Robles at SS, Perez at 3B, trade Izzy and Werth...
2005-08-12 15:55:03
53.   Howard Fox
I'd also trade Thurston...just kidding...
2005-08-12 15:55:06
54.   kent
Gotta go now (I'm Civil Service and it's time to do the crossword).
2005-08-12 15:56:13
55.   Kayaker7
I just think about the tongue-lashing Choi got from Kent, in the dugout, after that bunt fielding incident. I wonder if Tracy consults veterans like Kent. Sorry, just a random thought.
2005-08-12 15:57:12
56.   Howard Fox
55 - if he consults the veterans like Kent, then it doesn't take him much time each day to do that...
2005-08-12 15:58:56
57.   Howard Fox
a thought on that Angel flub by KRod yesterday, Eckstein would have backed up that play...so much for spending being, by definition, a good thing
2005-08-12 15:58:57
58.   Steve
56 -- Well, there's Phillips and Repko
2005-08-12 15:59:09
59.   fanerman
Kent should realize that fielders that look bad aren't necessarily bad (or at least THAT bad), seeing as he kind of fits that mold.
2005-08-12 16:00:38
60.   Howard Fox
58 - good one...but why Phillips?
2005-08-12 16:01:33
61.   fanerman
60 - Does Tracy need one?
2005-08-12 16:02:10
62.   King of the Hobos
Suns game on. Hanrahan starting, still no Laroche

http://www.southernguide.tv/channel1.html

2005-08-12 16:02:19
63.   fanerman
61 I mean "Does Tracy need a reason?"
2005-08-12 16:03:24
64.   Howard Fox
63 - thought that was what you meant
2005-08-12 16:05:44
65.   jasonungar05
So let me get this straight.

Choi CAN field and from the two hole was hitting: .325/384/719/1.103

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, your my only hope.

2005-08-12 16:10:59
66.   Sam DC
I've got to run and I'm sorry if this comment was already made, but it's interesting that we had a pretty robust debate about fielding stats v. our own lyin' eyes during the offseason when Kent came on. Most couldn't believe that Kent actually fielded on par with his stats, which placed him right darn around (or superior to?) Alex Cora. I haven't seen that many games, and it may be that other grander sins simply consume the commenting collective but, after oppotunity for observation, Kent's defense at second seems respected or at least not an issue, as the skeptically-received stats predicted. No?
2005-08-12 16:11:09
67.   fanerman
If Choi and Perez play everyday or almost everyday (I can allow a Robles 3B start for Lowe and Weaver's fragile emotions, since they give up at the first sign of trouble), I may go back into denial.
2005-08-12 16:14:37
68.   Howard Fox
65 - you are kidding right??

whatever Jon's statistical analysis may say, I don't believe they measure that Choi doesn't get to any balls for which he may have to move a step in either direction, or bend over

2005-08-12 16:15:48
69.   Howard Fox
I believe Choi's best position of backup DH
2005-08-12 16:15:58
70.   Eric Enders
66 -- Count me among those who think Kent's defense has been tremendous. Although I was never really one of the skeptics.

And it's not just the numbers, I think he "looks" pretty good too. His range is deceptively good, he's got sure hands, and he is superb at turning the pivot on the DP.

2005-08-12 16:17:08
71.   Howard Fox
70 - Kent is a true professional in every sense of the word, to the point that even Simers had nice things to say about him the other day...
2005-08-12 16:19:26
72.   Jon Weisman
Howard, it's the same sort of story. Choi will never win any awards for his fielding, but even putting aside the stats, how much better do Saenz or Phillips look at first base?
2005-08-12 16:20:42
73.   Steve
This pitching staff would make the 85 Cardinals look slow afoot.
2005-08-12 16:22:01
74.   Jon Weisman
As much as some debated it in the offseason, it is obvious that Kent was a superior choice to Cora at second base for 2005.

What's interesting is that the lesson from those results haven't been applied elsewhere. Take a chance on the adequate if less flashy fielder who is clearly superior offensively. And keep in mind, I loved watching Cora and Izturis play defense.

2005-08-12 16:25:43
75.   GoBears
I think aside from the "fake hustle" deception that a lot of guys provide on IF defense, (Jeter more than anyone) size matters. Big guys just look ungainly. Kent is big for a 2bman. Choi is huge for any position. Perez is not big, but he's bigger than Robles. Little guys look smoother, can get to the ground faster, but cover less ground. 3rd basemen, esp. good ones, are often big guys (Rolen, Schmidt), I think partly because speed isn't as important as reach. Robles looks much better than Perez, and has better hands, but that doesn't mean that Perez can't get to more balls. Same for Kent. Same for Choi. When you're 6'5", you're always going to look awkward reaching down for a ball. Doesn't mean you won't make the play. And, as Yakface pointed out, so what if Choi (or heck, Grudzielaniek in his day) bobbles everything? As long as the out is made. Style points are for "Web Gems."

Thanks for these numbers, Jon. There is NO WAY that the difference between the best and worst defensive players at 3b, SS, and 1B are as large as the offensive opporunity costs.

2005-08-12 16:30:46
76.   Jon Weisman
Funny you mention Grudielanek, who actually is right behind Punto in zone rating this season (.882).
2005-08-12 16:31:15
77.   natepurcell
great article on chuck tiffany:
http://minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050812&content_id=20855&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp
2005-08-12 16:33:29
78.   GoBears
There's another aspect to this that shows why stats help us to organize our perceptions. Each starter usually gets 4-5 plate appearances. How many starting infielders get 4-5 balls hit to them during the game? SS and 2b probably yes. 1b and 3b, probably no. Now, what's the marginal value of a better hitter 4 times, and what's the expected marginal cost of a weaker fielder? It seems to me that a fielder who is a better hitter would have to make at least 1 error per game, maybe more, to not be worth starting.
2005-08-12 16:34:16
79.   Odysseus
75 I think you're spot on. Also, on the style points issue, I think that's what a lot of say, fans, sportwriters, or managers with the initials JT remember -- a flashy diving stop, instead of say consistent solid play (by someone like Kent).
2005-08-12 16:34:27
80.   jasonungar05
I am very serious. I watch Choi on defense and I think he is just fine. AS Jon says, no Mark Grace, no Helton but fine. He is a nice target over there and is better than our other options.

plus there are only guys named Puljos, Cabrerra, Lee and A-rod with OPS over 1.000

2005-08-12 16:38:16
81.   Odysseus
78 that might be taking it too far. One error would probably have a more negative effect than the extra plate appearances would have a positive effect. I don't know how much a given error counts for without looking, but it's probably about a hit, and unless the better hitter gets an extra hit every game to make up for the error (which is probably un unlikley proposition) then it wouldn't be worth it. Of course, this is an extreme example, and the point that an above-average hitting average defending guy is probably worth more than an above-average fielding average hitting guy still stands
2005-08-12 16:42:26
82.   Howard Fox
72 - Jon, its just a personal thing for me, but I have more confidence with Phillips at 1B than Choi...but neither is a first, second or third choice for me...

my opinion: we have no 1st 2nd or 3rd choice...another sad stmt on our team...

2005-08-12 16:43:26
83.   Howard Fox
74 - maybe it was Cora who made Izzy look better...just a thought...
2005-08-12 16:44:03
84.   natepurcell
crap! jtD just got HBP on the arm! he is down for the count...
2005-08-12 16:45:02
85.   fanerman
Drew, Phillips, LaRoche, JtD: Is this some kind of conspiracy?
2005-08-12 16:45:50
86.   GoBears
81: Errors vs. hits. Well, that depends on the difference in OPS. A hit is not a hit if it's doubles and HRs (Saenz/Choi) instead of singles (Phillips, Robles), and walks count too. Most IF errors are for one base.

But I agree with 80 as well. I agree that Choi has some trouble moving laterally for balls on the ground. But I think he's actually terrific at doing what 1b mostly requires, which is scooping or reaching for bad throws (helps that he's really tall, but that counts). He also starts the DP well (helps that he's a lefty, but that counts too).

I looked at last night's lineup, and liked it, except for Phillips. Then, of course, JP hits a homer, just to make Tracy look good. Good for him - not his fault he's playing ahead of better choices. Offensively AND defensively.

2005-08-12 16:45:59
87.   Howard Fox
sorry, jtd is who?
2005-08-12 16:46:09
88.   King of the Hobos
Guzman was hit on his left forearm. It was painful, but he should be fine. Stayed in the game
2005-08-12 16:47:12
89.   Howard Fox
88 - that is cuz he is a stud
2005-08-12 16:47:28
90.   fanerman
87 - Joel "The Destroyer" Guzman
2005-08-12 16:47:38
91.   Odysseus
87 Joel the Destroyer
2005-08-12 16:47:48
92.   Howard Fox
90 - ahh...thanks...
2005-08-12 16:47:58
93.   Steve
we have no 1st 2nd or 3rd choice...another sad stmt on our team...

Tracy only makes it look that way.

2005-08-12 16:48:44
94.   Howard Fox
what other way is there...who is our MLB thoroughly professional first baseman?
2005-08-12 16:50:57
95.   King of the Hobos
I decided to believ the announcer rather than post the facts. It was the right forearm, but the announcer kept saying left (he just corrected himself). Not that it really matters, Guzman has enough muscle that that was just a bruise (albeit a painful one)
2005-08-12 16:53:05
96.   Steve
I know you are biased on this, but Hee Seop Choi is our thoroughly professional first baseman, in a platoon with Olmedo Saenz. Nothing has changed since the beginning of the season. Choi is playing exactly as predicted. Saenz is playing better than predicted. So why is Phillips playing first? Tracy found the one way to take that Ishii/Phillips trade and spin it into a disaster.
2005-08-12 16:53:22
97.   Howard Fox
to follow up on 94...

Saenz? a DH out of position when afield

Choi? should be a DH

Phillips? a second string catcher, maybe

Kent? an all star 2B

who should be our first baseman?

2005-08-12 16:53:49
98.   GoBears
82 Well, it's not just you, Howard. Tracy obviously feels the same way. But I completely disagree. Numbers aside (tho I believe them) I've actually seen Phillips make more mistakes defensively at first than Choi. Even Vinny criticized him for making bad decisions (e.g., whether to go for balls in teh hole or cover the bag, how or when to rush up on bunts). And he has zero range. Smaller, slower, and, well, he moves like a veteran catcher.
2005-08-12 16:55:09
99.   Howard Fox
yes, I am biased on this...I expect high quality at the corners...the top teams have that, and until we get it, we won't contend for the world series...
2005-08-12 16:56:19
100.   Steve
So you want Jason Phillips? You're not making sense.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-08-12 16:57:05
101.   Howard Fox
my point is we have no choice
2005-08-12 16:58:46
102.   Steve
We have the choice to stop trading on preconceived biases and misinformation and play the 26 year old with a chance to make something of his career (and the 800 OPS at this point) rather than the 30 year old outeater with no range and numbers that, if were Fred McGriff, would get him booed out of the stadium.
2005-08-12 17:00:28
103.   fanerman
102 - Yes. The arguments for Choi and Perez are one in the same. Much of the season has been a disaster. Let's make something of it and see how good (or bad) the young players really are.
2005-08-12 17:02:05
104.   Jon Weisman
I would just say that no one is opposed to doing better than Choi if we can do better. But it's just very hard to see how Phillips is better.
2005-08-12 17:02:16
105.   dzzrtRatt
It was only a dream, but...

I got in my car today around 4:20 after doing an errand. I turned on my radio and heard Joe McDonnell in mid-rant. He was criticizing DePodesta for not making any deadline deals and for getting Cruz,Jr., and saying Tracy was getting a bad rap, he had been a winner all four years he was here, and from his tone, for just a few moments I thought it had finally happened: Jim Tracy got fired. The Big Nazz seemed really angry about it.

So I got back to the computer, jumped on DT and, alas, no sign of it. But it was a nice feeling while it lasted.

2005-08-12 17:04:55
106.   Steve
I just can't even believe this. Was anybody watching that Cardinal series? Penny and Lowe are giving up rockets down the first base side, and that's when all of this started, and there has been discussion of his range since.

The pitching staff sucks. They get exactly what they deserve, and it doesn't matter one whit who is playing the corners on defense. If we were going to win anything this season, we were going to have to win by hitting the ball. For a month now, we've benched everyone who even looked like they MIGHT start hitting the ball for players that aren't even better than the people they are replacing on defense.

It is ridiculous, and THAT is DePodesta's fault, and THAT is why he and Tracy should both find their dumb #&%*(&# on the street.

2005-08-12 17:06:03
107.   fanerman
Howard, I think you've struck one of Steve's nerves.
2005-08-12 17:08:11
108.   dzzrtRatt
It is true that DePodesta can gain control of the lineup if he DFA'd some of Tracy's faves. What would Tracy's reaction be if we traded JT to Tampa Bay for a PTBNL?

I guess I'm descending into nihilism now.

2005-08-12 17:09:52
109.   Eric Enders
"I expect high quality at the corners...the top teams have that, and until we get it, we won't contend for the world series..."
-----

Of course, having good players at the corners wins championships.

Unless being strong up the middle wins championships.

Oh, wait! I've got it! Strong starting pitching wins championships.

No, of course not -- everybody knows that a strong bullpen wins championships.

You know what? Maybe it's strong teams that win championships. Maybe teams that make up for weaknesses in one spot by being strong somewhere else win championships. Maybe we shouldn't worry so much about making definitive statements that you can't win a championship without a strong [insert position here]. Because such statements are, frankly, 100% manure. You can win a championship with any kind of team, as long as your strengths outnumber your weaknesses.

2005-08-12 17:12:13
110.   dzzrtRatt
I meant JP.
2005-08-12 17:14:49
111.   HomeDePo
i just noticed that laroche needs to improve on one thing before he breaks the home run record with us... plate discipline. if he would walk he would be the new messiah (of the only messiah, depending on your religion)
2005-08-12 17:15:10
112.   Odysseus
can we just DFA JT instead?
2005-08-12 17:18:30
113.   Brendan
99

Howard I think you are great and enjoy your sense of humor but you are making two different arguments.

2005-08-12 17:18:33
114.   Jon Weisman
Okay, let's not get too heated in here.

A separate game thread will be coming soon - watch for it.

2005-08-12 17:21:41
115.   Steve
DFA them all, and let God sort them out.
2005-08-12 17:23:09
116.   Jim Hitchcock
To Eric from last thread:

By the way I picked up a copy of your W.S. book earlier this year. It is really an excellent book.

Echo that. Love the history in the book. And the photographs!

It's not only a great coffee table book, it's large enough to replace a coffee table with the addition of legs... :)

Also, thanks for recommending Looking For Alaska.

2005-08-12 17:24:09
117.   Kayaker7
109 Awesome post. I have heard too many cliches like "xxxx wins championships."
2005-08-12 17:24:11
118.   GoBears
109 Amen, bruthah.

Anyone heard any news on whether or not Beltran will play tonight?

2005-08-12 17:25:33
119.   Eric Enders
Thanks, Jim. I keep mine by the door so I can smash intruders over the head with it. ;)
2005-08-12 17:27:29
120.   Steve
Can't win a championship without a strong bench. And we certainly have one of those.
2005-08-12 17:32:10
121.   Kayaker7
120 Yeah, I heard it's made of solid oak, rather than the usual pine.
2005-08-12 17:33:47
122.   Steve
They used the pine for Tracy's brain.
2005-08-12 17:34:41
123.   GoBears
120 I know Steve was being ironic, but it has occurred to me that the Yankees in the 90s won so often in part BECAUSE they had a lousy bench (and the starters stayed healthy). There was zero temptation, the odd Luis Sojo sighting aside, for Torre to screw around. His bench was so bad that he had no choice but to let his real hitters hit.
2005-08-12 17:35:03
124.   scareduck
118 - nobody's saying, but since he was in the hospital yesterday, I have to believe he won't appear in today's game. He's listed day-to-day.
2005-08-12 17:36:37
125.   Steve
DePodesta did such a good job last year blowing out all the garbage Tracy was using idiotically at the trade deadline. This is what it is like to have expectations, and see them dashed.
2005-08-12 17:37:49
126.   Kayaker7
122 They had some pine left over to make some bats for Izturis.
2005-08-12 17:38:12
127.   Eric Enders
Cliff Floyd also was quoted as saying that his knee is still sore, and that he should've come out of the game after he was hit last night. Beltran spent the night in the hospital and did not accompany the team to L.A. The Mets may be without all three of their starting OFs tonight.
2005-08-12 17:40:39
128.   Steve
And a glove for Mike Edwards.
2005-08-12 17:43:59
129.   GoBears
125 - I really think that the Jose Cruz signing was in part to force Repko to the bench. And I liked the deal and said so, repeatedly (the "well, he's better than Repko argument). But man, Cruz has just looked AWFUL so far. 5 Ks in his first 6 ABs, and maybe one good swing all told. He has looked like a frightened rookie, completely confused at the plate. I don't understand it. I know he's in decline, but this is ridiculous. Let's hope it's just jet lag (or something). It's one thing for a guy to have a bad year, statistically, but it's another for him to have a bad year, and look so much worse than those bad numbers.

In other news, Valentin "LOOKED" great at 3b last night. 4 outstanding plays.
He's "only" 31. Hopefully, he'll snap out of it. But I fear JT might not start him again, and if he really is this bad (i.e., those bad numbers are not just a slump), the JT will be correct.

2005-08-12 17:47:00
130.   scareduck
129 - Cruz, Jr. has been DFA'd by no fewer than TWO teams over the last month. There is a reason for this.
2005-08-12 17:58:13
131.   scareduck
122 -

Tracy scribbles in the lineup
Without a worthy sign-up
No Choi at first again
With the Dodgers in a spiral
The offense wouldn't be so viral
If he only had a brain.

DePo didn't get us hitters
A roster full of quitters
No trades to save us pain
When he should be bats a-snatchin'
And out fixin' up our catchin'
If he only had a brain

2005-08-12 18:10:27
132.   ddger
Scareduck, I didn't know you were a poet also. That was really good one.
2005-08-12 18:41:55
133.   jpeace
What an interesting post. Too bad Tracy wouldn't be able to make sense of it if it saved his life.

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