Thursday, June 30, 2005


We Traded Piazza For Whom?

Some quotes over the years from Mr. Bubbly himself.
"We get paid a lot of money just to play baseball, and Mondy's got to realize that Davey is the manager and Kevin is the GM... You just can't have this. I'm sure there are millions of guys out there who would love to do what we're doing."
- Regarding Mondesi's antics in 1999. Sniff, sniff.

" I am, their biggest player, and I'm fifth on the team payroll? I don't want to be portrayed as a greedy athlete, but let's be fair about this... I'm getting less than Dreifort? I'm getting just $3 million more than Carlos Perez? It's not my fault they signed Perez to that stupid contract..."
- 2001 before being traded to Atlanta.

"If I'm not happy, you don't want me on your team, period... That's just the way it goes. That's life. I have to deal with what they dish out, they got to deal with what I dish out, period. That's just the way it's going to be... I'll ask for everything... You're going to inconvenience me, I'm going to inconvenience every situation there is."
- Recent comments on trade rumors to the Mets.
Greedy come, greedy go.

Jeter: "Let go of my ass, Sheff."
Sheffield: "Not until I check your back pocket, boy."
Jeter: "What for?"
Sheffield: "I heard that you got a nice fat contract, and I want a piece of it."
Jeter: "Go frisk A-Rod, then."

No game today. Couple of fun websites.

"Bye Bye Miss American Pie..."

Find the #1 song on the day you were born.

Warning: May Make One Dizzy

Which box is it?

EDIT: Where Is The Love For Bill Plaschke?

I hate sentence fragments!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Mostly Random Stuff

It is indeed a sad game when Scott Erickson is the only pitcher not to allow a run. Not to mention Izturis and Perez getting on base only once thanks to an error.

I could have sworn Jim Tracy not playing Choi against Brian Lawrence last week because of "arm angles". That double looked good enough to me...

Both Baseball Prospectus and the Hardball Times list the Dodgers' team defensive efficiency as mid-pack in baseball, but better than any other team in the NL West.

This division really stinks. That's good. The Dodgers still have a chance.

I recently saw this photo. This is such an odd trio that I can't resist this one.

Clinton's got the biggest smile out of the three. What could they be staring at?

Maybe this?

Hef, that lucky bastard.

Completely OT:
I cracked up when I saw this.

Thanks to Dead Guy.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


My 3B Shopping List

It seemed clear about a month ago that the #1 trade possibility was for starting pitching. Since then, Bradley has gone on the DL, Ledee hurt his hamstring, Gagne is out for the season, and Bako is also done for the year. Drew has missed a few games with a sore knee, and given his past medical history, a trip to the DL would not be a surprise. The current roster has holes everywhere, but hopefully most of the needs will be filled as the injured players return.

Assuming that everyone returns healthy, the one trade I would make to improve the team would be for a 3B. Collectively, the LA 3Bs are 6th worst in OPS in the majors. The in-house candidates all have flaws. Nakamura couldn't hit, Antonio Perez has been shaky defensively, Saenz has the mobility of an oven, and the rest are AAAA players. It's also hard to say how effective Valentin will be when he returns in about a month. It's possible that he will not be 100% with a surgically repaired knee. Even if fully healed, he could be rusty after missing so much time. So trading for a veteran 3B with a decent bat and glove might be a prudent move.

In my opinion, a top-of-the-rotation SP or a power bat such as Dunn are the only acquisitions for whom DePodesta is willing to give up the top prospects. A 3B upgrade could be a short term rental who would cost little in terms of talent. LA probably has enough payroll space to take on a medium-sized contract.

Here are my thoughts on potential 3B acquisitions. The salary data is from Hardball Dollars. Fielding and hitting stats are from ESPN. Line drive %, BABIP, and and a predictive measure called PrOPS are from the Hardball Times.

Here is a graph mapping the major league hitters' line drive % versus BABIP as of 6/24/05. Certain third basemen are noted in color. Antonio Perez and Jeff Cirillo were crudely drawn in by hand as they did not have enough at-bats to be "qualified".

r sq = 0.22, slope = 0.52, stan err = 0.032

Line drives turn into hits about 75% of the time, while flyballs and groundballs turn into hits about 25% of the time. So the "slope" should be about 50%, which it is. A player below the trend line could be considered "unlucky", and may be due for a regrssion to the mean. Conversely, a player above the trend line could be considered "lucky", and may be due for a crash back down to Earth.

Note how "lucky" Antonio Perez has been so far. His .330 BA could plummet, just as Izturis' BA dropped this month. If so, Perez's value would drop, as hitting is his only notable skill; his fundamentals aren't exactly stellar. It might be a good time to "buy low and sell high", trading Perez ideally for an undervalued 3B.

Likewise, Inge's and Mackowiak's luck could run out soon. On the other hand, Crede, Lowell, and Boone look to be "due".

A couple of months ago, the folks at the Hardball Times came up with a predictive measure called PrOPS, which more or less predicts what a hitter's OPS SHOULD be had he gotten an average amount of luck. This approach is nice because it incorporates ball-in-play events with defense independent events, mainly Ks, BBs, and power. Here are the same players' PrOPS compared to their actual OPS, as of 6/19/05.

As with the line drive graph, Antonio Perez is due for a tumble. (Trade bait!) Inge and Mackowiak also have been rather lucky, along with Cirillo, who is having a huge rebound year. Those players' values are probably overinflated, as their numbers might come back down from the stratosphere. Unlucky or not, Beltre and Lowell have not justifed their large contracts.

That leaves 5 names who might be undervalued. Chavez is a great player, but his large contract probably makes trading for him difficult. Crede has a small contract and is due for some luck, but it's unlikely the White Sox would trade him given their record, which is the best in MLB. If anything, the White Sox will amass more talent, not trade them away.

This leaves 3 names. Boone, Randa, and Ensberg.

1) Cleveland, currently 37 - 34 and probably looking for offense.

Aaron Boone
2005: .599 OPS, .762 ZR, .959 FPCT as of 6/24/05
career: .767 OPS, .774 ZR, .952 RFCT
32 years old, 7th year in MLB
$3 mil salary in 05 with a team option at $4.5 million for 06, with incentives

Boone has been a distaster with the bat, but he is my pick out of the group, mainly because he probably has a low price tag given his lack of production. According to the graph above, Boone may be the unluckiest hitter in baseball, and is seriously due. Indeed, he appears to be headed towards a rebound, as he has a healthy .918 OPS so far this month. With the return of OF Gerut from the DL, the Indians' outfield looks a bit crowded. By trading Boone, Cleveland could put Casey Blake at 3B and save a few bucks in the process.

The problem in trading with Cleveland is the standings. The Indians are currently 12.5 games out of first place in the division, but only 4 games out of the wild card. Who knows whether they'll be buyers or sellers at the end of July. If they're sellers, some second-tier prospects might do. If they're buyers, they are probably looking for an established right-handed power bat to replace Juan Gonzalez, who is once again on the DL. If Cleveland wanted Olmedo Saenz in exchange for Boone and a reliever, I would do that trade as long as Bradley and Drew prove healthy. Better yet, a straight swap between Boone and Perez would give the Indians a leadoff hitter with a "high" OBP.

Saenz or Perez might seem a steep price to pay given their levels of production, but trading for Boone could be similar to the Jason Phillips trade: acquiring an "unlucky" player due a major rebound for a "lucky" one, while giving the in-house prospects another year to develop. Since the top 3B prospects such as LaRoche or Guzman probably will not be ready until 2007, holding a $4.5 million 2006 team option on a starting 3B might not be a bad thing.

2) Cincinnati, where there's going to be a fire sale soon.

Joe Randa
2005: .870 OPS, .812 ZR, .983 FPCT
career: .770 OPS .751 ZR, .963 FPCT
35 years old, 10th year in MLB
$2.15 million for 2005

Randa might be a perfect short term upgrade, and is probably available on the trade market immediately. For the Dodgers, he could be this year's Steve Finley. Cincinnati is probably handing the postion next year to top prospect Edwin Encarnacion, and can fill the position in the meantime with Aurillia or Freel.

Given the current turmoil in Cincinnati, no transaction is off limits. Unfortunately Cincinnati probably wants young pitching in exchange, and that's proably what DePodesta does not want to trade away, unless he gets in return a premium player such as Dunn. A megadeal between LA and Cincinnati would not be a surprise.

3) Houston, which is out of the playoff picture.

Morgan Ensberg
2005: .908 OPS, .780 ZR, .964 FPCT
career: .830 OPS, .760 ZR, .954 FPCT
29 years old, 4th year in MLB
$450K salary in 05

Roy Oswalt would be nice, but such a trade would be a whopper, as he would be very expensive to acquire. Ensberg may not the Astro that everyone is clamoring for, but he would represent a serious upgrade, as he is currently 3rd in OPS among qualifed third basemen. He is also arbitration eligible and cheap, salary-wise. In other words, acquiring Ensberg would be fairly costly.

Houston has Mike Lamb, who could fill in at 3B, but their outfield looks relatively thin next year. Biggio is in the last year of his contract, and the Lastros have young 2B Chris Burke playing LF. Bagwell's career is in jeopardy after undergoing season-ending surgery on his shoulder, and OF Berkman has shifted to 1B for the time being. They might want a young outfielder with pop, along with some prospects. A trade for Ensberg involving Jayson Werth, who is finally displaying the power seen last year, could be a good match for both teams.

All this is if and only if Bradley, Drew, and Ledee get healthy soon. Otherwise, the hole created by trading Werth or even Saenz could be bigger than the one made up at 3B.

Sunday Edit: Never mind on Werth. A 2 HR game doesn't make a career, but LA desperately needs his power bat now that Saenz was seen limping in the 9th inning. Of course, judging Werth on one game would be similar to touting Grabowski for a Gold Glove for that fantastic diving catch today...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Was It Over When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?

Hallelujah! A 1 game winning streak!

The positives:
Jayson Werth finally showed the power bat that he displayed last year. Brazoban got the save, hopefully the first of many to come. A positive pitching performance by a couple of rookies, Houlton and Osoria.

Houlton is has so far been impressive as a starter, considering that he is a mere Rule 5 pick. Some numbers during his 4 starts:

22.1 innings
2 HRs allowed
9 bases on balls
21 strikeouts

Once Odalis returns, it remains to be seen who stays in the rotation - Houlton or Dessens? It could be Houlton, as Dessens may have more value either out of the bullpen or as a trading chip.

In the negative column:
J. D. Drew has a sore knee and will probably miss a few games. It doesn't sound serious, but given his injury history, nothing's for certain. Drew sitting out probably means F. P. Grabowski gets more playing time. Oy vey.

Antonio Perez botched yet another bunt attempt. That's now 3 on this road trip, 2 of which were quite costly. I don't have a problem with today's bunt in itself - after yesterday's failure to advance the runner, Perez probably worked on bunting quite a bit before today's game, and Tracy probably wanted to show his faith in him.

I do, however, think that a tied game in the 6th is NOT a bunt situation. Save the littleball stuff for the later innings of a tight game, when "run expectancy" often veers from "win expectancy."

Good win. Finally.

Monday, June 20, 2005


How To Lose Every Game in 6, 7, Now 8 Days

I bailed on a group dinner at Asia de Cuba and presumebly some follow-up drinks at Skybar due to feeling incredibly asocial this weekend. Instead, I ended up watching "How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days", starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. (Don't ask. It was the only movie on TV that I hadn't seen.) I stopped watching about half way when I realized that the ending was going to be some sort of a get-back-together routine, and Kate Hudson wasn't going to show any skin. Typical chick flick. No reason to watch it, unless coerced by the significant other.

The plot is about a female columnist who, for the purpose of writing an article, tries to have a guy dump her by intentionally doing all the wrong things in a relationship. Buying him a hairless poodle, barging in on a poker night with a PMS-induced tantrum, ruining a dinner cooked by the guy by saying she's a vegetarian, etc. I bring this movie up because it mirrors the recent plight of the Dodgers, who found every creative yet painful way of losing 6 straight. A quick recap -

How Not To Bunt
Game 1 vs. KC: Down by 1, the Dodgers strike out 3 times in the 8th despite 2 gift baserunners via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. In the 9th with a runner on 1st, the Dodgers give away 2 outs with botched bunts while facing one of the worst closers in baseball.

Takin' Pity On An Old Friend
Game 2 vs. KC: The Dodgers' bats fall silent in order to give ex-teammate Jose Lima his first victory of the year. Apparently the Dodgers are overwhelemed by so much "heart-and-soul" facing them on the mound.

The Return Of Jose Offerman
Game 3 vs. KC: Lead-gloved Antonio Perez commits a fielding error in the 6th inning, and Lowe, haunted by the memories of the early 04 Red Sox defense, implodes immediately.

Bullied By Buerhle
Game 1 vs. CWS: The Dodgers start a Rule 5 rookie pitcher against the staff ace of the team with the best record in baseball. The game is decided before it starts. The Dodgers are promptly shut out.

The End Of "Game Over"
Game 2 vs. CWS: Despite the umpires' best efforts to hand out a mercy win by giving LA a gift insurance run in the 8th, LA still manages to lose as new closer Yhency Brazoban blows a 2 run save. The walk-off HR is hit by ex-Giant Pierzynski, adding insult to injury.

Misssster Hee Sssseop Andersssson...
Game 3 vs. CWS: Proving that Chan Ho Park is not the only Korean major leaguer with martial arts skills, Hee Seop Choi demonstrates the Neo "dodge the bullets" move during a bunt attempt, and hinders Kent's play at 1B. Overall, 3 errors and 2 unearned runs.

What's next, an on-field brawl amongst Dodger players? An inside-the-park HR allowed to the opposing pitcher? Giving up 2 grand slams in the same inning to the same hitter? (Oh wait, that's been done before.)

Fortunately, the division is so terrible that LA is still only 4.5 games out of 1st place despite losing 33 out of the last 54 games. The Dodgers are hopefully running out of ways to lose, so maybe the team is due for a turnaround. Who knows if there is a happy ending like the chick flick, but the rest of the season can't be as bad as the current stretch.

I hope so. The Dodgers need wins as much as Kate Hudson needs some boobs.

13 Ks Baked By Jake
Game 1 vs. SD: LA gets mowed down by Peavy, the young stud ace of SD. Down by 1 in the 8th inning, the Dodgers get a gift runner on 2nd with 0 outs, thanks to a fielding error. In keeping with the recent skid, the runner does not score, never mind advance even a base.

Dios mio.

Edit 2:
How Not To Bunt, Deja Vu
Game 2 vs. SD: In a game eerily similar to the first game of the losing streak, the team is down by 1 in the 9th with runners on 1st and 2nd base due to a rare catcher's interference call and a walk. Antonio Perez manages to get a bunt down this time, but right at the pitcher. Easy out at 3rd. Different game, same result.

It's hard to watch the team repeating the same mistakes over and over. LA has run out of new and creative ways to lose.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Pain And Wasted Power

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole...

- Trent Reznor, "Hurt"
Today's lineup, brought to you by Centinela Hospital:

DH Perez (in place of Saenz, who has a sore foot)
RF Werth
CF Drew
2B Kent
1B Choi
C Phillips
LF Grabowski (in place of Bradley, who is on the DL)
3B Edwards (in place of Valentin, who is on the DL)
SS Robles (in place of Izturis, who has a tender hamstring)

SP Dessens (in place of Odalis Perez, who is on a rehab assignment)

The somewhat ironic aspect of all the injuries is that J. D. Drew, who has averaged only 121 games in the previous 6 seasons, is SECOND in games played, just 2 games less than Kent.

Drew's OPS so far this month is 1.212, and for the season has climbed to .899, just below his career average of .904. Along with Drew, Kent (1.087) and Choi (1.107) have been stellar this month. Hitters 2 through 4 have produced.

Meanwhile, Izturis (.257) and Antonio Perez (.671) have done little at the top of the lineup, and thus the power from the middle of the lineup has been largely been wasted. Of the 16 HRs hit by Choi, Drew, and Kent this month, only 3 have come with men on base.

Last year, the team was only 3 games above .500 as late as July 2nd. That July, the team caught fire and won 21 games while losing 7; the team scored an average of 5.8 runs per game while allowing only 3.6. This is obviously not to imply that this year's team will also go on a roll, but with the season only 40% complete, it's too early for "gloom and doom" rants. Yet.

Here is an article about how some of last year's top picks are adjusting to the daily grind of professional baseball.

...with the season only 40% complete, it's too early for "gloom and doom" rants. Yet.
I'm now pissed.

How the hell do you lose a game like that when Dessens was on, Sanchez was lights out, and the team got a gift insurance run in the 8th?

Robles twice gets caught on the basepaths, both with Antonio Perez at the plate. In the first save opportunity since Gagne's injury, Blowzaban walks the 1st hitter, allows a stolen base without even a toss to 1B, and gives up a walk-off HR.

LA is now under .500 for the first time since opening day.

I'm gonna go home, get drunk, and kick my dog. I'm mad.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Gagne Hurts His Elbow Again

The DL is now 10 players, in all likelihood.

Eric Gagne had an MRI done on his elbow today, and was diagnosed with a "second-degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament." I'm no doctor, but this sounds more serious than the earlier problem with the elbow in April, when Gagne went on the DL with a "mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow." The ulnar and medial collateral ligaments are the same ligament, the one that required Tommy John surgery in 1997.

According to my friend who is a doctor, (He just passed his his boards in radiology and is moving on to a Fellowship in interventional radiology at Stanford. Congrats!) a second-degree sprain is a partial tear of anywhere from 1% to 99% with a chance to heal. My friend had a grimaced look when I told him the person was Gagne. That's not good. He looks at MRIs all day.

Gagne missed 35 games with a mild sprain in April. He could be out much longer with a second-degree sprain. Let's hope that the tear is closer to 1% than 99%.

Brazoban did a fantastic job earlier filling in as the closer, so I don't think the 9th inning is a major concern. More worrysome are the 7th and 8th innings, as Carrara and Sanchez must fill in for Brazoban. It's time for the bullpen to step up.

My earlier wish for a starting pitcher via trade is no longer. The team might need a starting pitcher AND a reliever.

Edit: I just got back from some celebratory drinks at a local bar with my radiology friend and saw Antonio Perez AND Izturis waste 2 outs in the 9th with attempted bunts. I know that Choi hit another one out, and Tracy probably wanted Choi to bat with the game on the line, but waste two outs with TWO ATTEMPTED BUNTS? I heard no sound as I was at a loud bar, so I don't know whether Izturis was ordered to bunt or not. Still, those bunts gave away two precious outs, and that's not right.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Great Way To Close A Homestand

Just got back from the game. Some thoughts.

The fielding today was shoddy; the glovework of Izturis and Bradley were sorely missed. No way would those two let a shallow flyball drop between them as Perez, Grabowski, and Drew did today. The 6th inning was nearly disasterous, as Drew misplayed a ball that sailed over his head, Rose muffed a popup, and Choi lost a popup only to be saved by Kent's hustle at the last second.

Houlton needs some polishing; he made no attempt to hold the runner at 2nd base before the double steal/run-and-hit play. Still, Houlton kept his poise throught the game, and probably earned a start next weekend along with Dessens, who allowed 1 hit and 0 runs while striking out 5 in 4 innings of work today in AAA. (Edwin Jackson: 7BBs and 5 hits allowed in 3 innings. Yikes!)

Grabowski ended an inning as he attempted to score from 2nd base on a single, with Choi on deck. Grabowski was out by a mile. Choi promptly hit his 3rd home run leading off the next inning. Hindsight is 20/20, but Choi had already hit 2 home runs earlier in the game. Why not hold Grabowski at 3rd base, Glenn "Wendell" Hoffman?

And the man of the hour...




Choi displayed his power Saturday night when he absolutely crushed one almost out of the ballpark. That moonshot may be the longest home run I've seen in person at Dodger Stadium, and the second hardest hit. (Piazza once launched a line drive where the ball zoomed right at me, and I could see its seams. The ball was knuckling as it landed 2 seats from me.) Choi has hit 6 home runs in the last 3 games. The Dodgers 1st basemen, thanks to Choi and Saenz, are fifth in OPS in the majors, according to ESPN.

Just don't forget your shades during day games, Hee Seop.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Mr. Lisa and Coyote Ugly

In the last 3 days, Ricky Ledee and Wilson Alvarez joined the DL with a strained hamstring and shoulder tendinitis, respectively. There are now 9 players on the DL, including one starting pitcher and two swingmen. Fortunately, the off-day today and on June 13th means that the #5 spot in the rotation can be skipped until June 18th, and the bullpen can get some rest after 16 games in 16 days.

It's truly strange saying this, but Dessens is starting to look like a savior when he finishes his rehab assignment and joins the starting rotation, possibly in time for the game on June 18th. The question is who gets bumped when Dessens is activated. Which brings me to....

I was at White Lotus last week and noticed that many of the girls were wearing fluffy bohemian blouses over jeans. This must be some sort of a hideous fashion trend I was not aware of. Why a girl would go clubbing wearing a translucent shower curtain was beyond me, until I realized that wearing such a shapeless outfit is perfect for masking deficiencies underneath.

The same applies to Mr. Lisa and his "homerun-air" disease, despite all my wishes to the contrary last month. In my linked post, I supported the notion that Erickson could still be serviceable, since most pitchers regress to a HR rate of about 10% of flyballs. (The Hardball Times explains it better here.) Mea culpa for thinking Erickson is like "most" pitchers, those who can actually get major league hitters out instead of throwing BP.

His 6 inning, 2 run outing immediately following my article turned out to be false hope, nothing but a tease from an ugly chick hiding her chub by wearing the fluffy blouse thing. She may look OK initially, even semi-cute after a few drinks, but once you get close and personal, the hideous nature of the beast becomes apparent.

Erickson may no longer have his good stuff, but he still has his confidence intact. He STILL thinks he deserves to start. He is probably correct that he is better as a starter than a reliever, but I take this to mean that if he can't cut it as a starter, he's worthless as a reliever. The ugly chick hasn't mustered the courage to look at a mirror yet.

Also in the linked article -
So if Erickson continues to struggle in a relief role, his Dodger days might be numbered.

His upper lip stiffened again.

"What's to worry about? I've played 15 years in the major leagues. When I was a kid I wanted to play one day in the major leagues," Erickson said. "I've had an amazing life."
Erickson knows that he is probably gone with one more bad outing. Someone has to go when the pitchers on the DL return, since it seems that Thompson has earned a role as either a #5 starter or a lefty reliever. Barring a miraculous turnaround or further injuries to other pitchers, Erickson might be the one given the slip. It's almost time for the coyote to gnaw off its own paw in order to escape.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Job Listing

Company: Los Angeles Dodgers
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Job Title: Starting Pitcher
Work Type: Full-time until Oct/Nov 2005
Industry: Professional Sports Entertainment
Required Education: None
Pay Scale: Competitive salary and bonus.

Contact: Paul DePodesta at (323) 224 - 1 - HIT

Company Description:
With a prestigeous history that dates back to the 19th century, the Los Angeles Dodgers are an industrial leader in the field of sports entertainment. The company has historically given its employees a wealth of opportunity for career growth and personal development, along with competitive compensation and benefits.

The Starting Pitcher is directly responsible for hindering the opposition's run production once every five days. The rest of the time is to be spent recouperating and going over scouting reports, while assisting the others on staff to to meet their individual, team, and company goals.

We are searching for a results-driven, motivated individual with a positive attitude to serve as a member of the field-based team. The ideal candidate will be a career-minded individual who focuses on executing his part in a team environment. Experience in the major leagues as a starting pitcher is preferred, but is not required.

Must be over 18.
Must be willing to wear a uniform.
Must be able to pass a drug test.
Must possess the personality to thrive in a merit-based environment.

This position is available immediately. If you are ready to advance your career and like the idea of working in an area with excellent growth opportunities, we encourage you to apply.

Equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


SF In Desperation Mode

LA is in a major funk, but at least I can take some pleasure in the downfall of the Archnemesis...

As of earlier today, the Giants are 23 - 28, 9 games out of first place. They recently upgraded the bullpen by acquiring LaTroy Hawkins for two good pitching prospects. It's clear that this is a short term fix with a clear motive: hold on until Bonds and Benitez return.

To clear a roster spot for Hawkins, the Giants designated Matt Herges for assignment. I have not seen Herges nor Hawkins pitch this year, so I don't know how much of an upgrade Hawkins represents. According to the ESPN stats as of 5/30/05:

Herges, 21 innings, 6 Ks, 7 BBs, 2 HRs
4.82 DIPS ERA, 4.71 ERA

Hawkins, 20 innings, 14 Ks, 7 BBs, 4 HRs
5.35 DIPS ERA, 3.15 ERA

If Hawkins is an upgrade, the DIPS ERA doesn't show it. Historically, these 2 relievers have similar strikeout rates (about 6 per nine innings) and bases on balls, (about 3 per nine) with Hawkins a tad more prone to giving up the long ball. I realize that Hawkins throws harder, is more "established", and pitched in a hitter-friendly park, so the DIPS ERA may be biased. But according to The Hardball Times:

Herges, 21.3% line drives given up
Hawkins, 13.6% line drives given up

The average line drive rate given up is about 18%, so one would expect Herges and Hawkins to regress to the mean. If so, Hawkins is in trouble as balls hit in play are more likely to land as hits.

(As if to prove myself correct, Hawkins gave up 4 runs last night. Here's hoping that Herges catches on with another team and repeats as the next Nathan/Hermanson.)

The Giants are probably not done with moves. Their ship is sinking quickly, and need help immediately. According to this article,
General manager Brian Sabean, keeping with his here-and-now philosophy and realizing three NL West teams have better records, suggested Saturday's LaTroy Hawkins trade might be just the start. He's still focused on seeking a left-handed hitter, perhaps an outfielder, given how the Giants are 13-18 against right-handed starters.

"For us to hang in and get to the point where we could play with these teams, we're going to have to make a stand now and reshape the roster now," Sabean said. "That's really based on how you view the competition and what you're up against in the division and league."
The following lefthanded outfielders are those who I think may be available immediately at the right price. I considered salaries, team standings, payroll, and market size; this is an incomplete list, at best. Primo names such as Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu are not included because I don't think SF has neither the payroll space nor the bargaining chips to afford them. Contract data is from Hardball Dollars.

PIT Lawton, $7.5 million in 2005
CIN Griffey, 10/5 rights, $6 mil a year til 2008, $57 mil deferred from to 2009 to 2024
NYM Floyd, $6.5 mil in 2005 and 2006
TB Huff, $4.5 and $7.5 in 2005 and 2006
SEA Ibanez, $4 mil in 2005 and 2006
TX Dellucci, $1 mil in 2005 and 2006
KC Stairs, $1.2 mil in 2005

The most improbable name on this list is Griffey, who would at least fill some empty seats while Bonds is out. As injury-prone as Griffey is, his salary structure is palatable in the near future since much of his payments are deferred after his contract period ends. Griffey may be willing to waive his 10/5 rights in order to bail from a team in ruin. A package including Alfonso ($7.5 and $8 mil in 05 and 06) and a top prospect might fit the bill for Griffey, 3B Randa, ($3.75 mil for 2005) and some help with Griffey's deferred payments.

As much as I would like to see Bonds, Griffey, and Grissom tripping over their walkers in the same outfield, a far more likely scenario is acquiring a one year rental such as Lawton or Stairs. However, no desperate move would surprise me at this point as long as there is a chance that Bonds will come back this year. The window of opportunity for the Giants is closing rapidly, and Sabean knows it. The Giants are willing to sacrifice their future for a short term gain, and are desperate enough to knowingly make a bad deal.

It stinks that LA has dropped to .500 right now, but the situation is far worse up north as the West Coast Mets scrounge for whatever they can get. It's a small consolation, at least.

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