Saturday, October 7, 2017

FRANCO has a lot to say

I don't blog much anymore because ...well ... being histrionic about sports on the internet isn't what it once was for me. But whatever, Nils just had a baby and I only see Matt when I drive by him on the side of the road, so FTC, you're my only friend left. Here's what's going on:

Joe Girardi is an idiot. I think everyone is covering this, but let's pile on.

Here's a table that lists manager replay challenges in 2017. If you sort it by total successes, you see Girardi is #3 overall with 30 overturned calls; even more impressive is that he's correct a league leading 75% of the time.

All that is basically meaningless.

The only thing that matters is that a manager be aggressive with challenges in high leverage situations. The penalty for being wrong with a challenge is that you don't get to do it again for the rest of the game... unless it's the postseason, in which case you have to be wrong twice to lose your invisible red flag. There is basically no consequence at all for taking a long shot gamble during a high leverage situation, except losing the ability to take a potentially better gamble in a later, high leverage situation, assuming one comes around. So chalk this up to another guy who is paid millions of dollars to watch sports being risk averse.

Speaking of being risk averse, I can't help but think of how terrible Neal Huntington was this year. I love NH, and we at FTC were defending him before people knew what a Pedro Alvarez was. However, he chickened out in the worst possible way when it came time to trade Cutch and everyone else 29 years of age or older.

Watching Cleveland, it's hard to think of an American League team with more depth in recent years. This is a phenomenal roster, and they got that way by drafting well, getting lucky (after a string of years being snakebitten), and selling high.  Here are some people they traded away once:

Shin Soo Choo: 0.8 WAR in 2017
CC Sabathia: 1.9 WAR in 2017
Cliff Lee: retired
Jake Westbrook: retired

Here are some things they got back:

Corey Kluber: 8.0 WAR in 2017
Trevor Bauer: 3.1 WAR in 2017
Michael Brantley: 2.1 WAR in 2017
Carlos Carrasco: 5.4 WAR in 2017

Those four latter guys took a long time to pan out, but it happened and Cleveland is competitive because of it.  Had Cleveland let Sabathia or Lee walk after their Cy Young years, maybe they'd still be in the mix in 2017, but they wouldn't be the team to beat.

And that's the point. Trades alone aren't the ticket; drafting well, smart FA signing, good luck, you need it all.  I'm not asking the Pirates to reboot every other year. But they have to know that the window has closed for a Cutch-led playoff team.  Cole is under arbitration control for 2 more years and then he's a free agent. Cervelli and Harrison and Mercer are great complimentary pieces, but are just old, injured garbage on their own. Polanco and Marte aren't as good as we thought, but they're okay. Basically, there isn't anyone on this team that shouldn't be considered trade worthy.  And when that's the case, it's time to take a 75 win team down to a 65 win team and start building for 2020ish.

Finally, I want to say it's always bothered me that the Cleveland baseball team is deeply invested in racist iconography.  Growing up there, I was that kid with the vintage C cap that I bought at the Western Reserve Historical Society museum, because I refused to wear the Wahoo. The other kids made fun of me for wearing such a small brimmed hat. I told them that was historically accurate, and that their way of life was based on white washing genocide. Both points were true then, and they're true now. Hats really did have smaller brims in the 1920s, and America really is a horrible sham at best. I'm not looking for debate on that point (if you feel the need to debate it, read more books, preferably some written by people who don't look like you).

I'm just throwing this out there because I want to jump on the bandwagon with Cleveland-- really, I want to do anything at all Francisco Lindor tells me to do -- but the redface racism is unacceptable.

Onward, towards decency.

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