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The 2014 Offseason Thread

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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:33 am

British_Pharaoh wrote:7 years? hmm


My favorite part about the seven years is this:

‏@bruce_arthur 2m
Also, per @JoelSherman1, the Yankees didn't give Tanaka a physical themselves, and trusted the agent's physical.

Yankees still have big question marks at 2B and 3B and also have some guys who may get pissed off about OF playing time (Beltran, Suzuki). Tex is no certain thing. Jeter is no certain thing. CC is in better shape now, but velo drop last year for second straight season, drop in chase rate, spike in walks. We'll see if those are red flags of a bigger issue. Middle relief is questionable.

They've spent nearly 500M this offseason and I'm still not sure how good they're going to be.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:37 am

Haven't the Yankees spent about half a billion dollars this offseason and still no third baseman?

And trusting his agent with the physical of a pitcher who occasionally threw 150 pitches in a game and then pitched the next day?

Good luck with those rusty hinges of a shoulder.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:39 am

British_Pharaoh wrote:Haven't the Yankees spent about half a billion dollars this offseason and still no third baseman?


The plan right now is Kelly Johnson at 3B and Brian Roberts at 2B. Johnson might have some more offensive value with the short porch, but he's got very little 3B experience. Roberts will probably get hurt once he reaches the parking lot in Spring Training.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby Pabo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:30 pm

The only sure thing with the Yankees this year is that they'll beat the Indians like a drum six or seven times.
Bottom 4th: Cleveland
- J. Kipnis grounded out to shortstop
- A. Cabrera doubled to deep left
- N. Swisher doubled to center, A. Cabrera scored
- J. Giambi doubled to deep right center, N. Swisher to third, N. Swisher out at home
- J. Giambi caught stealing, catcher to third

1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:11 pm

Jonah Keri said in his Grantland piece today that he has a gut feeling that the Indians sign Matt Garza, in large part because there's no draft pick compensation attached to him.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:18 pm

skatingtripods wrote:Jonah Keri said in his Grantland piece today that he has a gut feeling that the Indians sign Matt Garza, in large part because there's no draft pick compensation attached to him.

And all the other suitors have seemingly dropped out.

I'd welcome that signing, but I still have a strange feeling that we re-sign Jiminez. I don't know why, it just seems the longer he stays a FA, the likelier it is. But who knows, not that Tanaka finally sorted his life out, clubs may start getting more serious with Ubaldo.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby bookelly » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:44 pm

Seems like there are three high level pitchers out there and Seattle, Toronto, and us as the strongest possibilities. any other teams still looking?

The Angels, Rangers, Bankees, BoSox, Detroit (maybe), Chisox all seem done. Philly's done. Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis done.

Cubs in the mix? I just cannot think of many teams out there willing to pony up for 5/75 for a SP. But I can see us going 3/45 for sure.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:07 pm

FWIW, I think I'd rather have Arroyo than Garza. You know what you're getting in Arroyo. Garza's a big unknown with the injury issues he's had. Arroyo constantly outpitched his advanced metrics in a great hitter's park. He might be pretty decent in a neutral park. More importantly, 199+ IP every year since 2005.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:37 pm

Red Sox sign Grady Sizemore. Less than 1M guaranteed. Performance and presumably at bat/plate appearance bonuses to take up to 6M.

Good luck to him.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby RedDawg53 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:39 pm

skatingtripods wrote:Red Sox sign Grady Sizemore. Less than 1M guaranteed. Performance and presumably at bat/plate appearance bonuses to take up to 6M.

Good luck to him.


Well,at least it isn't the Yankees
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby WiscTribeFan » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:24 am

skatingtripods wrote:Red Sox sign Grady Sizemore. Less than 1M guaranteed. Performance and presumably at bat/plate appearance bonuses to take up to 6M.

Good luck to him.


I heard that they just put him on the 60 day DL after injuring himself signing the contract.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pod2dawg » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:07 pm

Thats Bullshit and you know it....I heard he pulled a hammie walking thru the airport.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby WiscTribeFan » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:09 pm

I see we just countered the Yankees' signing of Tanaka by signing David Aardsma to a minor league contract. Take THAT Cashman!
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:28 pm

Somebody was asleep at the wheel in the Pirates front office. Aaaaaaaaaaardsma would provide endless marketing value.

The Indians will have a shit-ton of depth in camp.

IF: Adams, Cooper, Ramirez, Treanor (C)
OF: Francoeur, Morgan, Carson
SP: Marcum, Cloyd, Banwart, Carrasco, Bauer, Tomlin, McAllister
RP: Atchison, Capps, Ramirez, Zagurski, Aardsma, Wood, Herrmann, Lee, Guilmet, Barnes, Hagadone, Hynes

C: Gomes
1B: Swisher, Santana
2B: Kipnis
SS: Cabrera, Aviles
3B: Chisenhall
OF: Brantley, Murphy, Bourn, Raburn
DH: Giambi
SP: Masterson, Kluber, Salazar
RP: Axford, Allen, Shaw, Outman, Rzepczynski, Pestano

Figure the other guys are Adams, Carrasco (as SP, sadly), McAllister/FA, and Atchison/Capps.

The bench battles should be pretty interesting.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby googleeph2 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:59 pm

Can I RT or favorite that?

I have been all-in with Carrasco since his dominant stretch in early 2012, just before he went down.
I'd like to think they'll have hin in the rotation, and the ceiling is still there for him. With him, it;s about the space in between his ears, no? If he can't handle it still, they can pull the plug.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:21 pm

For me, it's a lot of things with Carrasco. His stuff is good, but only in short bursts.

1st PA against: .239/.309/.363/.672
2nd PA against: .335/.383/.542/.924
3rd PA against: .346/.388/.585/.973

I don't think his arsenal is deep enough. You give me a sinker/slider guy in the 6th/7th who only has to give me one or two innings, I like it.

Very small sample size, but in eight relief appearances covering 13.2 innings, he posted a 0.878 WHIP. Low leverage appearances for the most part, so that has to be taken into consideration.

There's also less time for him to unravel in relief because you can just get somebody up if he starts going off the rails. As a starter, you have to trust him to work through it because you need some kind of length.

Francona seems committed to giving him every opportunity to start because from a skill and stuff standpoint, he has more upside than McAllister, Tomlin, Marcum, and maybe Bauer, unless Bauer's mechanics are fixed. I understand the logic, but I'd quit beating around the bush with him and hope he goes the Luke Hochevar route. If Carrasco can sit there at 95-96 with some sink and a good slider to RHB, I think he can be a valuable asset in the pen. At 92-93 without a third pitch he's confident, I think he's a liability in the rotation.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:23 pm

Garza 4/52 to Milwaukee.

Means Ubaldo should get his 15+M after all.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby googleeph2 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:30 pm

skatingtripods wrote:For me, it's a lot of things with Carrasco. His stuff is good, but only in short bursts.

1st PA against: .239/.309/.363/.672
2nd PA against: .335/.383/.542/.924
3rd PA against: .346/.388/.585/.973



He's got the fastball/breaking ball/change, no?

I was stumbling around baseball-reference.com, trying to keep up.
2011 was the only season in which he started more than 7 games.

In 2011, he went:
1st PA against: .205/.284/.281/.564 21 games
2nd PA against: .314/.363/.533/.895 21 games
3rd PA against: .289/326/.492/.818 19 games, so almost as many 3rd PA as 2nd

So it wasn't a linear slope. Maybe the 2nd PA against had something to do with approach?

Is there a place to research pitch speeds over various innings?
I guess I am wondering if he has the promise of stretching out more into the later innings, keeping his velocity more consistently as he distances himself from Tommy John. I'd suppose that would make his other pitches appear as more of a contrast?

Interesting: last year, Gomes as catcher didn't seem to help him that much vs. Santana.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:42 pm

googleeph2 wrote:He's got the fastball/breaking ball/change, no?

I was stumbling around baseball-reference.com, trying to keep up.
2011 was the only season in which he started more than 7 games.

In 2011, he went:
1st PA against: .205/.284/.281/.564 21 games
2nd PA against: .314/.363/.533/.895 21 games
3rd PA against: .289/326/.492/.818 19 games, so almost as many 3rd PA as 2nd

So it wasn't a linear slope. Maybe the 2nd PA against had something to do with approach?


PITCHf/x has four-seam (45%), sinker (14%), slider (8.85%), curve (12.38%), change (19.7%).

He's been slaughtered on the four-seamer with a .342 BAA and .589 SLGA.

Slider has the smallest sample size but has been his most successful pitch. Probably why I've noticed the slider a bit more than his other offerings.

Not linear, but the huge spike in SLG second and third time through are what concern me. Nearly every pitcher has them, but his are particularly ugly.

Is there a place to research pitch speeds over various innings?
I guess I am wondering if he has the promise of stretching out more into the later innings, keeping his velocity more consistently as he distances himself from Tommy John. I'd suppose that would make his other pitches appear as more of a contrast?


Here's fastball velo by inning: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/velo.php? ... 01/23/2014

Nothing particularly telling there except for the obvious that he has more velo in relief.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby bookelly » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:15 pm

skatingtripods wrote:Somebody was asleep at the wheel in the Pirates front office. Aaaaaaaaaaardsma would provide endless marketing value.

The Indians will have a shit-ton of depth in camp.

IF: Adams, Cooper, Ramirez, Treanor (C)
OF: Francoeur, Morgan, Carson
SP: Marcum, Cloyd, Banwart, Carrasco, Bauer, Tomlin, McAllister
RP: Atchison, Capps, Ramirez, Zagurski, Aardsma, Wood, Herrmann, Lee, Guilmet, Barnes, Hagadone, Hynes

C: Gomes
1B: Swisher, Santana
2B: Kipnis
SS: Cabrera, Aviles
3B: Chisenhall
OF: Brantley, Murphy, Bourn, Raburn
DH: Giambi
SP: Masterson, Kluber, Salazar
RP: Axford, Allen, Shaw, Outman, Rzepczynski, Pestano

Figure the other guys are Adams, Carrasco (as SP, sadly), McAllister/FA, and Atchison/Capps.

The bench battles should be pretty interesting.


Thanks for this. It's been in my head but you made it easier to wrap ones head around. In an ideal world Bauer wins the spot and Tomlin and Little CC go to the pen. Tomlin as the long man, and Little CC as the guy you bring into the 7th with no runners on.

If Marcum is ready he'll compete with Bauer. If not, I'd love to see Ubaldo back for a year. ;-) ;) :wink:
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:34 pm

@MLBastian 3m
Francona on Masterson:"He's on the brink of going to free agency. Did you see what Clayton Kershaw just signed for? Those affect everything"

@MLBastian 3m
Francona: "With some of these TV deals spiraling up so high, it's going to make it hard for teams like Cleveland to tie up young players."

That doesn't sound good at all for a Masterson extension. Looks like they may be really far apart on a multi-year deal. I figured the arbitration gap was just both sides doing their job, but it may truly be an indicator of a bigger problem.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:42 pm

Although I love Masterson, and acknowledge the dearth in decent starting pitching in our higher class affiliates, it won't be THAT big a deal if we can't re-up him, and I kind of accepted that he would be gone.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:52 pm

I think the impact is contingent on what happens with Trevor Bauer. If Bauer morphs into a good #2, great #3, the loss of Masterson is lessened slightly. You'd have to sign some sort of free agent, but a top three or four of Kluber, Salazar, and Bauer would be decent. Far from spectacular, but passable depending on how you fill the rest of the rotation.

But if Bauer never becomes a regular, above average contributor, you're in trouble. Jason Parks's top 10 prospects list at Baseball Prospectus featured only two pitchers. One has just 12.2 IP of experience at Double-A and the other pitched at Mahoning Valley last year. There don't appear to be reinforcements on the horizon. Really, you need Masterson for a three-year period to try and develop somebody or make a trade to restock your farm system.

Given the Indians' hesitance to go three or more years on a pitcher, Masterson and/or a youngish FA starter don't look real promising in the near future.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:08 pm

skatingtripods wrote:I think the impact is contingent on what happens with Trevor Bauer. If Bauer morphs into a good #2, great #3, the loss of Masterson is lessened slightly. You'd have to sign some sort of free agent, but a top three or four of Kluber, Salazar, and Bauer would be decent. Far from spectacular, but passable depending on how you fill the rest of the rotation.

But if Bauer never becomes a regular, above average contributor, you're in trouble. Jason Parks's top 10 prospects list at Baseball Prospectus featured only two pitchers. One has just 12.2 IP of experience at Double-A and the other pitched at Mahoning Valley last year. There don't appear to be reinforcements on the horizon. Really, you need Masterson for a three-year period to try and develop somebody or make a trade to restock your farm system.

Given the Indians' hesitance to go three or more years on a pitcher, Masterson and/or a youngish FA starter don't look real promising in the near future.


I guess I am just more annoyed at the fact the FO still doesn't prepare for the departure of their better SPs. They know and we know that our good starters itch to test free agency, and invariably high tail it out of here.
So why not place more emphasis on replenishing our stock? OK they do try, and massively fail, when it comes to the draft (and quite often in trades now that I think about it).
But we never have anyone close to being ready to take over an exiting starters mantle. The best we can muster is finger-crossing that one of our talented, but wayward, headcases has 'figured things out'.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:27 pm

I'm sure there is emphasis placed on upgrading the pitching staff at all levels of the organization, but it's not easy to acquire front of the rotation Major League caliber starting pitching. They'd have to trade a piece they need for contention in order to acquire it or hope to get lucky with a Westbrook/Kluber type deal.

They've mostly gone the high school route with pitchers they've drafted early in the last few drafts and those guys take time. None of them are high-upside guys, unfortunately.

It's why they took a stab at Bauer.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby bookelly » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:55 pm

Masterson is a team leader. A cornerstone piece and they know it and he knows it. They'll get it done. They have no choice on this one.

As soon as Ubaldo is signed with another team and they know they are off the hook for that 14M...they'll sign up Justin to a 3/42 ish deal with an option. That's why they said they are going into Arby with him, they have to wait on Ubaldo.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby peeker643 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:40 am

The larger point is that over time it's impossible to compete like this.

For a year or two every decade when shit comes together? Sure. But over time, when you're getting out-TV'd by that margin, you're getting beaten down.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby leadpipe » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:54 pm

peeker643 wrote:The larger point is that over time it's impossible to compete like this.

For a year or two every decade when shit comes together? Sure. But over time, when you're getting out-TV'd by that margin, you're getting beaten down.


Exactly. Other teams bringin' in playas - or keeping the ones they have, while the Tribe is forced to hope some guy who's goofy as a shithouse rooster like Bauer materializes.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby Erie Warrior » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:00 am

skatingtripods wrote:I think the impact is contingent on what happens with Trevor Bauer. If Bauer morphs into a good #2, great #3, the loss of Masterson is lessened slightly.


Is he still running around saying up in the zone is good? If so, send his ass packing.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby peeker643 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:23 am

He's working on 7 different pitches and re-defining how guys everywhere pitch. He's smarter than you and everyone else.

I still think all you need to reflect on is just how many lights out, cheap, young, front of the rotation studs get dealt by teams always looking for pitching and willing to put up with pretty much anything to get it and keep it.

The answer is pretty much none.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:29 am

If you can get your hands on a first round pitcher so shortly after a team drafted him he's either A. Injured B. About to spontaniously combust or C. A huge pain in the dick.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby 7foot3 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:24 am

bookelly wrote:Masterson is a team leader. A cornerstone piece and they know it and he knows it. They'll get it done. They have no choice on this one.

As soon as Ubaldo is signed with another team and they know they are off the hook for that 14M...they'll sign up Justin to a 3/42 ish deal with an option. That's why they said they are going into Arby with him, they have to wait on Ubaldo.



Masterson will be on the wrong side of 30 before any extension hits in, and for all the good moments, is a career 100 ERA+ pitcher. That's not exactly a great bet, for example, Jake Westbrook was the exact same age with an ERA+ of 101 when his extension hit.

And I think there's no way 3/42 gets Masterson at this point.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby 7foot3 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:31 am

peeker643 wrote:I still think all you need to reflect on is just how many lights out, cheap, young, front of the rotation studs get dealt by teams always looking for pitching and willing to put up with pretty much anything to get it and keep it.

The answer is pretty much none.


Considering the majority of the Arizona transactions have looked sketchy, and their GM is no stranger to making some absolutely dumb comments, I'm inclined to believe Arizona was the problem, and not Bauer.

"willing to put up with pretty much anything" doesn't seem to fit the Arizona strategy. They weren't willing to put up with whatever the issue with Justin Upton was either.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:37 am

7foot3 wrote:
bookelly wrote:Masterson is a team leader. A cornerstone piece and they know it and he knows it. They'll get it done. They have no choice on this one.

As soon as Ubaldo is signed with another team and they know they are off the hook for that 14M...they'll sign up Justin to a 3/42 ish deal with an option. That's why they said they are going into Arby with him, they have to wait on Ubaldo.



Masterson will be on the wrong side of 30 before any extension hits in, and for all the good moments, is a career 100 ERA+ pitcher. That's not exactly a great bet, for example, Jake Westbrook was the exact same age with an ERA+ of 101 when his extension hit.

And I think there's no way 3/42 gets Masterson at this point.


Yeah, Masterson is clearly the leader of THIS rotation. By all accounts a great guy and teammate. This shit doesn't equal some year in and year out stud.

What he may be is a great example of what has been spoken about just above, that is, a pretty good pitcher that doesn't really deserve premium money, in a dopey enough environment that probably at least a team or two are gonna grossly overpay the guy.

So Cleveland will be forced to grossly overpay, or let him walk. Which is the constant conundrum of being Cleveland in modern baseball.

I don't think Masterson gets 3/42 now. Nor do I think he's worth it, but I'll be damned if it's even make me blink if he got more.

There's a lot of ridiculous shit in sports, I'm not sure the year in year out major league pitching contract aren't number one on the list.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby 7foot3 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:23 pm

leadpipe wrote:
7foot3 wrote:
bookelly wrote:Masterson is a team leader. A cornerstone piece and they know it and he knows it. They'll get it done. They have no choice on this one.

As soon as Ubaldo is signed with another team and they know they are off the hook for that 14M...they'll sign up Justin to a 3/42 ish deal with an option. That's why they said they are going into Arby with him, they have to wait on Ubaldo.



Masterson will be on the wrong side of 30 before any extension hits in, and for all the good moments, is a career 100 ERA+ pitcher. That's not exactly a great bet, for example, Jake Westbrook was the exact same age with an ERA+ of 101 when his extension hit.

And I think there's no way 3/42 gets Masterson at this point.


Yeah, Masterson is clearly the leader of THIS rotation. By all accounts a great guy and teammate. This shit doesn't equal some year in and year out stud.

What he may be is a great example of what has been spoken about just above, that is, a pretty good pitcher that doesn't really deserve premium money, in a dopey enough environment that probably at least a team or two are gonna grossly overpay the guy.

So Cleveland will be forced to grossly overpay, or let him walk. Which is the constant conundrum of being Cleveland in modern baseball.

I don't think Masterson gets 3/42 now. Nor do I think he's worth it, but I'll be damned if it's even make me blink if he got more.

There's a lot of ridiculous shit in sports, I'm not sure the year in year out major league pitching contract aren't number one on the list.


I'm expecting Salazar and Kluber to be better pitchers in 2014. I'll admit that may be wildly optimistic, but I love the stuff of both guys.

And MLB is an industry that just generated $8 billion in revenue. I'd rather have the players get more of that than see Selig and his cronies pocketing it. And since even just decent starting pitching is tough to get, the money should follow that demand.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:08 am

I think Masterson and his agent are in a precarious position because 2012's shitshow is sandwiched between two strong seasons. Acta hung Masterson out to dry on several occasions when it was clear that he had nothing and he had some starts where he just got beat around while trying to give the team some sort of length. I'm not throwing that year out, but things do appear to be different now.

No, Masterson is not an ace, but I'm willing to pay extremely good money for 200 innings at league average or better, and Masterson is certainly above league average as a full-time starter. From 2011-13, only 13 pitchers have thrown more innings than Masterson, and he was on pace for 220+ before the oblique this year. Of the 22 pitchers who have thrown 600 innings or more in the last three seasons, Masterson's FIP ranks 13th.

CJ Wilson got 5/77.5M at age 31 and those two have been very similar over the last three seasons. Wilson had a bit more of a track record. I think you're in the 5/70M ballpark for Masterson to get a deal done. Will the Indians do that? I say no. Not even sure if they do 4/56.

Personally, I'd do 4/56 if he'd take it and give him the fifth year as an option. He really only needs to be worth 2.1-2.3 fWAR on a yearly basis to be worth the contract at 14M per. He's averaged roughly 2.7 fWAR per season with the Indians and seems to be trending upward under Callaway's tutelage.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:13 am

Unrelated to the Masterson discussion, Baseball Prospectus's Top 101 Prospects came out today. Lindor checks in at #6 and Frazier is #36. Lindor is the third-best shortstop on the list behind Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Carlos Correa (HOU). Frazier trails Correa, Lucas Giolito (WAS), Adalberto Mondesi (KC), and Julio Urias (LAD, only 17) as the top under-20 prospects.

Other highlights of the list: For WiscTribeFan's interest, there are seven Cubs in the top 101. One Tiger, Nick Castellanos, at #37. Seven Royals, including four in the top 50. Eight Twins, including #1 overall prospect Byron Buxton. Just two White Sox at 67 and 93.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:26 pm

Erie Warrior wrote:
skatingtripods wrote:I think the impact is contingent on what happens with Trevor Bauer. If Bauer morphs into a good #2, great #3, the loss of Masterson is lessened slightly.


Is he still running around saying up in the zone is good? If so, send his ass packing.


Since I like discussion, I thought I'd throw some things in here in response to your post. For one thing, Scott Lindholm at Beyond The Box Score found that umpires called the high strike out of the zone more than the low strike out of the zone last season, continuing a six-year trend.

Bauer's theory is that fly balls, in part because of their simplicity, are better than ground balls. BABIP and batting average back him up, but obviously slugging percentage goes up exponentially. I would think pitches up in the zone lead to more line drives as well, so that's another consideration. 3,897 more hits on ground balls than fly balls last season, a .014 batting average difference.

In a piece I wrote about Bauer last season, I plucked this quote:

Yeah. It was controversial. I knew that when I posted it. It was part of the reason I posted it. I like to post things that make people think. The initial reaction to 'I hate ground balls' is, 'Oh my God, the sky is falling! How could anyone...' But when you actually look at it and think about the statistics behind it, it makes a lot of sense. Hitters are trained to hit the ball hard on the ground. Fly balls are bad. You don't want to hit the ball in the air. Hit the ball on the ground. Pitchers are taught to get them to hit the ball on the ground. Something's got to give. Hitters and pitchers can't both want the same thing. And ground balls have a much higher chance of producing a base runner. You've got to field the ball, throw the ball and field the ball again. That's three things you have to do. A fly ball you just have to catch it. A strikeout you don't have to do anything. Ground balls statistically go for hits a lot more than fly balls.

“Sure, fly balls produce more power numbers and stuff like that. But everyone gets so scared of the home run and the double, but if you actually have a plan on how to disrupt hitters' timing and you're not just guessing, 'Oh, I think this pitch here' 'I think that pitch there.’ With Effective Velocity and understanding the physics behind a swing and hitters’ timing and stuff like that -- I'm not scared of giving up fly balls. If I do a good job of disrupting a hitter's timing, they're not going to be able to hit it out of the park. So, to me, strikeouts and fly balls are key. The more of those I can get the better off I’m going to do. The amount of fly balls that I get aren't going to produce the amount of hits that some other pitchers' fly balls may produce. At least that's the theory. And, so far, it's proven out. I don't know how it's going to play at the big league level.


What he said is true, if he's able to pitch the way he wants to. So far, that hasn't happened. But the dude showed up at Tribe Fest and still threw a bullpen on Saturday night. You can't fault his work ethic. The Indians reportedly like his mechanical changes, though that may just be a company line in public.

I don't think his philosophy is the problem. It's just a matter of execution and finding something he's comfortable with mechanically. He may never figure it out, but it's a chance I'm glad the Indians took.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pup » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:58 pm

"Thinking" is both the best and worst thing a pitcher can do.

Tripods - Any idea who does the most/has the best data on the strike zone and what is being called a strike? My assumption is the high strike gets more love than the low strike, but what is considered a high strike is not all that high.

To me, Bauer's thinking works well the lower the level of play you are at. As you go up in ranks, the "top" of the strike zone gets lower, so now what is considered a "high strike" is actually a slightly above the belt pitch. In high school/college the high strike is at the letters and guys can't hit that. But when the high strike in the Majors is a sweet spot for a hitter? TROUBLE.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:16 pm

pup wrote:"Thinking" is both the best and worst thing a pitcher can do.

Tripods - Any idea who does the most/has the best data on the strike zone and what is being called a strike? My assumption is the high strike gets more love than the low strike, but what is considered a high strike is not all that high.

To me, Bauer's thinking works well the lower the level of play you are at. As you go up in ranks, the "top" of the strike zone gets lower, so now what is considered a "high strike" is actually a slightly above the belt pitch. In high school/college the high strike is at the letters and guys can't hit that. But when the high strike in the Majors is a sweet spot for a hitter? TROUBLE.


Everybody uses PITCHf/x data. For the original article I linked, the author used BaseballSavant.com because it has the most search parameters. But this link from Mike Fast at Baseball Prospectus is probably the answer that you want:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/artic ... leid=14098

It's a free article, so I hope you take the time to read it, but I can highlight some things anyway. PITCHf/x defines the top of the zone as "belt plus four inches", but the PITCHf/x operator sets the top of the zone, so it's probably not scientific.

Official MLB rules say: The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.

The author, who is 5'9", said the top of his strike zone by MLB rules is five inches higher than the PITCHf/x definition.

The author found this: The average height of the bottom of the zone, marked at the point where half of the taken pitches were called strikes, was 1.74 feet for right-handed batters and 1.75 feet for left-handed batters. The average height of the top of the zone was 3.42 feet for right-handed batters and 3.40 feet for left-handed batters.

Part of Fast's conclusion from the BPro piece: If one desires to measure strike calls against the rulebook zone, a good approach is unclear. The PITCHf/x sz_top does not even attempt to measure the top of the zone as defined by the rulebook. Batter height and average pitch height seen by a batter could probably be used to estimate the actual rulebook zone boundaries, but there is no reference to check the accuracy of these estimates, short of obtaining access to the field with a measuring tape during the game in order to stand next to each batter as he prepares to swing.

So, to your original question about Bauer...According to the chart in Fast's article, pitches of 3.5 feet (42 inches) or higher are called strikes less than 20% of the time.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pup » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:17 pm

Thanks for the link. Rest assured, if i ask for something and you provide something i will read it.

My take away? Bauer is FUBAR. Basically looking at getting 2 pitches per game going ”his way" and the rest of the time falling behind. Because a high strike really is nothing more than a pitch ML hitters will mash. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt that catchers can set up higher and umpires can adjust to him being higher, maybe he gets another call or two and puts hitters in a spot where they swing at pitches a couple inches higher and not meatballs still makes for such a thin margin for error dude better be perfect.

Interesting part to me about the whole thing is, i don't really remember having "work down in the zone" being drilled into my head, even in college. I typically worked up in the zone, especially to the inferior hitters. I think it becomes a plan of attack as hitters get more selective at the big league level, can do more damage to mistakes that are up, and you face more base runners with better double play combinations in the middle. It isn't like the top of the strike zone got lower because pitchers were working there more. More like pitchers started working there more because that was the zone they are provided.

Decent chance I just start calling him Nuke and wait for Crash Davis to show up instead of going and buying lots of his rookie cards.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby bookelly » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:51 am

pup wrote:Thanks for the link. Rest assured, if i ask for something and you provide something i will read it.

My take away? Bauer is FUBAR. Basically looking at getting 2 pitches per game going ”his way" and the rest of the time falling behind. Because a high strike really is nothing more than a pitch ML hitters will mash. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt that catchers can set up higher and umpires can adjust to him being higher, maybe he gets another call or two and puts hitters in a spot where they swing at pitches a couple inches higher and not meatballs still makes for such a thin margin for error dude better be perfect.

Interesting part to me about the whole thing is, i don't really remember having "work down in the zone" being drilled into my head, even in college. I typically worked up in the zone, especially to the inferior hitters. I think it becomes a plan of attack as hitters get more selective at the big league level, can do more damage to mistakes that are up, and you face more base runners with better double play combinations in the middle. It isn't like the top of the strike zone got lower because pitchers were working there more. More like pitchers started working there more because that was the zone they are provided.

Decent chance I just start calling him Nuke and wait for Crash Davis to show up instead of going and buying lots of his rookie cards.


I go on record and say that I'm very interested in the Bauer approach. If he do what he wants (big IF) he could become as dominant a pitcher as we've ever seen. Nine different pitches all with the same arm slot and release? Control will be his enemy, but if he can repeat that slot and release he could be really special.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pup » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:00 am

He can throw all the different pitches he wants...but if he is planning on living at the belt and higher it won't matter. On a day, he could be spectacular (like we have seen), but over 35 starts it won't last. Even when he is "on", pitch count will be a major problem as guys become willing to wait because they know 4 inches above the belt is at best a 50:50 shot at a strike.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby Gradysmanldy » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:51 am

pup wrote:He can throw all the different pitches he wants...but if he is planning on living at the belt and higher it won't matter. On a day, he could be spectacular (like we have seen), but over 35 starts it won't last. Even when he is "on", pitch count will be a major problem as guys become willing to wait because they know 4 inches above the belt is at best a 50:50 shot at a strike.


We've seen him be spectacular? All i've seen is a kid who throws medium hard (around 93-94) nibble around the plate (both high and outside) with stuff that seems pretty straight and flat. Obviously his results would be tremendous if he could pinpoint some of that stuff where he wants to throw it, but i'm unsure if he's actually trying to hit those spots for strikes or get batters to reach for it, because he knows it's their tasty juicy zone.

Either way, what I saw in 2013 was completely unusable at the ML level, and the attitude suggests he is sold on his approach. If it's a mechanical problem and he's actually just missing spots that he is trying to hit for strikes, Callaway might be able to tinker and fix that. If it's a problem in his approach for attacking hitters, which it seems like to me, it's trouble.

Either way, expecting more from Bauer than a late inning guy in this contention window seems pretty foolish, given what he's working with. Don't think anyone here is expecting different now, but he makes me feel.....icky.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:58 am

Here's Bauer's pitch breakdown by location in his MLB career:

Image

The swing rate by opposing hitters:

Image

I can't copy and paste the release point images, but you can find them on BrooksBaseball.net. Suffice to say, that looks like part of his problem as his release points have moved around throughout his MLB career.

I think his plan is to work up with the fastball and change the eye level with the other stuff, which mostly goes down. If you change speeds effectively and throw strikes, there's a possibility of it working, but he's been behind in the count a lot and has had to rely on the fastball more than he probably wants.

Pup, I think more than just the question of called strikes, guys will foul a lot of pitches off to run up the pitch count.

I will say this in defense of Bauer. His theory of fewer hits is working. It wasn't the hits that hurt him in Cleveland, it was the walks. I'm not sure what will happen to him in the future. I wish he could put the total package together with his mechanics and really be able to test out his theory with above average command and control. I'd love to see it in practice to see if it truly has merit. Unfortunately, I don't know if that will ever happen.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby skatingtripods » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:29 pm

Interesting note here from Bastian:

@MLBastian 15m
Something to keep in mind: Masterson is a union rep. He's not going to sign a below-market extension. Wouldn't go over well with peers.

Seems it'll be arbitration and then he'll be a Type A free agent after the season.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pup » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:32 pm

Assuming the pitch by location chart represents the strike zone for the 9 areas in the box and outside the zone at each location.

25.24% Out of Zone High
19.51% In the Zone High
17.87% Cock Shots
15.69% In the Zone Low
21.69% Out of the Zone Low

62.61% Cock Shots and Above. Without seeing data on a lot more pitchers, I cannot be certain but I would guess not many over the last 20 years have survived in that range.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby pod2dawg » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:01 pm

Not at 93-94mph.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby Erie Warrior » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:19 am

The stats that show the high strike being called more often is absolutely astounding. I really don't believe it. I can't remember more than a handful of pitches in the high side of zone being called strikes. This is, of course, meaningless due to sample size and general bias, but still very hard for me to believe.

There is also less margin of error with high pitches. Miss high, and it can end up 400' away. Miss low, and it's pounded into the ground or popped up.

The notion that batters "see" high pitches longer also holds some water- the physics of throwing overhand excludes balls from rising (unless you're throwing submarine style) so the ball will tend to stay on the same general vertical plane from release to catcher's mitt and only moves over 2 dimensions (toward the batter and some side to side).

On the other hand, making the ball sink and run is possible so the the ball moves in all 3 dimensions (toward the batter, up and down and side to side), making it harder for hitters to make contact.

It is important to change eye-level, so I'm not suggesting not throwing high pitches. I am suggesting not to making that the cornerstone of your approach, and certainly not to run around yelling it from the mountain tops.

Pup's right- he needs to stop with "I'm the smartest pitcher ever and you chumps haven't caught up yet" junk and start throwing strikes. I have seen anything from him that makes me think he's legit ML talent.
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Re: The 2014 Offseason Thread

Unread postby googleeph2 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:24 am

I'm curious what you guys would have thought of last year's offseason, if things broke the way they first tried to go.

They wanted Victorino, but he turned them down. Early in the season, we were glad about that. But he eventually turned out fine for Boston.

Before the Choo/Stubbs/Bauer/etc. trade was made, I think the rumor was Cabrera for Bauer.
What would you guys have thought of that? Were there other known Choo trade rumors? I'm sure there were other irons in the fire, of course.
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