By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

How’s that trade working out? (VIII)

“All’s not Wells for Red Sox” (Boston Herald); “Wells is hit after doing well” (Boston Globe).

Sean McAdam:Clement may be far from reliable, but how many fifth starters are? Now, with Wells’ expected absence, Clement’s role becomes larger and the Red Sox pitching shortage becomes more acute.”

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How’s that trade working out? (VII)


What freedom of speech means


  1. Anonymous

    For what it’s worth, jason shiell who had a cup of coffee in 03 but went down for Tommy John surgery in 04 is pitching lights out in the independent Atlantic League. he had a nasty nasty slider.

  2. Anonymous

    But if Arroyo were still here, there’s no way he’d be making advertising magic such as this:

  3. Anonymous

    Dan, we don’t have to listen to Arroyo’s horrible music anymore. That more than makes up for his absence in the rotation.

  4. metallicaMobes

    hahaha, that arroyo ad is hilarious.although, I believe arroyo has almost as many home runs as willy mo did in the same span…

  5. Specks

    Huge hint about future of WMP dropped by Jim Ed during pregame. Talking about WMP now going to bench he said (paraphrasing) “Now Wily Mo knows what it’s like to play every day in the big leagues and he should work on keeping himself sharp and improving stroke so he’s ready at any time to fit into lineup, here or with another team.” Ironic if WMP goes for a pitcher, no? Of course, Bronson pitching much better with his backstab healed.

  6. Don

    Not to be mean, but did you notice Derek Lowe’s fine performance today?

  7. Anonymous

    Indeed. And Nomar’s clutch hit.

  8. Specks

    it’s worthy of note that Theo’s number one trade, BK Kim coughed up the 715th HR to Barry Bonds. About 12 hours earlier Shea H. won the game with a walkoff. Bronson had no decision today.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Oh, Hatlo, Specks, Anon … Theo’s been far more good than bad. I don’t really have to explain to you that he needed to trade Nomar in 2004 to win that year, do I? Winning once is worth more than coming close 100 times. Derek Lowe’s problems have been well-documented, although it’s a good thing he was here in ’04. As for Shea and Kim … Shea had to be traded so that Grady Little would have no choice but to play Bill Mueller. Picking up Kim was merely a side bet, and one that might actually have worked out given his record up to that point.So why am I obsessed with Arroyo for Pena? Simple. This was one of those trades that was idiotic on the face of it at the moment it was made, not something that only looks bad in retrospect. To give up a decent pitcher of the present for a dubious hitter of the future when you’re trying to win this year is ludicrous. To break an implicit promise to a guy who desperately didn’t want to be traded will pay ugly dividends with other players in the months and years to come. Yes, baseball is a business, but loyalty and handshake agreements have their place in a well-run business. (Not to mention simple common sense.)

  10. Wes

    Uh oh, DK. Caution is advised when it comes to simple common sense.

  11. Bryan Person

    Dan, Theo and the Red Sox want to win every year, of course, but they also need to have young some, inexpensive talent to balance the budget. Let’s remember that Arroyo is pitching in the hitting-light National League. He wouldn’t have the same numbers if he were in the AL. By season’s end, I suspect his ERA will be up around 4, which translates to almost 5 in the AL. Big deal. That’s a No. 4 or No. 5 starter. At 29 years old, I don’t think Arroyo was going to get much better with the Sox. In his place, Boston now has a strong young outfielder in Pena, and let’s not forget that he solidified the center field spot in Crisp’s absence after Francona finished trotting out a bunch of imposters — Mohr, Stern, etc — that can barely hit their weight. Pena’s hit for average, and his power will come. A young power hitter with decent speed is far more valuable then a No. 4 or No. 5 starter over the long haul.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Bryan — And now Timlin’s hurt. Again, utterly predictable, given that he’s now 63 years old. No, Arroyo isn’t Clemens, but neither is he Seanez or Tavarez.

  13. Specks

    Who is 63???Was that the Shea Hillenbrand who pinch hit in the clutch?Trying to create home truths out of what didn’t happen is too Republican for me, but on the the basis of what has happened your conclusion that the Red Sox are a better team with Theo than without seems problematical.

  14. Dan Kennedy

    Specks — Time to brush up on the Evelyn Wood. I wrote, “And now Timlin’s hurt. Again, utterly predictable, given that he’s now 63 years old.” Who is 63??? Uh, that would be Timlin. Got it?

  15. Mark R.

    Oh, Dan told a joke.

  16. Anonymous

    Timlin’s DOB Mar 10, 1966.

  17. Anonymous

    This just in: Arroyo is NOT slated to miss at least 2 months to recover from surgery.

  18. Anonymous

    [Same Anon. as 11:03]Back with a couple of quick points:- As alluded to above, Pena will now miss at least 2 months for surgical repair of the broken bone in his hand that is causing his wrist problem.Could happen to anyone, you say? Yes, but – it’s a pre-existing condition. Pena missed time last year with the Reds because of the same ailment. Due dilegence regarding his medical records combined with a medical examination before the Arroyo trade should have revealed that Pena would need surgery.- Dan, about your comments on Kim – that whole deal was a complete disaster. Theo immediately signed him to a 10 million dollar, 2-year extension, rather than waiting to see how he’d do in the AL East. The Red Sox wound up having to guarantee a large portion of his salary as well as give up multiple prospects in order to move him.

  19. mike_b1

    –It’s pretty clear that Pena’s wrist has hampered his power to this point. I haven’t seen anything at this point that says what medical records, if any, the Red Sox looked at and whether they were aware of the condition. Perhaps it’s early to make any statements on that.–The Red Sox traded Kim and about $5.685 million to the Rockies for pitcher Chris Narveson. The RS did not trade any players to the Rockies.

  20. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 2:07 — I don’t recall anyone shedding any tears for Shea Hillenbrand when he was traded. He often gets off to a great start. Let’s see how he’s doing in August. The point is, would you rather have seen Hillenbrand or Bill Mueller in the line-up? Theo had to unload Hillenbrand so that Grady would be forced to play Mueller. I thought getting Kim was a decent gamble, although you’re right that re-signing him after the season was a boneheaded move. Maybe Theo was impressed with the way Kim gave the finger to the fans.Mike, if the Sox weren’t aware of Pena’s wrist, that’s pretty sad. If the Reds were hiding something, maybe we can get this trade reversed right now!

  21. Anonymous

    Dan, it’s my recollection that Theo signed Kim to the extension immediately after the trade, not after the season.Trading Hillenbrand was fine with me, as long as you got someone good in return. Kim was not that someone.

  22. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 4:42: You’re wrong. Kim signed in Jan. ’04. See this. And yes, a mighty moronic signing it was.That said, the Hillenbrand-for-Kim deal was widely hailed at the time. Hillenbrand was not highly regarded. Kim had blown up in the World Series, but otherwise was thought to be a real up-and-comer. I recall someone from ESPN (not Gammons) popping up on one of the talk shows and laughing about how the Red Sox had pulled off a theft of the highest order.

  23. Anonymous

    Dan, I stand corrected on the timing of the Kim extension. Sorry I substituted memory for simple research.But, “Hillenbrand was not highly regarded”? That bullpen certainly needed help, and I think Hillenbrand was the right (valuable) player to expend in getting that help. But Kim was a disaster, and I don’t care what someone on ESPN said. All you had to know was how he had pitched in Yankee stadium as a Diamondback, and look at the way that weird submarine slider of his would just hang, and hang, and hang, like a big ol’ volley ball on a string, before leaving the yard.

  24. Anonymous

    Ok, last post in this thread, I swear. Here are some of Hillenbrand’s numbers so far this year – how unfortunate if he actually was not “highly regarded.” Was he not highly regarded by the same genius who thought Kim was a steal? BA SLG G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS ES.Hillenbrand .337 .536 46 166 27 56 89 10 1 7 25 7 21 0 1 2

  25. mike_b1

    Revisionist history. The only one crying over Shea’s trade at the time it took place was Shea himself.His OBP — a much better indicator of a player’s worth than BA, since it’s not the number of hits that’s importnant, it’s the number of outs — was .291, .330 and .335 in his 2-plus years as a Red Sox, and .302, .348 and .343 thereafter. That ranges from below average to about league average.Even taking this season into account, his career EqA is .261. The league average EqA is (always) .260. (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 defense.)

  26. mike_b1

    Quick question:You have a 24-year-old pitcher who for his career has averaged 11.1 K/9 and a BB:K ratio of 2.65 (363 IP). He just came off a season where he turned in this line: W L SV ERA G GS IP 8 5 16 3.18 49 5 79.3 H R ER HR BB SO 70 38 28 6 18 69 He is now a free agent. Do you re-sign him? And for what price?

  27. metallicaMobes

    good points mike, very good points.too bad players just flop sometimes… that’s the way it goes, haha, anyone remember Brady Anderson? He was my hero (after Ripken, obivously) and then he virtually fell of the face of the earth

  28. Anonymous

    By Kristie Rieken, AP Sports Writer  |  June 3, 2006HOUSTON –Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo went 3-for-3, drove in a career-high four runs and pitched six strong innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night . . .Arroyo (7-2) struck out six and allowed no earned runs with eight hits for the win._________________I’m glad Mike is back from wherever he has been, so he can explain why we shouldn’t get too excited about this.

  29. mike_b1

    Clearly the Red Sox made a huge mistake: They should have been using Arroyo as a DH all these years…

  30. Anonymous

    The pitching stats look pretty good, too. Of course, I probably don’t understand math and stats and all.

  31. mike_b1

    I guess you think Ortiz will hit .269 all year, too.

  32. Anonymous

    I guess you think batting average is a really important stat for a guy like Ortiz.

  33. mike_b1

    Actually, I don’t. But again, it’s a demonstration of the importance of sample size. If you think Ortiz’s final numbers will be similar to his career line, then you should also think that Arroyo’s final numbers will regress. Arroyo’s ERA at this moment (2.40) is more than two full runs below his career average going into this season (4.59). He’ll regress.The big difference to me is that he’s K’ing 7 batters/9 IP, way out of line with his career mark. That won’t last; NL hitters will learn (as AL hitters did) to lay off the curve.Better yet, let’s look at who he’s pitched against (NL offense rank, by runs scored): Pittsburgh (10); Houston (11); Washington twice (12); Cubs twice (16/last).He’s also pitched against St. Louis twice (5); Milwaukee twice (7); and Arizona twice (2). So half his starts have come against good hitting teams and his ERA against those teams is more than 2X that against the league Mendozas.

  34. Anonymous

    Mike, so what you’re saying is, the Red Sox couldn’t use Arroyo’s arm right now?And a follow-up: If you agree we could use him right now, shouldn’t the potential for that need have been obvious at the time he was traded? It was never a given Wells would be able to pitch this year. He’s overweight, in his 40s, and there is a limit to how many more injections he can have for his lower back problems. And that’s before we evne get into his knee.Then there were the questions about Clement. The ones we’re still asking today. And no one was sure Schilling could stay healthy on his ankle.

  35. mike_b1

    Never at all said that. What I have said repeatedly is that 1) Arroyo’s performance to date this season could not have been predicted; 2) that it will not last; and 3) that the Sox made a good trade.At the start of spring training the Sox had 7 starting pitchers. Schilling, Beckett and Wakefield weren’t going anywhere. Clement and Wells were untradeable. Papelbon ended up in the bullpen when it was felt Foulke wouldn’t be ready to go. That left BA. (Wells has been overweight his entire career and last season was the Sox’ best starter; not sure why you would think his aging a few months would make change any of that). None of this would even be up for discussion had Arroyo not pitched out of his mind to start the season. It’s no different than Jimmy Rollins’ 30-odd game hit streak; when the streak ends, he’s still a .270 hitter. Arroyo is still an average pitcher; utterly replaceable. The proof? The Red Sox pitching staff is 4th in the AL in runs allowed; 18 runs better than on this date last season. Last season they finished 11th. (And they are in first place!)So much of this is hindsight. The complaint when BA was traded was not that the Sox would miss his arm, only that they didn’t handle it fairly.Did you really think that the Sox’ season would come down to Bronson Arroyo? And if so, how horrified were you?

  36. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — You know your stats, but this is silly. The issue with Wells wasn’t his age and his weight, although those were issues; it was his off-season knee surgery. Matt Young — sorry, Matt Clement — may be untradeable, but, after last year’s playoffs, he was also undesirable. Do you keep running him out there all year no matter what?Arroyo is somewhat better than an average pitcher, and was a reliable starter for the Sox last year. I, for one, am certainly not going by what he’s doing this year. I’m going by what he did for the Sox the last two years, and I’d have gladly taken another season like that.The reason people are worked up about this is that it was obviously a dumb, dumb trade, and it showed that Theo can, on occasion, be so arrogant that he believes things will work out just because he’s Theo, as well as so mind-boggling disloyal that it may well hurt the Sox’ future dealings with players.And let’s not forget that Wily Mo’s out with an injury that first cropped up last year. Where was the due diligence?

  37. mike_b1

    Well I wouldn’t have taken another Arroyo season like last year. He was utterly replaceable — as the data have proved. I know of no stats service or analyst that thought the Sox were making a bad trade. And I don’t recall you critizing the deal at the time, either.Wily Mo did have a wrist injury last year: it was diagnosed as an inflammation and he missed 3 games. Big deal. He had one the year before too and didn’t miss any time. I see no evidence that the Reds were trying to pass off damaged goods. And that little rumor died pretty quick death, didn’t it?Loyalty in sports is a media invention. Honesty is something different, and Arroyo himself said he wasn’t promised anything. Your hangups with Theo are just that: hangups. If his ego is getting in the way of his brain, I haven’t seen any evidence of that, either.

  38. Anonymous


  39. Anonymous

    Ok, Mike. Let’s try this. Let’s say the Reds call Theo today and offer the reverse trade, straight up: Wilo Mo back to the Reds, Arroyo back to Boston. Should he turn them down?

  40. mike_b1

    First of all, I see what you are leading up to and it’s silly. You make decisions based on the best information you have at the moment. But to answer the question, if I were him, yes I would turn them down. Do you really think BA has joined the ranks of the elite MLB pitchers? I don’t. I think he’s an average guy on the longest hot streak of his life. And I don’t know of any reason why WMP won’t recover and continue on his path of becoming an outstanding player.

  41. Anonymous

    But . . . the Red Sox . . . need a pitcher . . . right now . . .

  42. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — I’ll give you a trade I’d make again in a second despite current stats: Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett. (Leave Lowell out of it for the moment.) I don’t care of Ramirez wins Rookie of the Year and MVP, and Beckett turns out to be a huge disappointment. It was a trade made with the idea of winning this year. Hey, maybe David Pauley will win 10 games. Maybe Lester’s and Hansen’s development won’t be screwed up by calling them up now. But, good Lord, how anyone could have felt confident about Arroyo’s being traded away given Wells’ and Clement’s situations coming into spring training is beyond me.

  43. mike_b1

    Gimme a break. Again: The Red Sox problem thus far this year has been its run production, not its run prevention. Even with the injuries, their pitching has been superb.(And Dan, you’re being absurd. The Sox organization was not all that high on Hanley Ramirez, and Arroyo is no Beckett. In fact, one could argue that once that trade was made, Arroyo was as good as gone.)

  44. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — I’m well aware that the Sox weren’t high on Hanley Ramirez. The evidence suggests they might have been wrong. Oh, sorry — I know, we’re supposed to wait 10 years and then check his career stats. As for the Sox’ “superb” pitching, they’re eighth in the AL in ERA.

  45. Anonymous

    Dan, how dare you throw out a stat to support your argument! Journalists are not qualified to safely handle mathematics – you’re lucky no one got hurt.

  46. mike_b1

    Dan, re Hanley Ramirez: you don’t need to wait 10 years. But I would reserve judgment until for longer than 200 or so at bats.And re Boston’s pitching, runs allowed is far more important than ERA, don’t you think? (ERA is the byproduct of what some guy in a booth thinks a fielder should or should not have caught.) They are 4th in RA.

  47. mike_b1

    And by the way, through 56 games they have allowed 19 fewer runs this year than last season (with Arroyo).

  48. mike_b1

    My mistake: They are now 5th in RA.

  49. Anonymous

    I like how Mike dismisses any stat that doesn’t support his argument. Suddenly, ERA, a tried a true stat that has been one of the key indicators of pitching effectiveness for a century or more, is inconsequential. Mike – it’s not “some guy in the booth.” It’s the official scorer. Earned runs matter more when evaluating pitching, because it’s the earned runs that the pitchers are responsible for.It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Red Sox rank better in runs allowed than in staff ERA, because the infield is built for defense. Stats are one thing; rigorous statistical analysis is another. You don’t get good analysis when you cherry pick your stats.

  50. mike_b1

    There you go again, trying to change the subject. I’m hardly cherry-picking. The official scorer is “some guy in a booth,” and there’s way too much subjectivity when it comes to determining what’s an error and what isn’t. As Bill James noted years ago, baseball is the only sport where a watcher tries to assess “what should have happened.”Either way, it’s the pitcher’s job to keep the other team from scoring. And the Red Sox’ staff is doing that better than they did last year.

  51. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — You’re going off the deep end. It’s the pitcher’s and the defense’s job to keep the other team from scoring. How many four- and five-out innings did Sox pitchers have to suffer through last year? (Many.) How many this year? (Damn few.) BTW, the Sox are tied for fifth in runs scored (and would be fifth all by themselves if the Orioles hadn’t played three more games). So scoring runs isn’t really a problem for this team except that the Yankees and the Blue Jays have scored more.

  52. mike_b1

    I have no idea how many 4- and 5-out innings the Red Sox had last year, and neither do you. You’re simply guessing; raw observation may be OK in journalism (yes, I remember what Mark Twain said) but it’s a freshman mistake in stats. That said, the defense is better this year in terms of outs made on balls put into play (that’s something that can be measured; BP tracks it, among others). In fact, the most important metrics in terms of measuring a pitcher’s likelihood of getting a batter out are their K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 rates. Voros McCracken’s landmark 1999 study proved this. (In that regard, opposing hitters struck out in 14.9% of the time when facing RS pitchers; this year, the number so far this year is 17.2%. Arroyo was 86th in K/9 of the 93 pitchers who qualified for the AL ERA title last year, and his BB/9 and HR/9 rates both rose year-over-year.)The hands-down best metric for predicting a team’s success is run differential (again, this has been demonstrated by Baseball Prospectus and others. The Red Sox this year began a shift from mainly a run-producing team to one that was more focused on run prevention. That meant upgrading the defense. In that sense, they were shifting from being a team modeled on the Red Sox of the late 70s to one that resembled the White Sox of last year.Why change the model? The Red Sox made clear going into this season was that they felt the offense was going to be weaker. That was due to aging of its core players, and the lack of available offensive talent among the free agents. Still, they have certainly exceeded their own expectations thus far. The team OBP is .364, good for 3d in the league (last year they led the AL at .356.) The team is just a few runs behind last year’s at this time, thanks to the (over)performance of Lowell and Youkilis and yes, Wily Mo Pena (OBP: .370, substituting for Coco Crisp, whose career OBP is .331 and is just .317 this year), which have helped to offset the dismal Alex Gonzalez. But the Sox didn’t know how those former two would pan out (I think they had a pretty good idea that AGone would be an out machine). Hence the signing of J.T. Snow, and Red Sox advisor Bill James’ publicized study into how players like Lowell historically rebound after crappy seasons. I don’t think anyone anywhere foresaw Lowell and Youk doing what they’ve done thus far. And should they slip (which Lowell will almost certainly; it’s harder to forecast for Youkilis), I guarantee the Sox won’t maintain their scoring pace. Bottom line: The pitching performance this year could be predicted and is in line with past results. The hitting performance has been out of line with past results and can be expected to regress to the mean.Dan, the main problem with this entire string is that your original statement was based on emotion and (incorrect) observation, but wasn’t backed up by the data (and you dug yourself deeper with your wild, unproven accusations about Theo Epstein’s ego). And you’ve now spent who knows how much time trying to defend it. Indeed, like most of the media you’re guilty of a staunch refusal to apply the central tenets of science, namely stating the hypothesis, determining and correcting for variables, developing procedures, and determining results and conclusions, as opposed to just blasting out whatever pops into your head or using a handful of anecdotes as “proof” of a trend. Great work, professor.

  53. Anonymous

    Mike, that’s a cheap shot. Dan isn’t presenting himself here as a sports analyst. I think most of his readers understand that his Red Sox posts are written from the emotional point of view of an enthusiastic fan.One other note: He’s right.

  54. mike_b1

    He’s a professor at Northeastern and a media critic. I think he can take it.Insofar as whether he’s right, neither you nor Dan has offered one shred of evidence to support his original statements. If and when you ever do, I’ll be here.

  55. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but I finally have. You’re talking about stats. I’m talking about baseball. Two different subjects, and my apologies for confusing them.

  56. mike_b1

    *eye roll*

  57. Anonymous

    Mike – Dan cites Red Sox staff ERA; you dismiss the relevance of ERA.But Dan’s latest point goes to the heart of it. We’re talking baseball, you’re throwing around numbers you like and ignoring the ones you don’t.On the subject of baseball: I previously mentioned that I have taken the opportunity to check out some of Arroyo’s innings this season via the archived video feeds on the MLB site. I do this because I am a baseball fan, and there are a number of players I like to keep tabs on. So, I’m approaching this conversation from the point of view of how nice Arroyo’s stuff looks, how well he’s finding the corners with his various pitches and fooling batters.That’s what I’m talking about. That stuff would look real good in a Red Sox uniform right about now.

  58. Anonymous

    Dan, speaking of sports and journalism – something is bugging me about the coverage of the Jason Grimsley strory. Here for instance is Gordon Edes today:'s bothering me is Grimsley’s reported allegation that amphetamine abuse is so widespread throughout Major League Baseball that teams actually have coffee pots in the clubhouse labeled “leaded” and “unleaded” to indicate which one has speed in it.This strikes me as a perfect example of the kind of allegation beat reporters and other sports writers who have been around for a while ought to be able to pretty much immediately confirm or debunk, based on their own experiences and access to the clubhouse. Yet no sportswriter I’ve read so far today is saying anything. If amphetamines are routinely added to clubhouse coffee pots for mass consumption by the players, and reporters who have daily access to the clubhouses and the players don’t know about it, something’s wrong.

  59. mike_b1

    Anon 10:57: We’re talking baseball, you’re throwing around numbers you like and ignoring the ones you don’t.That’s funny; I was thinking the same thing about you/Dan.Tell me this: Why is team ERA more important than runs allowed?

  60. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — You’re confusing “more important” with “more relevant.” Runs allowed is more important, but it’s a measure of pitching + defense. Team ERA is more relevant, because it only measures pitching. But, of course, you’ve already dismissed that because you don’t trust the official scorers.

  61. mike_b1

    Dan, it’s a misconception that ERA measures pitching, or at least that it’s the measure of a pitcher. Again, Voros McCracken proved that in 1999. Go read the study. Once a ball is put into play, the pitcher has no control over what happens, including whether it will be a hit. The best metrics for determining the ability of an individual pitcher are his K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 (the so called “three true outcomes”). ERA is completely affected by 1) variation in official scorers (in other words, what’s an error to one guy isn’t to another) and 2) team defense (teams with better defenses will turn more balls put into play into outs, and also – should they make an error – have a greater ability to then make up for those mistakes).(And it’s not that I don’t “trust” official scorers; it’s that I don’t have the data to baseline them or correct for their inherent variation. So I have to develop ways to remove them from the equation.)Look, you guys want to believe that you can use old and disproven metrics to measure what it is that you (think you) see occurring on the field. And I’m saying there are much better ones available, and those better ones reveal a lot of mistruths, including the one that Arroyo is a “better than average pitcher.” Look no further than the Red Sox, who employ Bill James, McCracken, Eric Van (IQ: 148) and numerous others — all at exceptional salaries, I might add — precisely to glean what, exactly, the best metrics are. To the extent they are available, I’m using the same formulas and metrics those guys do. But if I were to listen to this forum, the Red Sox and all those aforementioned guys are a bunch of slugs who don’t even realize that they are watching baseball.

  62. Anonymous

    I wonder if Bill James tuned in to WGN tonight during station breaks from the Red Sox game and caught any of Arroyo’s start. 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, no walks.Seriously – ERA is not a “disproven metric.” That just betrays your ignorance about pitching. There are pitches a hitter can do something with, and there are quality strikes that are tough to hit for anything other than a weak ground ball or pop up. How many truly arguable error vs. hit calls by official scorers happened today? This week? This season so far. What a ridiculous argument. Real baseball people know what is and is not a playable ball.

  63. mike_b1

    Hmmm…watch the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight? Was A-Rod’s play an error, or not? The official scorer changed his mind a couple innings later. And scorers are known to change their minds days later. But you do apparently agree on one main issue: scoring is subjective.Again, you try to change the subject. No big surprise there, though. We’re at 60+ responses and you have still failed to accomplish one simple thing: To prove to this forum why Arroyo is a good pitcher. What data can you offer?

  64. Anonymous

    8-2. 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, no walks. That’s pretty good in the bigs.

  65. mike_b1

    Against the Cubs, the worst offense in baseball. Are they still in the National League?

  66. Anonymous

    Seems to be your standard response, Mike. Look. He’s now 8 and 2. He gave up one run in the first inning (solo homer), then shut them out for the next six. That’s good pitching, against any major league team.But enough about numbers – did you look at his pitches? Would you even know what to look for if you did?

  67. mike_b1

    Don’t be an idiot. I live in Boston; why would I be watching a Reds-Cubs game? From the highlights, BA doesn’t look any different than he did when he was here. It looks like the NL’ers are swinging at his curve, whereas the ALers learned to lay off it. The NLers will learn the same. Arroyo didn’t suddenly become Randy Johnson.Curious: What metrics are you using to determine a pitcher’s worth?

  68. Anonymous

    Have you per chance noticed the excellent location of his curve, and the way he sets up the curve with excellent location of his fastball?Stuff. That’s what I’m using to assess his worth. His stuff. He’s pitching really, really well this season and you can’t even see it because all you know about is a bunch of stuff in a book by Bill James.

  69. mike_b1

    No, perchance I have not. I’ve noticed a bunch of pitches that are outside the strike zone that AL hitters know to lay off and NL hitters who are unfamiliar with him and for the most part not very good (e.g., Cubs, Nationals, etc.) do not. I see the small sample size of this season, which is by far outweighed by several seasons of mediocre pitching.His “stuff.” Great metric. You forgot “his makeup.” Nothing subjective about any of that.

  70. Anonymous

    Stuff is only partially subjective. When a pitcher is getting good late life on his fastball, is locating it well along with his offspeed stuff, gets ahead of batters a lot, and gives up very few walks – those are things people with an eye for the actual game of baseball can recognize and agree upon.It is ridiculous that you dismiss the notion that Arroyo’s location is much improved this year and that his stuff looks good, while admitting that you have not watched him pitch.You like numbers, right? Here are some numbers for you. In 89 and 2/3 innings this season, Arroyo has struck out 68 while walking only 18. That ratio is a strong indication that he is in and around the zone quite a bit these days.But these are not BP strikes he’s throwing. They’re quality strikes, i.e., good stuff. More numbers: in 89 and 2/3 innings, he has given up 81 hits, and only 8 homeruns; 23 earned runs, and only 27 total runs.

  71. mike_b1

    Those are b.s. data. How many strikes were in the strike zone vs. pitchers that were out of the strike zone that the hitters swung and missed?And how can you tie this season’s fluke start in with Arroyo’s overall mediocrity over the past three-plus years?

  72. mike_b1

    More on “stuff.” The path to the Hall is littered with guys with “stuff.” Likewise, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are both headed for the Hall of Fame. No one ever said they had “stuff.” Just good location and good changeups.If you know “stuff” so well, perhaps you should have been instructing the Red Sox on what was so wrong with Arroyo’s “stuff” last year. You should take your knowledge of “stuff” and become a scout. You could make good money picking out future stars, instead of hanging around blogs with us dopes.You wanna see “stuff?” Check out my basement sometime.”Stuff.”

  73. Anonymous

    Q: “How many strikes were in the strike zone vs. pitchers that were out of the strike zone that the hitters swung and missed?”A: That is part of the art of pitching, Mike. Fooling the hitters. Expanding the zone. Changing their focus. Messing with their timing. Do you realize how many K’s Clemens has gotten with splitters in the dirt?Q: “And how can you tie this season’s fluke start in with Arroyo’s overall mediocrity over the past three-plus years?”A: I’m not attempting to. I’m just saying Arroyo is pitching very well this season and that his control is much improved. You really have not watched him at all, have you. There is a reaon he is 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA._______________________Re: Glavine and Maddux: You don’t call good changeups and good location good stuff? If that’s not good stuff, I don’t know what is._______________________”You should take your knowledge of “stuff” and become a scout.”A: Maybe I will!

  74. mike_b1

    “I’m not attempting to. I’m just saying Arroyo is pitching very well this season and that his control is much improved.” Q #1: David Ortiz is hitting .257 this year. Is Ortiz a .257 hitter? And will Ortiz end the year at .257?Q #2: I’ll ask again: How many strikes were in the strike zone vs. pitchers that were out of the strike zone that the hitters swung and missed? And why won’t NL hitters learn to lay off them as the AL hitters did? Answer the question.Q #3. Name one scout that calls “good changeups” and “good location” good stuff. Name just one. Any one. And give the reference. Q #4: Should the Red Sox trade for Paul Byrd?P.S. Good luck.

  75. Anonymous

    Mike, regarding question 2: I already answered it. You clearly no nothing about pitching!A good pitcher uses his control to move in and out of the zone and does not always throw strikes. Papelbon struck out the side in the 9th inning last night. All three Ks were strike-3-swinging. None of those strike-3s were in the strike zone.Moreover, I am not talking about David Ortiz. I am talking about a pitcher whom the Red Sox could make good use of these days. I’m going to my secret scouts club meeting later today and I’ll see if I can get any of my scout friends to go on the record to reply to the “stuff” question. You really would not be a fun person to watch a ballgame with.

  76. mike_b1

    Answers:1: David Ortiz is not a .257 hitter. He will improve to his typical level, which is much higher. Likewise, Arroyo is not a .800 WP/2.30 ERA pitcher. He will return to his .500/4.50 ways and will look very ugly doing so).2. You don’t know; you are just talking out of your a**. But NL hitters will learn to lay off those pitches. And then BA will look like he did as a Red Sox.3. There are none.4. Paul Byrd = Arroyo. They are the same pitcher. And no one is saying the Red Sox should go get Byrd.Enjoy your meeting. Be sure to bring extra diapers.

  77. Anonymous

    Mike, no, I am not talking out of that orifice. I know a thing or two about pitching. You obviously know nothing about pitching.Pitching, I said. Not pitching stats. Pitching.I repeat: You definitely would not be a fun person to watch a game with.And despite the fact that you, Dan, and I (plus probably someone from the NSA) are the only people reading this thread, I will remind you that you are beginning to wander into the personal insult territory Dan has asked us to kindly avoid in his blog.

  78. mike_b1

    This is my last comment on the subject.Dan brought it up awhile ago with his trite shot that you two are talking about baseball and I am talking about stats.What he and you miss is that without the data (i.e., the stats), you can’t even keep score: runs, after all, are a stat.Moreover, those stats need to be the proper one. You both act as if all the ways to describe what is going on on the field are already known. That’s simply wrong. Using a pitcher’s W/L record or ERA (especially over a handful of innings) are lousy ways to describe what has happened. It’s like trying to write a novel while limiting yourself to eight words. Like the wanna-be scientists who claimed to invent cold fusion, you’ve made up your mind as to the outcome and are using the wrong methodology to try to make it work.I have to wonder if you guys have any clue as to how major league teams are run. Every team — every one — employs several individuals whose specific role is to determine how to value a player. These persons are outside of the traditional scouting operation. You both simply disregard all of that and say, “I know better.” So how do you know how to objectively rate a player? You seem to think that all someone has to do is watch a guy throw and they will be able to tell whether the person is a good pitcher. That’s like saying that all a person has to do to become a good architect is to look at a few buildings. Or, it would be like trying to determine who will win the presidential election by asking your mom and dad who they are going to vote for. If you want to keep fooling yourself, be my guest.Finally, it doesn’t really matter whether I’d be a fun person to watch a game with. I know what I’m seeing on a ball field. You might as well be watching soccer.

  79. Dan Kennedy

    Who are you going to believe? Mike or your lyin’ eyes? 😉

  80. Anonymous

    Mike. You have attempted to reframe or redirect the debate in many ways. This was never a debate over whether or not statistical data and their analysis play an important role in baseball. Since you don’t always seem to get irony or sarcasm, l will try to be clear: I already knew that, and I bet Dan did, too.This was never a debate over whether Bronson Arroyo’s career numbers indicate that he is destined for the Hall of Fame.This is not about semantic differences over the use of the term “stuff.” It is not about how pitchers go about getting outs, or whether NL players, coaches and scouts are somehow too dumb to figure out how to handle Arroyo’s curve.It is not about whether or not I know enough about pitching to be a scout, anymore than it is about whether you know enough to be GM of a big league club.This is a debate about the merits of the trade that sent Bronson Arroyo to the Reds and brought Wily Mo Pena to the Red Sox. A trade that was made by the Red Sox at a time when the future of a key pitcher in their rotation, David Wells, was in serious doubt.As you have probably noticed, the Red Sox are now in the position of having to bring up young and still developing pitchers from the minors to make starts and to fill the hole in the bullpen left by MikeTimlin.Bronson Arroyo is a solid 4-5 starter who has demonstrated that he also can, unlike, say, Matt Clement, contribute from the bullpen.Wily Mo Pena has had surgery for a pre-existing condition and will not swing a bat for at least a couple of months. Before that, he showed us where those rumors about striking out too much and shaky defense came from.Bronson Arroyo is 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA. Yes, in the NL, which as of yesterday, still counted as the majors.If your crystal ball tells you that Pena will eventually be the real deal, that’s great. But right now, the Red Sox could really use a guy like Arroyo, and they should have seen it coming.This was a terrible trade.

  81. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 5:35: You get it exactly right. I’ve never argued that the Arroyo of 2006 is the Arroyo we would have gotten. All I’ve ever said is that Arroyo was a valuable, versatile pitcher for the Red Sox, and that it was insane to trade him when there were so many questions about Wells and Clement. As it turns out, even if Wells were healthy and Clement were pitching well, Arroyo would have been a big asset for this team in middle relief. Mike keeps saying that Arroyo can be easily replaced, but he hasn’t been replaced. Pena, at best, is a long-term project — something that does not fit with the goal of winning this year. All of this is obvious on its face, and was obvious at the time the trade was made. It’s really that simple.

  82. Anonymous

    i just read this this whole thing (not sure why) and came away with this:1.dan and his little anon buddy (probably also dan) don’t know jack about baseball. political debates dan demands everyone else prove their statements, but here he not only is guilty of making statements that can’t be backed up, he belittles the guy who provides evidence to support a different point of view. real mature.3.mike_b should learn not to get into a pissing contest with a bunch of dicks.

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