Monday, November 13, 2006

Hector And Vector

The big decision about Gyromite comes tonight at 8. And if that turns out to be true, I'm sure we'll somehow know even less about the whole situation afterwards. This Red Sox fan isn't losing any sleep over any of this stuff. I am losing awake-time, though, as I'm writing about this right now. My opinion in a halfpipe is: I always assumed that if the Yanks wanted the guy, they'd get him. And if they do, I'd have the utmost confidence he'd be a bust. If we get him, we better know what we're doing, and our rotation, considering the way it is now, should be helped even if he only turns out to be an average MLB pitcher.

I don't doubt the guy is an awesome pitcher. You just never know what switching leagues is gonna do to someone. To take a risk that big, you better be pretty close to certain on it. I just hate that the Yanks with their money force other teams to do things they can't really afford. This entire league is unfair and is getting more and more messed up by money. By the minute. The good news is we don't have to watch the Yanks win anymore ever since the curse of Tony Clark kicked in.

I've added clues to the two unanswered quizzes, if you care to take another shot at them.

Joanna Newsom in NYC tonight, and in Boston tomorrow night. I'll be at both. The Wednesday show in New Haven is exactly in the right city and on the right day for me to go, but it's at Toad's Place. I'm done with Toad's. Horrible venue. Plus, two nights in a row of 15 minute songs may be the most I can do.

Gammons says its the Sox at $42 million, with a press conf. at ~8PM tonight.

I think DM will be one of the ten best SP in the AL this year, and that this is a tremendous thing. If we're able to sign him-


Good rotation. I also hope they sign Justin Speier to close.
Okay, so what's your beef with Toad's Place? I've seen a lot of good shows there, though I admit that it's been quite a while. I think the last one was Dick Dale (King of the Surf Guitar) back in '95. The best one was probably the Husker Du show back in '87.

As for Justin Speier, I read that he's only 17 for 37 lifetime in converting save opportunities. Not saying that alone means he shouldn't be considered, but it does give me pause.
I say we get Papelbon to fill that closing role! No one will do nearly as well!

Toad's: From beginning to end of night, a bad experience every time. You get there and don't know what the ticket holders line is compared to the waiting to buy list. Granted, this is a common problem anyway. Then you get inside and it seems like a lot of people are there just to hang out and drink, and aren't there for that night's band. Then, on some (?) nights, the over 21 side is separated from the under by a huge chain-link fence. So if half of your party is under and half is over, you can't hang out with eath other. You can ditch the minors and say, I'll be over there getting the good view of the stage, even though I do drink, while you'll be stuck over here, even though you WOULD like to drink.

Then there are the pictures of the old bands that played there. Cheesy. Those "rock" 8 x 10s of Steve Vai and REO Speedwagon, all around the place. And it seems like their big selling point is that the Stones play there.

Then there's the fact that it turns into a dance club every night at 11.

They do get some good bands, though. I'd just sooner avoid the place.
I must admit, it's been a helluva long time since I was 21. Or since anybody in my party was 21. Don't remember the chain link fence thing.

I do remember them having a huge, very cool poster of Sheila E on the wall.
I say we get Papelbon to fill that closing role! No one will do nearly as well!

Well, besides the fact that his doctors have said starting is a far healthier role for him, do you really think Papelbon will do nearly that well next year? There have been MAYBE 4 or 5 relief seasons with ERA's that low over that many innings. He simply wasn't going to repeat that.

Justin Speier is someone (among a small handful we could realistically acquire) who is a strong pitcher that can get three outs with a 1 or 2 run lead. It's been shown over and over and over that ~200 IP is much more valuable to a team than 75 relief innings.

The closer role's the most overrated "role" in sports.
I've always kind of thought too much was made of the role of the long snapper in football...maybe that's just me...

I don't think Papelbon would have repeated his success of this year, since few have matched it before, but compared to the options out there, I think, abstractly, that he's the best option. Now whether or not his health allows him to fill that role, that's the question. Plus, I really believe he doesn't want that role. All his talk before the season was over about starting next year in the rotation tells me that his mind is not committed to the role.
I'm sure on paper the closer role is overrated. But this is a perfect example of how what actually happens on the field is more important. Imagine what the other teams' hitters will feel next year, down one going to the ninth at Fenway, and instead of hearing the fans go nuts as Papelbon comes out, they get Justin Speier, or anybody else for that matter. Overrated or not, it's still a role, and we've got literally the most perfect fit for it in team history. I would prefer not to mess with it. But, as I've said before, I'm just happpy to have the guy on the team, and hopefully he becomes a dominant starter, which he certainly can be, I think. But, even in that case, if we end up with no closer, we're gonna lose a lot of games where he pitches seven solid innings, and that will be disappointing.

And I don't ask for him to repeat last year. Even half as good as that would be great. But I consider him to still be inside this current stretch of greatness, with an injury delay. It's not like we're asking him to repeat something from years ago.
I'd just say that allocation of resources is a big deal, and if you have a hole in your rotation and your closer spot, and a guy that's able to do both (to say nothing of which aids his long term health), 10 out of 10 teams would put him in the starter's role. It's just common sense. Quality pitcher over more innings = more value.

You can find a guy to give you 75 IP at a ~3 ERA, which is probably Papelbon's neighborhood next year if he stays put. That's why you make the change.

As for the relative "intimidation" factor, I don't really care if the guys are scared, just if we win games. Todd Jones was the closer for the AL champions. THink anyone was scared of him?
I didn't really mean that as much as the other team thinking, "Uh, oh here comes Papelbon, that guy we and everyone else can't beat...oh, wait, who's this? It's not Papelbon anymore? Sweeeeet."

Like if the Yanks had moved Rivera to a different role in, say, 2000. Regardless of how well he did as a starter, it would've been a sigh of relief every single time for other teams to suddenly see any other guy but him.

And I'm sure the projections show him at a 3 ERA, but my eyes see more like 2.
Well, first of all, we're getting far afield here, because ERA isn't exactly a good way to judge a reliever, though that's mostly my bad.

Like if the Yanks had moved Rivera to a different role in, say, 2000. Regardless of how well he did as a starter, it would've been a sigh of relief every single time for other teams to suddenly see any other guy but him.

If Rivera was good enough to have been nearly as effective a starter as he has been a closer, the Yankees would have made him one.

Put it this way- which helps a team win more games, a SP who can throw ~200 innings with a 3.50 ERA, or a closer throwing 70 IP with a 2 ERA? It's hard to argue it's not the former.

This is especially true when you consider how easily replaced the closer is. See the 1990s Braves for examples of this.

But again, this is all 100% moot because of his health concerns as well. It's a no brainer to move him.
The closer's role is only overrated if you put the right pitcher out there. Doesn't anyone remember how many times Tito put Timlin out there with the game on the line last year?

The benefit of the closer in my opinion is that it means your manager doesn't have to think.

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