Moneyball isn’t dead…it just has frosted tips and a porn-star goatee

December 7th, 2006 → 3:16 pm @ // 6 Comments

For my money, the most interesting, insightful, and incisive baseball writer to emerge over the last several years is ESPN’s Keith Law. Law’s acuity shouldn’t be all that surprising; he spent four years in baseball ops with the Blue Jays…and not every former front office type that ends up at ESPN can be a total dolt.

At the bottom of Law’s piece today analyzing the Freddy Garcia trade, Law makes a quick point about the A’s pickup of Mike Piazza, who’s by far the most metrosexual member of the 400-home run club, as well as an 11-time All-Star and two-time MVP runner up. Piazza — who threw up respectable offensive numbers in San Diego to the tune of .283/.342/.501 with 22 home runs — won’t equal the production of Frank Thomas, Oakland’s last scrap-heap DH (Thomas’s ’06 numbers: .270/.381/.545, 39 HRs, 114 RBIs.) … or will he? As Law points out, Piazza was playing in “Death to All Flying Balls Park in San Diego”; he was also catching. It’s true that Piazza’s one-year, $8.5 million deal is only $4.5 less than the Jays paid Thomas for the next three years, but that was practically in a different era (the pre-batshit insane Pierre/Matthews era). I recently asked why Moneyball execs like Billy B. were able to keep on working the smart angles in a post Moneyball world (the answer: because there are a lot of stupid people out there). Whatever the reason, it’s hard not to root for Beane when he keeps pulling rabbits like this out of his baseball cap.


Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Billy Beane & Keith Law & Mike Piazza & Moneyball

6 Comments → “Moneyball isn’t dead…it just has frosted tips and a porn-star goatee”


  1. branatical

    11 years ago

    Seth,

    About your statement in the Slate piece about the Yankees playing the market better than anyone else; It’s a little premature don’t you think? I mean, it remains to be seen but $15m for Pettite and $18m for a half year of the Rocket is completely at odds with your statement: “After years of binging on overpaid veterans, the Bronx Bombers have developed a sudden fondness for developing and acquiring young players.” Looks like they’re trying but old habits die hard.

    Reply

  2. cursemyreverse

    11 years ago

    Keith Law is the best columnist I’ve seen come onto the scene in years. Really insightful analysis every time he hits the keys.

    Him and Buster are both enjoyable on a daily basis, although Buster seems to be going on a bit more offense lately which always a little concerning for a sportswriter. I do find it hilarious however that he publishes the “you are so biased” letters from simultaneously angry sox and yankees fans after the same published opinion regarding one of the teams. Love a good bias debunking.

    I’d presume Phillips gets his rumors from his hair stylist, although I bet it takes more than one to keep that helmet of spray and wax perfected. The best part is how ESPN basically ran a little with his Bonds/Sox insanity and actually asked Gammons about it, who said No as respectively as he could muster. Really I think they should have had Peter being in the middle of a drink of water and then spit it out all over karl ravech when he hears the question. (THIS IS…SPORTSCENTER)

    I wonder if they all play jokes on Steve in between takes, making him spell words or match up current general managers with their teams.

    Reply

  3. redsoxtimes

    11 years ago

    How different would the Red Sox as we know them now be should Billy Beane have come to Boston?

    Reply

  4. V06

    11 years ago

    How different would the Red Sox as we know them now be should Billy Beane have come to Boston?

    Comment by redsoxtimes — December 7, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    88 years and still counting.

    Reply

  5. zoowah

    11 years ago

    Seth,

    I read Murray Chass this a.m. and saw your brain explode.

    Why not challenge him to a duel?

    Reply

  6. spira

    11 years ago

    Sorry, but I’d bet against Keith here. Yes, Piazza hit well outside of Petco. But part of the reason for that is an NL West player, he got 50 or so plate appearances he got at Coors and Bank One, two of the best three hitters parks in the majors over the last three years though he will get to play in Arlington) Plus, he didn’t have to play any road games at Petco, unlike the rest of the league.

    In 2004, Piazza had a 694 OPS on the road. In 2005, he had a 725 OPS on the road. Yes, not catching will help him a little. But the reality is that most of the damage to his body has already been done. I’ve seen a number of veteran catchers become designated hitters late in their careers, and none of them have found their bat suddenly rejuvenated.

    There’s no way in hell that Piazza in 2007 is going to match Thomas’ 2006 OPS of 926 over 500 plate appearances. I feel very comfortable saying that Pizza will post an OPS under 850 next year with Oakland, and he’ll do that while getting a significant amount of rest against tough right-handed pitching.

    Not that this is necessarily a bad move on Beane’s part, given the lack of alternatives. But this is not a move with anywhere near the upside that the Thomas signing had last year. There’s a very good chance that next season Piazza won’t even match the worst OPS that Thomas has ever posted in a season (minimum 100 plate appearances)

    Reply

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