Down by Law: Type A, B free agents

August 6th, 2007 → 1:41 pm @

The other day I (incorrectly) wrote that if/when Gagne signs with another team next year, the Sox will get two draft picks. That’s not true; Gagne needs to first be classified as a Type A free agent (which he almost certainly will end up being). The Type A/Type B free agent classification is one of those arcane subjects that many of the better informed baseball fans couldn’t explain; thankfully, we have ESPN’s Keith Law, who, by any measure, is in my top 5 baseball writers (Bradford, Neyer, and Posnanski are up there, too). Here’s Law’s quick rundown:

“• Type A players, ranked in the top 30 percent of players at their positions. A team that signs a Type A player gives its top draft pick to the club that the player is leaving. The “losing” club also receives a supplemental pick in the “sandwich” round between the first and second rounds.

• Type B players, ranked below the top 30 percent but in the top 50 percent of players at their positions. A team that loses a Type B player receives a supplemental pick, but the signing team does not lose any picks.

• All other players, who carry no compensation at all. There had previously been a third class of “Type C” players, but that was eliminated in the new CBA.”

Read his whole story here.

Post Categories: Eric Gagne & Free Agents & Keith Law

And now for something completely…summarizing

January 29th, 2007 → 11:30 am @

In other news:

* Schilling wants to see how many up-and-down years he can tack on to the end of his career, declaring he’ll play in 2008. He also says, “”It wouldn’t be in New York. No. I could not make that move.” I love when Red Sox folk heroes lay it on the line and say they’ll never play for the Yankees.

* Phildaelphia Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury makes the point that revenue sharing is having some not-so-great effects on player salaries and small-market spending. Weird. I feel like I’ve heard something like that before.

* The world of baseball writers can be a pretty clubby place; it’s why I love guys like Keith Law, who think nothing of spanking colleagues for voting for Justin Morneau for MVP: “The reality of baseball is that a great offensive player at an up-the-middle position is substantially more valuable than a slightly better hitter at a corner position. And when that up-the-middle player is one of the best fielders at his position in baseball, there’s absolutely no comparison. Joe Mauer was more valuable than Justin Morneau this past season. … I have a hard time fathoming why any voter would put Morneau at the top of his ballot with so many obviously better candidates — Mauer, Jeter, Ortiz, Jermaine Dye, unanimous Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana or the criminally neglected Carlos Guillen (the best player on the AL pennant winner) — and in reality, more than half the voters did just that.”

Along those same lines, Sunday provided me with a reminder of why I love Bob Ryan. His column about the boneheads who left Ripken and Gwynn off their Hall of Fame ballots is a true classic; it’s not every day a sportswriter calls out his brethren for being, well, retarded. Some choice quotes:

“What if someone actually thought I were one of the eight who didn’t deem Cal a legit Hall of Famer or the 13 who didn’t think Gwynn had done enough to get in? I may not leave the house without a bag over my head.”

“Can you honestly look me in the eye and say that this man should not be in the Hall of Fame? Yes or no?”

“The primary reason, we are often told, is that some members of the voting body have a personal policy not to vote for someone the first year he is eligible. I cannot begin to comprehend the depths of such idiocy.”

“But please don’t think I’m one of them. I did the right thing. I swear.”

Awesome: the man is actually embarrassed that someone might confuse him for someone else from his profession.

Post Categories: Bob Ryan & Curt Schilling & Keith Law & Slate & Sports Reporters

More news is…bad news?

January 5th, 2007 → 4:33 pm @

More activity from New York: as everyone now knows, the only man ever to slaughter an innocent dove in the middle of a major league baseball game is counting down the days, waiting for the time when he can get to Arizona. The details of the deal worried me at first: since I’m almost willfully ignorant about minor league prospects (especially in the NL), for all I knew Ross Ohlendorf was gonna win Princeton its first MVP award and Steven Jackson was on his way to being the second coming of Mariano Rivera. (Luis Vizcaino, while occasionally nasty, is also more than occasionally wild, so he wasn’t a huge concern. To me, anyway.)

Thankfully, Keith Law calmed me down a bit: he does know minor league talent and doesn’t think any of these guys are difference makers. Law, along with Bob Klapisch, also points out that RJ’s departure leaves a definite hole in the Yankees rotation…although I can’t imagine Cashman is anywhere near done for the offseason.

Still, as I said way back in December, a Johnson trade is nervewracking regardless of whom they get in return, both because it means New York is getting rid of another onerous contract and because it offers one more illustration that the charmingly insane George Steinbrenner is no longer running the show. (Said I: “Suddenly, the Yankees are shedding payroll like they’re the Marlins, and Brian Cashman looks determined to pick up young prospects and jettison the senior citizens collecting outrageous paychecks…”) Sure, it’s challenging when your competition raises its level of play, but I was just fine when Boston’s front office was executing a plan and the Yankees were indulging Cuddly George’s every whim.

Postscript: I’ve never been a Randy fan, but I do hope he does well in Phoenix, if only because that gives the Diamondbacks — currently run by former Red Sox asst GM Josh Byrnes, one of my favorite people in all of baseball — a chance to win a pretty weak division.

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Keith Law & Oblique references to Public Enemy lyrics & Randy Johnson & Yankees

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

December 7th, 2006 → 3:16 pm @

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

AL MVP yet another example of the stupidity of some sportswriters

November 22nd, 2006 → 11:01 am @

There are a handful of the country’s sportswriters who repeatedly demonstrate they are aren’t worth the paper their ballots for baseball’s year-end awards are printed on. (The repulsive and repulsively dishonest George King* of the New York Post is perhaps the best example of rampaging stupidity: in 1999, he left Pedro** off his ballot completely, handing the MVP to Pudge Rodriguez. King lied through his teeth and claimed he didn’t believe pitchers deserved the award despite putting Rick Helling and David Wells on his ballot the year before.)

The 2006 AL MVP Awards, as Keith Law points out in yet another one of his excellent columns (ESPN Insider only), is another example of the travesties that regularly result when a bunch of folks with very little understanding of the game have the power to decide its most prestigious honors. Law points out — correctly — that Morneau wasn’t even the most valuable Twin; Joe Mauer was. (Another reason to like Mauer: he looks enough like me that more than one person joked that I’d somehow snaked my way onto the cover of SI.) I’ll let Law handle the honors: “The reality of baseball is that a great offensive player at an up-the-middle position is substantially more valuable than a slightly better hitter at a corner position. And when that up-the-middle player is one of the best fielders at his position in baseball, there’s absolutely no comparison. Joe Mauer was more valuable than Justin Morneau this past season. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the first thing about baseball.”

Indeed. Derek Jeter*** would likewise have been a better choice. Oh well.

* Late-morning addition: Irony of repulsive ironies: King actually has a column in today’s Post discussing the writers who didn’t put Jeter atop their ballots.

** Take another look at that season. That’s good enough to inspire an entire region’s worth of man crushes.

*** Historical footnote: the only other time Jeter received even a single first-place vote was on King’s 1999 ballot. What a fucking moron.

Post Categories: 2006 MVP Awards & Keith Law & Pedro Martinez & Rampaging morons & Sports Reporters