Seth speaks about…Me, and some more Derek Lowe

by billfer on January 12, 2005 · 5 comments

in Uncategorized

Seth Stohs of Seth Speaks fame was really having a hard time thinking of something to write about, so he interviewed me. I’ve considered doing a little “about the author” thing so you could get to know me better. Seth was kind enough to take care of that for me, and in probably a much more structured way than I would have. So if you want to know more about me go read Seth’s post, and really Seth does a great job all the time so you should consider reading him regularly.

Derek Lowe
I’ve done enough railing against Derek Lowe. However, Rob Neyer wrote a pretty interesting piece about the Derek Lowe signing, and why Paul DePodesta may have done it. It’s an Insider article, so I’ll just give you the jist. Neyer points out that Lowe’s peripherals didn’t really change much from 2003 to 2004 so you would expect his performance to be similar both years. However, his BABIP jumped up tremendously in 2004 which in large part could be attributed to luck, (or bad luck). So 2004 probably isn’t indicative of his true talent level, and it’s probably closer to his performance in 2003 when he was a pretty good pitcher.

The other part of the article is why Lowe is a good fit for the Dogers, and Dodger stadium. Dodger stadium is widely considered a pitchers park. The reason for this is that it seems to eliminate doubles and triples. However, it is a pretty easy place to hit a home run. Derek Lowe’s strength, aside from being an extreme ground ball pitcher, is limiting home runs. Voila, a perfect fit.

Comerica park seems to have the opposite effect. It suppresses home runs, but is a great doubles and triples park so Lowe probably wouldn’t be as valuable to the Tigers as he is to the Dodgers. In any case, it is a great look at the power of park effects.

 
 

{ 5 comments }

Jason R. January 12, 2005 at 10:33 am

The Neyer piece was indeed informative regarding the points you mentioned, Billfer. I still have to agree with Jim Baker at BP, though – why would any team commit to four years of D-Lowe at this point in his career? And why give him $9M per?

Consider another bullet dodged in Detroit.

Tim D January 13, 2005 at 12:20 am

Cripes Billfer, you’re a U-M guy? Well, I guess I still like your stuff. MSU ’79.

I liked the interview. As usual your take is right on. The Lowe thing interests me. He certainly isn’t worth that kind of money for the Tigers. If the kids don’t fill out the rotation in a couple ofyears they are going to stink no matter what Lowe does.

The Dodgers, however, want to win now (depite what the LA media and the fans think). Lowe’s career ERA is still only 3.88, all in the AL, virtually all in Fenway. His tendencies fit Dodger Stadium perfectly. His post-season heroics and Boras got hime more money, but I think he’s worth the gamble for LA. Not for the Tigers.

David L January 14, 2005 at 4:10 pm

I agree with Bender.

Well, there are some valid points on D Lowe, but the comment that in 2003 he was a pretty good pitcher. I’m not so sure about that. He won 17 games, but had the best offensive support in MLB. His ERA was 4.47. And as the above comment noted his ERA for his career is 3.88 but the last two years are awful. Yes he will do better in Dodger stadium, but no where near close enough to justify 4 years at $9MM per.

billfer January 14, 2005 at 5:24 pm

Jason and David, I’m in no way defending the terms of the contract, just agreeing with Neyer that there maybe some method behind the madness. If you’ve been reading the blog this offseason, I’ve definitely come out against signing Derek Lowe.

David, as for him being pretty good in 03, well at least he wasn’t bad. His ERA+ of 105 would make him above average at least, even if only slightly.

Tim, great to have you back. We’ve missed you around here. And yes, I’m a UM guy through and through

David L January 15, 2005 at 1:30 pm

I guess I focused too much on the comment that he was a pretty good pitcher in ’03. As a Sox fan I have to say that his ’03 was a gigantic enigma. Sure he won 17 games but he at times he looked awful.

I know you weren’t defending the terms of contract. In fact I think there are probably only about 4 people on the planet that could defend those terms (Depodesta, Boras, Derek Lowe and his wife).

Money aside (i.e., in a dream world), I think D Lowe might have actually been okay in Detroit. Aside from the park factors (which you have updated your research in your most recent post), I think that DLowe pitching in his hometown would be worth something to him, plus he would have been welcomed (I think) and he would have appreciated the Detroit media situation more than LA. LA is on its way to a disaster with the media, much like the environment he left in Boston. Very negative.

Plus in 2004 he had some success (relative to his awful year) against Central teams, granted in limited action. In 2003 he was very good against the Central (4.11 ERA vs. his 4.47 for the year).

But the real bottom line is that I was surprised to see Neyer defend that contract. Good luck to him and the Dodgers. I do like Derek Lowe and he did pitch some huge games to lead the Sox to the World Championship, but I have a feeling things are not going to go so well for him in Chavez Ravine. Will the Dodgers get 36 wins over four years for their $36 Million?

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