Much ado about Carlos Guillen

by billfer on October 21, 2009 · 178 comments

in 2009 Season

Post image for Much ado about Carlos Guillen

Jason Beck caught up with Carlos Guillen late last week and a maelstrom was the result. Guillen wasn’t happy with the way Jim Leyland handled things at the end of the year. Leyland explained his side. The two talked. Leyland says everything is fine. Guillen isn’t saying much else. Guillen was wrong to go public with this. He’s wrong about his own abilities. But he’s far from a selfish teammate.

Guillen was displeased with a couple aspects down the stretch. He was upset that as a left fielder he didn’t get regular playing time and he was upset about the shuffling of the lineups.

From the original article Guillen was quoted as saying:

“Before he points the finger at the offense, he’d better look in the mirror and see what he did,” Guillen said Sunday. “I don’t want to make an excuse, but nobody in the big leagues feels comfortable when you play [lineups] that way. It’s not fun to play like that.”

He also said a lot more about his role as a left fielder

“I don’t want to play left field,” Guillen told MLB.com on Sunday, “because it’s going to be the same stuff this year, the same excuses. He doesn’t have confidence in me [in left field].”

“I never asked to change positions,” Guillen said Sunday. “I decided to play a different position [when asked]. I want to win. But I don’t want to play [left field] when [Leyland] uses it as an excuse. … “I did the best I can. I made the move for the team. When I was playing shortstop, I stayed healthy.”

Guillen has said things which could be construed as selfish in the past and has usually recanted them to some extent. Guillen also takes a lot of pride in his ability. When after the 2007 season and he was asked to move to shortstop because of a barrage of throwing errors he said he’d only do it for a “Gold Glove” caliber player.

Look in the mirror

Where Guillen is wrong is that he didn’t stay healthy at shortstop (knees, hamstrings) and he had so many struggles that he couldn’t stay at the position. He couldn’t stay healthy at third (back, hemorrhoids), and he hasn’t been able to stay healthy in left field either.  I don’t think it is for lack of effort or conditioning. He’s just one of those players. So as much as he wants to play everyday, he has to be able to play everyday. Early in the season he told Jim Hawkins he could barely walk because of his achilles tendon. This was even before the shoulder injury.

“Sometimes I feel good, sometimes I can hardly walk,” said Guillen, who has been hobbled since Opening Day by an injured Achilles tendon in his lower right leg, where, he said, he has now developed tendinitis. “It just hurts.” As a result, Guillen has spent more time serving as the Tigers’ designated hitter than he has playing the outfield. And adjusting to the role of DH has not been easy. “I’m used to being in the field every day,” Guillen said. “You feel more in the game when you’re in the field. I don’t feel comfortable as the DH. Maybe one or two days would be okay. But everyday? It’s not me sometimes.”

In that same April article the manager who Leyland is criticizing mentions looking out for Guillen

“Every team gets nagging injuries,” Leyland said. “But I believe Guillen played hurt all last year. I think his back really bothered him. And it showed. I don’t want him to have to go through that again. That’s not fair to him.”

Legitimate Beefs

Guillen didn’t need to air these things in public. That’s not to say he didn’t have reason to be frustrated. He couldn’t crack the lineup when the Tigers faced a string of left handers (prior to his return to switch hitting) and he could barely even get pinch hitting duty because Leyland was worried about them bringing in a lefty – but Aubrey Huff would still get to play. He was lifted for a pinch runner in Game 163. He saw his friend and the hottest hitter on the team forced into a platoon role and become a 3 plate appearance per game hitter.

There were certainly grievances to be had, and things were exacerbated by missing the playoffs and what had to be a second consecutive season of frustration for Guillen. Jason Beck told WDFN that things had been simmering since early September but Guillen stayed quiet so as not to be a distraction (h/t Bless You Boys).

Selfish?

Leyland responded to the criticism by naming Guillen the everyday left fielder. That really isn’t that much of a surprise and it doesn’t mean a whole lot in October. But this is a delicate situation for Leyland because Guillen is a leader in the clubhouse and generally seems to be a good teammate.

When Sheffield started talking about Latin American players being easier to control than African American’s, Guillen came to Sheffield’s defense. When Bonderman underwent emergency vascular surgery it was Guillen who hung Bonderman’s jersey up in the dugout. When Miguel Cabrera was being hounded by the press it was Guillen trying to get him some privacy. When there were problems on the Venezuelan WBC team Guillen was among a group that called for change. He sticks up for his teammates.

It will blow over

In the end I don’t think this will amount to much of anything. Guillen will likely start the majority of games in left field when he’s healthy. He’ll probably start a game or two per week at DH. He probably will get lifted as a defensive replacement, but it probably won’t come until the 8th or 9th inning, though he could mitigate some of that by improving his defense.

Based on last year he’d be a win below average in left field. Whether he can improve remains to be seen but a)he lost valuable practice time due to the WBC and b)he was never really healthy enough to play more than a month at a time in 2009. There were a few pretty poor plays and he played too deep, but visually I didn’t think he was as brutal as everyone made him out to be.

He shouldn’t have taken things public, but it became a bigger story because there just isn’t a whole lot to talk about right now.

 
 

{ 178 comments }

Coach Jim October 22, 2009 at 2:44 am

Look he is what he is. A good hitter / sub-fielder. You can only carry so many on a team expected to win.

When you have a lot of guys like that, you should decide who gets along best with everyone else, and deal off the rest. If you could only pick 1 to keep, would it be Carlos, Magglio, or Marcus? And what would you get for the other 2?

Magglio gets the nod for me. I think you get a fringe player for Marcus, and a prospect for Carlos. And you’ll need them to replace Toledo players being promoted in ’10 (there are always some, right?)

Mark L October 22, 2009 at 5:29 am

I think a lot of this has to do with Guillen being competitive. He wants the Tigers to win. Wanting so badly to win, he has been willing to switch positions three times without complaining, fight through painful, nagging injuries. When he was moved from shortstop, he wanted them to bring in a high-quality player. He only wanted to play for Venezuela in the WBC if he would be able to play left field (to help the Tigers, but that plan didn’t work out so well). He’s upset about some of Leyland’s decisions the way some of us are: those decisions seem to be holding the team back from winning games. For example, in the final game he was lifted for a pinch runner. I don’t think his baserunning is that bad, and it would have been nice to have his bat in there later.
On the other hand, Guillen can’t seem to recognize that because of age and injury his skills are deteriorating. Playing him at DH, putting in a defensive replacement, are sometimes good moves that will help the team to win. If he doesn’t like Clete or Raburn coming in for him at the end of the game, then he needs to improve his defense and find a way to stay healthier (although it’s not his fault, maybe he can get conditioned better).
He’s been a good guy and a big reason for this team’s success in recent years. However, his contract and injuries are starting to make him a liability.

Steve October 22, 2009 at 11:08 am

I agree, What you want vs what you are seem to be different. I like Carlos and what he brings over all. The fact of the matter he’s maybe a little contract heavy for what he can provide on the field when you take fielding, position and staying healthy combined. The other soft skills that he brings is something the Tigers need as well.

Leyland / DD maybe need to have a productive meeting with Carlos and maybe review things from their point of view moving forward, now that the heat of a division race and the grind of a long season have past.

Bottom line as Mark L has noted, overall field skills have deteriorated to the point where they are not helping us. Maybe Carlos just needs to understand that or get himself to be and stay healthy. Is this a pride thing “Hey I want to play in the field” or a reality thing “Hey dude your making great money playing proball for a competitive team where you have been a while”

I miss the day to day activity of the games and hope everyone staying tuned in the off season is doing well

Steve

RPS October 22, 2009 at 9:43 am

Pretty spot-on article. Seems like Carlos Guillen is about as happy as I am about the Tigers losing the Central. I kinda like that.

Kathy October 22, 2009 at 11:36 am

me too!

Kevin in Dallas October 22, 2009 at 10:42 am

Maybe the problem is Leyland.

Neal October 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I like that Guillen isn’t happy, but I also agree with most of what Billfer says.
BTW, check out this on Inge playing hurt:
http://bases.nbcsports.com/2009/10/inge-plays-hurt-hurts-team-heads-for-surgery.html.php

Kathy October 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

God forbid that Inge would have to ride the pine.

Jeff Molby October 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I disagree with that guy’s take on Inge. Inge was open and honest about the injury. Management could have DL’d him at any point if they didn’t like the production they were getting. For better or worse, they figured he was the best option.

Kathy October 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Inge has whined and cried like a baby for years whenever he had to switch positions or felt threatened about his greatness. He has pouted more than any other Tiger that I can recall (except maybe for Sheff) in recent history. Jim Leyland won’t put anyone else at 3rd. That’s on him (Leyland).

Jeff Molby October 23, 2009 at 10:04 am

A) there’s a pretty small sample size there when talking about Tigers regulars who were asked to switch positions.
B) His “whining and crying” amounted to a couple appropriately-timed interviews stating his thoughts about where he thought he would have the most success. Each time, he made it clear that he would do whatever the brass wanted him to do and I have no reason to believe that he hasn’t lived up to that.

Stephen October 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Yeah, he was so open and honest about the injury that he went to play in the all-star game rather than rest his knees for three days.

Jeff Molby October 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Yes, he was open and honest about it. The team knew about the injury before the ASG. They had even decided not to DL him already. The docs couldn’t guarantee that the rest would do any good, so the team decided to keep playing him. The team didn’t even want to bother giving him 15 days off and you’re complaining about 3?

Stephen October 23, 2009 at 11:11 am

Yep. Those are the three days he personally controlled. He should have put the team ahead of his own glory. All he achieved was an 0-10 in the Home Run Derby, becoming the most ridiculous All-Star of my lifetime, and hitting like a National League pitcher the entire second half. Inge’s bid for Tigers immortality becomes a reality when he become their all-time strikeout king around August 1. Bad knees or not, dude hit .205 in 2008 and .217 in 2009 after May 1. Dude just sucks.

Jeff Molby October 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

It’s fine that you’re not happy with his production, but you’re being silly about the ASG. The team never so much as hinted that they wanted him to sit it out. They even went so far as to put some marketing muscle behind his effort. They easily could have held back a little bit and said, “Aw, shucks” as Kinsler won.

They actively backed his candidacy and made absolutely no attempt to rest him (161 games played) yet you’re offended because he took ten swings and made a cameo appearance at the end of an exhibition game? Ok. Have fun with that. I don’t have anything else to say on the subject.

Rick G October 23, 2009 at 7:50 am

I don’t blame him for going to the all star game – he’d no sooner turn that down than I would turn down an invite to the Playboy Mansion (just kidding Mrs. Rick G!).

I blame the organization for not sitting him down for a couple of weeks once it became obvious that his production wasn’t going to pick up. The time to do it would have been when they picked up Huff around the middle of August, which I thought at the time was going to happen.

Denny P October 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I have to agree with you Mark L. I feel that sometimes these guys at an elite level can’t seem to face facts though. It’s hard to be late 30′s and not able to do what you used to be able to do. It must be really hard for someone of Guillen’s ability to admit when he has lost a little. He could still be a contributor to a winning team in Detroit, he just has to come to grips with the fact that he’s not as athletic as he used to be. He can be a DH and still contribute. Look at some of the best full-time DHs like Molitor, and Edgar Martinez. They realized that they couldn’t get it done in the field anymore, and still were HOF type players. Maybe Guillen should refer to those examples and stop airing things publicly.

Rick G October 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Here are the Yankee starters older than Guillen (who just turned 34): Jeter, A-Rod, Posada, Damon, and Matsui. Polanco is a few days younger than Guillen, and Magglio is about 20 months older. Funny how all their mid-to-late thirties players do not seem to have lost much if anything, but all of ours have significantly declined.

Mark L October 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Absolutely right, Denny P

TSE October 23, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Guillen should actually play SS this year. It is the Tiger’s best choice if they are have ruled out a trade or DH role and want to use him on a regular basis. It is better to use him at SS and suffer from his defensive weaknesses, than it is to use him at the crowded LF position and still have a glaring SS problem that can’t be fixed w/o a signing somebody like Tejada or making a trade for a good player.

It is CRITICAL that the Tigers figure this out, because if they are not going to spend money to solve the problems we have as a team, then THIS mistake of having Guillen play LF (which is also a defensive liability to some extent) will just give us an even harder hill to climb than we did this past season. We can’t afford to screw up this decision with the shortage of hitting talent that I project for us to have next year.

More background on this here:
http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=104&t=951231

Eric Cioe October 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm

The Strategy Expert returns, sort of! Good Lord. Guillen at SS in 2010? No thank you. I’d rather have Adam Everett’s top tier defense and no stick there than Guillen’s bottom of the barrel defense and good bat. Why? Because shortstop is the most important defensive position on the field, and left field isn’t.

Kathy October 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm

In all fairness, we haven’t really seen Carlos in LF except for a few months. That’s not enough time to learn a new position. I was thinking about Carlos today and reminded myself how he can bat both ways. It amazes me, because there is no way in hell I could ever do something like that and very few MLB players can do it either. He just walks up there and goes either way. That’s pretty special. Let’s give him more time to catch up with the fielding.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 4:32 am

Oh hi Eric, how are you?

You are missing the key point. You are acting like Guillen wouldn’t make a good SS because of his defensive liabilities. Well that is true, but the situation that I am calling for him to play SS is under the assumption that we A) cannot DH him because of an agreement made with him and B) we aren’t willing to spend money to bring in another player.

Do the math. Figure out what percent his Fielding Rate can go down to, to the point that his offense is greater that Everett. My math shows that he could drop SO FAR below normally minimum acceptable standards, that he will be an upgrade over Everett.

If we had Everett at SS and Guillen at LF, you also have to calculate the missed offense of the other LFs that don’t get at-bats and downgrade them to Everett at-bats. It doesn’t matter if you score a run on offense or save one on defense, 1 run = 1 run. Everett doesn’t come close to saving enough runs with his defense to compensate for the offensive runs we’d be losing, and that’s with Guillen projected to have a lower Fielding Rate than even his last year, he has room to drop and still be an upgrade!

Now if it is up to me, I don’t want somebody who is slightly better than Everett, I want somebody who is MUCH greater than Everett. But without having money to spend, you will see that if you do the math, we are better off using Guillen at SS than at LF. Because you have to count the offense we lose by going crowded at LF and taking bats away from the other guys, and then compare what happens at the SS position.

I’ve done the math, and it looks CLEAR to me that Guillen at SS, albeit not the best thing I could dream of, is better than Guillen at LF, only because of our much larger quantity of LFs, and our severe lack of players/money that are capable of playing SS both offensively and defensively. You have to look at the entire picture.

There is just no way that Guillen will make enough errors at SS that it will be better to play him at LF full time versus SS full time.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

TSE,

“Do the math.”
“My math shows that he could drop SO FAR below normally minimum acceptable standards, that he will be an upgrade over Everett. ”
“you will see that if you do the math”
“I’ve done the math”

That’s a lot of math-talk for a guy who’s only mathematical element to his argument seems to be “1 run = 1 run”. Other people have “done the math” — WAR for example — and their math disagrees with your as-of-yet unseen calculations. Show us some math, or limit yourself to like 1000 words per post — I’m getting RSI just from scrolling past your bloviations.

Coleman October 24, 2009 at 3:15 am

Kathy reminds me of a rumor I meant to start…

The Tigers are keeping Lloyd because they are interested in his new off-season project to teach Inge to bat lefty…

TSE October 24, 2009 at 4:46 am

Could be a good idea. He might be so uncomfortable as a lefty that it might cause him to not swing the bat as aggressively and haphazardly, thus solving his strikeout problem. :)

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 7:46 am

Thanks, Coleman! A gal can always dream.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 7:49 am

Honestly, I can’t Carlos at any other postion but LF. He doesn’t have the range in the infield anymore. I’m hoping he plays lots of long toss this winter.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Range is not the issue. There’s no question that Guillen is not a highly desirable solution at SS, but we don’t have any other choice if we don’t spend money for a new player or make a trade. You have to keep in mind that whoever plays SS that is on the team now, is actually going to be taking atbats away from the trio of Thames/Raburn/Ramirez, not Guillen.

Who are you going to get to play SS, Santiago or Everett? If Everett, he would have to have a Fielding Pct of 100% to have anyu chance of making up for his lack of a bat over those other 3 guys, and even a 100% Fielding Pct may not be enough that he will cost us more runs on offense than he can save on defense playing a perfect season, which isn’t possible anyhow.

So you can’t come up with a solution that Guillen can’t play SS because of range, range doesn’t win baseball games. You have to connect range to the scoring to show how it would cost you games, and in this case on this unique team with this set of players, it won’t cost us games relative to our other projected options. Scoring runs and preventing runs is what determines the outcome. If Player A has less range than Player B that results in a loss of X runs, and if Player A can produce on offense 1.1x more runs than Player B, then you want player A for the extra .1 value.

This logic works favorably for Guillen to play SS, again barring a trade or FA addition or making Guillen a DH. And that is why Guillen is probably pissed. He probably has figured this concept out, or his agents/managers/advisors are probably pointing this out, so he doesn’t get why he’s being pushed to LF, in his mind it makes no sense. I would be pissed too, because it’s mismanagement like this by the Tigers that cost us close to 10 wins last year.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I’ll have to think about that for a little bit. He did make alot of errors and was considered a defensive liability. I don’t have to think about your last sentence. because I agree. I find that to be a very logical statement.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm

range doesn’t win baseball games

Yes, it does. Range is a huge factor in run prevention, which is a huge factor in winning games.

it’s mismanagement like this by the Tigers that cost us close to 10 wins last year.

Good luck supporting that hyperbole.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

They did push Carlos to first base, and Renteria came on board. You know, a gold-glover like Carlos wanted. Well, that sure didn’t work out too well.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Yeah I couldn’t stand Renteria. He can’t hit, and neither can Everett. It is TERRIBLE baseball strategy to load up on players that have defense and can’t hit. Managers like Leyland never learn that only a 1-2% increase in defense is not nearly enough to compensate for massive SLG penalties on offense. It’s a negative tradeoff. That’s why the Tigers lose and waste an extra $80M over teams like the Marlins and get nothing out of it, because we have defensive players like Inge/Everett/Laird that aren’t remotely close to adequate enough at the plate to take advantage of their defensive prowess. It’s absolutely backwards strategy.

If you were to make a decision between a player that is inept at either offense or defense and great at the other, 4 times out of 5 you are probably going to be better off taking the offensive ability over the defensive liability. And that’s because hitting skill has HUGE variances between good hitters and bad hitters, and defense TYPICALLY has small differentials. The art of fielding just isn’t designed to the point where you get big deviations from one player to the next, and that’s mainly because it is not as complex of a skill like hitting a 90MPH fastball.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

You missed the point. Range does not win games, you are totally wrong. Runs win games. Range is only something that contributes to runs. When a game ends, we don’t see Team A won because they had more range than Team B, it’s about who scores the runs.

Thus, just because you lose on the “range” element of SS, doesn’t mean you lose the game. You only take a hit. And if you more than make up for that “hit” on offense, then you are better off. If we comparing Guillen to Everett, it’s not even close, Guillen/Thames/Raburn more than make up the offense over Everett than Everett does with his defense over Guillen.

One of the key things here is that statistically, Raburn and Thames have much higher projected batting efficiencies than Guillen himself. So by not having Guillen in LF, you get additional bat bonus from replacing him with those 2 players, and that compensates for Guillen’s lost range to Everett as well as his own batting does over Everett. If you want to look at it from a different perspective, you could say that you get two hitting upgrades, Thames/Raburn over Guillen at LF, and Guillen over Everett at SS, or you can look at it as one MASSIVE upgrade of Thames/Raburn over Everett. Any way you slice it, there is a clear advantage to putting Guillen at SS instead of LF.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm

OK, you got me listening and I read your epistle on realgm. However, I’m not smart enough to dispute your theory. I think the Tigers will spend the least amount they can get away with. So, no Tejada. Your comments are great food for thought and I hope someone else will chime in who has the sabermetric thing going for them. That person is not me.

billfer October 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

There is probably a 25 to 30 run difference between Everett and Guillen at shortstop defensively. A healthy Guillen makes up for that difference offensively so it is probably a wash.

But then you factor in extended innings for the starters meaning more innings for relievers.

Guillen at short isn’t as crazy an idea as many make it out to be, but myself and the rest of the pitching staff would probably prefer Everett on the infield.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

You missed the point. Range does not win games, you are totally wrong. Runs win games. Range is only something that contributes to runs. When a game ends, we don’t see Team A won because they had more range than Team B, it’s about who scores the runs.

That’s exactly what I said. Look, I don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusion. It’s a strategy I’m willing to entertain. I just took issue with your statement because you seemed to imply several times that fielding percentage was important and range wasn’t. I hope you know better than that.

But really, you’re spending a ton of time punching letters on your keyboard. Why not just convince us with numbers? Take a stab at estimating the RS advantage of Guillen @ SS so we can know how many additional runs we can afford to allow. Then it’s a simple matter of seeing if the RA number is reasonable.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Well I’m glad you took the time to read my “epistle” Kathy, and have some new food for thought! I have been scouring the Internet lately, and there just isn’t much conversation going on about this topic unfortunately.

I hope I didn’t take up too much of your time this afternoon on reading all of that, I do have a tendency to go on and on once I start talking about baseball, LOL. It is my life’s passion to dissect and talk about baseball and football, I do nothing else with my time other than study these games, I’m obsessed, LOL.

I, too, would like it if a lot of “sabers” would chime in, cause I challenge anybody to prove that I am wrong with my theory. I know the numbers and the approximate odds of hitting/fielding ranges that Guillen/Everett could potentially arrive at, and I know there is a big enough safety net that anybody that tries to objectively prove that we are better off with Guillen in LF over SS is going to hit a brick wall. Keep in mind this would be a different situation if Thames/Raburn/Ramirez were SSs by trade and not outfielders, or if you took Everett out of the conversation you could start to make some headway in arguing against it.

Say if you were to replace Everett with Santiago, you could counter “Guillen at SS” a lot better although not completely. Having Guillen at SS inherently isn’t a dreamy situation because of his age and limited range; the only way this argument does hold water is because Everett is such an incredibly terrible hitter that skews this decision well into Guillen’s favor. While Santiago is a player I like, he doesn’t have enough of a hitting prowess, and that coupled with his slight deficiency in the field to Everett, it isn’t quite enough to make Santiago a full time SS and then stick Guillen back into LF. I also have looked at all of the other SS’s in FA and it’s slim pickings. There aren’t too many options out there that make any sense for the investment, except Tejada. You have no idea how bad I want Tejada on this team by the way, he’s the perfect solution for our problem when you consider defense and hitting, plus cost since he’s getting long in the tooth and isn’t as expensive as he would be if he was 5 years younger. I know Illitch is gunshy about spending more money, but he would get a good bang for his buck for how troubled we are at the SS position that would be a nice way to protect his $100MM+ investment.

While it would be nice to have others comment on this, it still won’t solve our actual problem, because the fact of that matter still remains that DD and Leyland have already firmly cemented themselves into their baseball theory that the defensive gains are better than the offensive gains, essentially the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I believe to be true. This is clearly established by the fact that we signed Everett in the first place.

Under my philosophy you wouldn’t have been able to convince me to sign Everett if you had a gun to my head. I would rather chance that you were bluffing on actually blowing my brains out of my head and refuse to sign him. It would just go against my very nature and existence to allow that to happen. Yet they WANTED that transaction, cause it fits into their ALTERNATIVE baseball logic.

Somewhere along the lines they made a mistake. I’m not saying these guys are stupid, just that they messed up somewhere along the way and got off track. It’s like if I were to give you an algebra problem and define “x” as 4, but you accidentally thought the 4 was a 9, then of course you would never arrive at the proper solution. You would go over it again and again and again, and you would keep arriving at a dead end. Until you go back and find out that there was a miscommunication on what “x” was worth, you won’t be able to solve the problem correctly. DD and Leyland just haven’t reached the point yet that they are aware that there is something goofy going on with their inputs/instructions, and therefore they are scrambling in disarray and unable to find out why their baseball logic can’t get us into the playoffs.

DD is getting closer though, in his recent interview he did mention how he thought the team had good pitching and good defense for the most part, but our hitting just wasn’t there. So he’s sniffing around the proper clues, now he just needs to piece it all together and realize the importance of the relationship of the tradeoff between defense and offense.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 7:07 pm

The best of luck to you, TSE.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Thank you kind sir!

billfer October 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

While it would be nice to have others comment on this, it still won’t solve our actual problem, because the fact of that matter still remains that DD and Leyland have already firmly cemented themselves into their baseball theory that the defensive gains are better than the offensive gains, essentially the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I believe to be true. This is clearly established by the fact that we signed Everett in the first place.

Runs are runs. Offensive runs aren’t worth more than defensive runs. If you have a team that scored 750 runs and allowed 750 runs you’d have a .500 team. Say the team was in a situation to improve itself by 25 runs, would it be better to focus on defense or offense? In this case, if you added 25 runs to your runs scored and kept runs allowed the same the resulting winning percentage would be .5163. If you took them off the runs allowed and kept runs scored the same it would be .5169.

billfer October 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Oh, and Thames most likely is done as a Tiger so Everett wouldn’t be taking at-bats from him.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I hadn’t heard any convincing information that Thames is out, so I was operating under the assumption he would be here. If Thames was out, it wouldn’t really drastically change the dynamic of this LF vs SS theory, as right now it’s 50/50 Thames/Raburn, and would just shift to 0/100 Thames/Raburn, and either way you are involving a drastically superior hitter to Everett, and a modestly better hitter to Guillen (based on career numbers and expectations for the future).

To Jeff,

Well yes I could show you numbers, but to just pluck out final conclusion numbers isn’t really that valid unless you show all the work/explanation on how you arrived at those numbers, and that’s pretty tricky to do over an Internet board adequately.

I’d rather have you in front of my computer screen and walk you through an Excel sheet in realtime. Besides, everybody uses different metrics and formulas to arrive at their results, so it’s really up to each person to use their own and arrive at their own conclusions since there really isn’t a unquestioned standardization method for reducing baseball strategy to a cozy and simple format that is universally accepted.

Take me for example, I use an OE% number that I created which I use to replace metrics like SLG and OPS, but nobody knows what it is, thus anything that is derived as a function of my OE% doesn’t represent anything meaningful to anybody other than myself. Then, it’s not like there are just TWO numbers that get compared at the end where one is greater than the other, you have to look at different scenarios, say Guillen fields at 96% but only hits for a .280 avg, but what if he fields at 92% and hits .317? There’s several combinations for him and Everett and others and you really have to compare large groups of numbers against each other, and then you would have to subjectively estimate the % odds regarding the likelihood of different scenarios, and it can become highly complex very quickly, and a plain blog comment thrown into the mix here isn’t really going to be the best method to transfer those numbers adequately to sell the theory, you really need a real-time dialogue or some kind of a structured platform to house an analysis properly. I don’t have my own baseball website like a Baseball Prospectus or even a blog, otherwise I would have all of this stuff posted on my homepage, just as you see other sports-related sites that offer up those types of presentations.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Google Docs are a pretty good way to share a spreadsheet, but really, you’re talking about re-inventing the wheel. There are stats that make useful attempts to quantify a player’s total contribution to a team. It’s one thing to offer a contrarian theory for consideration, but it’s awfully presumptuous of you to lob such insults at management when you haven’t even done enough of the math yourself. You have my attention, but if you actually want to convince me, start speaking with substance.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I’m not really looking to try and convince you of anything or sell you anything, just offering up my opinion. I’m not going to publish spreadsheets just to convince one person that isn’t going to be able to modify the Tiger’s strategy. You have to understand where I’m coming from, I have posted on the Internet for tens of thousands of posts in various places, and I know from experience that it takes a lot of time and effort to try and begin to sell somebody to adopt “contrarian” ideas. And I am not too keen on the idea of sharing my formulas and mathwork for people on the Internet that I can’t qualify what their intentions are. If I were to ever have a meeting with DD or Illitch, I want to be the one to show them my work, not to give it to somebody else so they can take the credit for it and cut me out of the loop. It’s my dream to GM the Tigers one day, and I need all the leverage I can to get my foot in the door.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm

What is your goal in posting then? Are you actually on a path where such a meeting is a likely? If so, I could understand why you’re choosing to bide your time. If not, you’re never going to get on their radar by making unsupported assertions on the web. If you’re attempting to build a name for yourself, I would think you’d want to create a blog and start publishing your methods and their applications. If you built a track record of unorthodox moves that would have paid off had anyone listened, you would certainly stand a better shot at getting your foot in the door.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm
TSE October 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Well there is no doubt that the Tigers are not as high on Thames as I am. I am convinced he is one of the most commonly underrated players on our team. The negative perception of him is just way off the mark imo.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm

It’s not just the Tigers. If anyone else in the league thought he was a starter, he would have been traded by now. That’s neither here, nor there, though. The Tigers would like to keep him around, but they’re not in a position keep redundant players around.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I don’t see a meeting as highly likely at all, as I don’t have any connections presently and DD and Illitch don’t know anything about me or who I am. As far as they are concerned, I’m just some quack that says I can do a better job, but there’s no shortage of people that make the same claim obviously.

I’m trying to figure out how I can make myself known to them. I could create a blog, but what am I going to post on it that causes Illitch and DD to walk up to my door and ring the bell? Am I going to post some profound strategies with excellent background info that then is absorbed by the competition as well? I want to give my info and expertise to DD and Illitch, but not to the World Wide Web. My goal isn’t personal fame or recognition or an Internet following. I only seek to win baseball games. (and football)

As far as my goal for posting on the concept of Guillen for SS, well that’s pretty much a function of the lack of dialogue on the subject across the Internet, so I thought I’d bring up my opinion and let others have a chance to see a perspective that doesn’t have much publicity so that they can make up their own minds. I feel it is unfair to Guillen to not have sportswriters out there properly representing his position or talking about this issue as one of relevance. I’m just trying to do my part to make the idea known as a possible option, because common perception is to immediately dismiss the concept of Guillen at SS as ridiculously stupid, and to me that’s not fair, or an accurate assessment. The vast majority of Tiger fans would never even conceive of that as a legitimate option, and in our situation as it stands now, it is actually our most viable option when compared against our few other expected alternatives.

Jeff Molby October 24, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Am I going to post some profound strategies with excellent background info that then is absorbed by the competition as well? I want to give my info and expertise to DD and Illitch, but not to the World Wide Web.

Then write up your material and send it directly to them. They’ll probably completely ignore the first 100, but eventually they’ll probably read one or more out of boredom or curiosity. If your material is as good as you think, you might influence their thinking and you might even get your break.

As far as my goal for posting on the concept of Guillen for SS, well that’s pretty much a function of the lack of dialogue on the subject across the Internet…

Ok, but so far your effort in that direction consists of little more than “the offensive boost from the move will make up for the defensive loss”. You could have saved yourself about 3000 words. If you don’t want to divulge your own statistics, use readily available saber stats to bolster your point. Otherwise, you’re not really creating a meaningful conversation.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Jeff,

Writing something up and sending it directly to them is the one thing I have thought of and something that I will do. I just haven’t done that as of today. And to be completely honest, my beliefs in my abilities to beat commonplace baseball strategy, which I consider inferior, is also a belief I share for the game of football.

There aren’t any 2 sports in the world that have more potential for improved strategic decisions than football and baseball. That’s pretty much a function of the unique design of the sports that have so many complex factors to them than can be planned around creatively as well as the current lack of understanding of the optimal strategies. Heck, in football we can’t even find coaches that know if they should go for 2 pt conversions or 4th downs properly. It’s really quite mind boggling.

Anyhow, the reason I’m giving this honest disclosure of why I haven’t already sent something to the Tigers is because I am presently writing a football book that I have already planned to send to the Lions, and I will be finished with that in the next 2 weeks, after which I will begin working on a baseball related project/write-up. I just chose that route first as it seemed more practical to get my foot in the door. Even if I sent a book to DD, and he agreed with my theories, well he wouldn’t be as in need to give me a job once I sold him on a handful of my strategy points, cause then he would already have most of the answers and could just carry on with or without me. Whereas my interpretations for my football strategy enhancements, I could see them having a larger need to still bring me in just due to the differences in the dynamics of the ideas and being able to work with them on a regular basis over a long period of time.

Eric Cioe October 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

You put so much thought into baseball’s offense that you came up with the infamous OE% to replace other, “inadequate” stats, but you literally use fielding percentage to judge defense? Is this a joke?

TSE October 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Fielding Pct is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s not the same for every player. Obviously as we have seen with Polanco, it’s much harder to play defense in the metrodome than in other parks. And it’s clearly the case that errors/hits are scored so inaccurately that you can’t possibly know from looking at a simple percentage if they received a lot of good or bad breaks. I never said nor do I contend now that FP is the end all be all for determining defensive skills.

When I talk about FP, it’s just my way of saying for convenient conversational purposes so that we can have a productive conversation in lamens terms, we will use the generic baseball stat as a reference point. As I stated before, everybody uses so many different formulas and equations and stats that there isn’t a simple standardized way of comparing stats from one person to another, so choose your own. In other words, if you are thrown by the concept of my theories here in this blog, then simply change the words FP or FR into PDS (Perfect Defense Score) or whatever you want it to be and use your own metric and just consider FP as a placeholder for what a player’s defense is worth. Whatever metric you use for evaluating defense, that’s your choice, and that’s what I’m asking YOU to look at in conjunction with the context of my arguments.

And any metric that measures defense well isn’t going to statistically be that far off from an FP like other stats are from their counterparts. For example, if you only used BA to judge a hitter, versus SLG or OPS or another better stat, well you are far more likely to make a mistake in evaluating a hitter only using BA in lieu of the others, than you are if you use FP to judge a fielder over other means.

If you really want to debate how to judge a good fielder, then I would recommend starting a new topic dissecting defensive evaluations and I would be happy to chime in on my criteria and process for doing that, but for this topic let’s try to keep the conversation practical.

Eric Cioe October 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Starting a new topic? This is billfer’s blog, pal, not mine. Or yours, for that matter. Why don’t you go over to motownsports.com so we can talk about this without taking up tons of space in a pretty unreadable format here? I know you were there in the past, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen you lately. Wonder why that is?

TSE October 26, 2009 at 7:41 pm

My point is that this is hardly the place to debate the formula and process for defining a player’s defensive worth, that is a completely different topic. I’ve already stated my position in this blog that people use different metrics to come up with different determinations on players, and FP% is just an arbitrary choice for conversational purposes in representing my idea. It doesn’t matter what metric you like better for defense as you can substitute that one in for any of my concepts and they will work for you just fine in terms of identifying the elements of my argument. Most people don’t use complex processes of evaluating defense or lesser known stats, so the FP% is a great way to keep the conversation simple and practical for general conversation. If you want to make it more complex and defined then that’s fine too, but I thought layman’s descriptors would be most useful for transferring my point/opinion to other readers. (just as I did when I arbitrarily chose SLG for a hitting related comment I made, even though SLG isn’t the end-all be-all for hitting stats)

billfer October 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Actually FP is a horrible way to judge a fielder’s value. It isn’t even a good tool from a relative standpoint let alone an absolute one.

Also, there is no need to stay with laymens terms. That’s fine for other sites, people around here have seen me use +/-, PMR, and UZR for a number of years and I like to specifically steer away from fielding percentage because I’m tired of it being touted by mainstream folks as a worthwhile measure of fielding.

It is better than nothing, so it’s one thing to use it to talk about minor leaguers, but there are so many vastly superior measures that are freely and readily available it isn’t even worth bringing up.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Oh ok. Didn’t know much about your blog, only started paying attention a few days ago when I noticed the Carlos Guillen topic and that drew me in.

Anyhow, FP was then just a bad choice of words on my part to make my point clear. I didn’t anticipate there to be such confusion on the matter. Replace every time I say FP with “appropriate defensive measure” and that would set up my points properly for those that want to make sure everything is technically and literally tied in properly in my ideas. My bad.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Yes, this a sabermatician’s heaven that billfer has created here. I don’t really belong in this crowd, but love the debate and learning new things. I actually look up stats now and understand OPS.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I see, but I disagree with you and think you absolutely DO belong in this crowd!

There’s no rule that says you have to be a math genius to practice good baseball theory and tactics. In fact, the biggest keys in my opinion to improvements in baseball strategy, have more to do with logic than they do with stats/math. I have a lot of education in all areas of logic/stats/math, but it’s the logic for me that is the most important thing that separates bad baseball theory from good baseball theory. My math comes into play to hone in on a little more greater accuracy when developing my “Contrarian” theories. I have had many conversations with many sabreesque people, and I have disagreed with them vehemently in some cases as well. Sometimes the math/stats can lead you astray if you aren’t careful in your logical programming and thinking of how components interrelate with the bigger picture.

I’m a firm believer that not only do you not have to be a math/stats genius to have a great baseball mind, you also don’t need to be a generic genius, in fact, I believe that I could teach a group of people at or around a 100 IQ to be better baseball GMs than most of the professionals that are employed in those positions today. It is the combo of my logic/stats/math that I feel generate a unique recipe that makes my baseball theory special. And if I was given a relatively small period of time, I could transfer my knowledge/principles and teach the logic that I use to a group of random 100 or so IQ people such that they could embark on a career of GMing a pro baseball team better than the industry standard. This is possible because of the earth-shattering nature of reality that people employed in those positions just typically don’t have much education in logic or game theory to understand the ramifications of their actions, and thus they fail at reaching true optimum with their decision making processes.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I don’t believe Thames will be back, either. Remember the awful LF player they picked up a couple seasons ago? Can’t think of his name right at this minute, but you have to wonder if they really knew the numbers or studied this guy before paying millions for his uselessness. Also, I think the pitchers would agree with billfer about who they would want behind them at SS. Still, I like your idea. We need more offense. Just don’t know if Leland and Dombrowski have the guts to do it or if Guillen’s knees would hold up for very long.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm

If Thames is back I would want him to be the DH, so he wouldn’t field anyways for the most part. My #1 preference is to make a trade though, and possibly several trades. That’s really the key to what our team will look like, is how many trades are they willing and able to make. Our team needs a major realignment in order to get the proper amount of offense to compete with teams like the Yankees if we want to strive to be the best.

Well in my estimation, DD and Leyland would have guts moreso if they continue to do the same thing they have been doing for the last several years and thus risk getting fired for a lack of results.

Either way, I think things do look somewhat decent for the Tigers in the long-term. In 2011 and beyond, some of the big contracts start to come off the books, and by that point DD and Leyland will either fail again and get fired, or they will learn from their mistakes and start doing the opposite of what they have been doing. If they fail and get fired, the new regime will hopefully be able to clearly identify the backwards baseball logic and not repeat the same mistakes. Odds are somewhat decent in our favor that things will improve eventually.

In my estimation we accomplished about as little as we possibly could last year given the payroll we had invested as well as player resources at our disposal, so is is unlikely that we can underachieve by a greater amount than what we have seen in the past.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm

TSE, I sincerely believe the current management has been living with a ’90′s mentality. I don’t think they ever saw the current money crunch coming. It kinda just occured to them recently. Mike Ilitch always wanted Tejada, but they couldn’t sell him on Detroit, so that’s how we ended up with Pudge, but you probably already know that. I like him too.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I would like to know where DD and Leyland get their philosophy from. I’m not joking or trying to poke fun at it, but I’m really not privy to what it is that fuels their foundation of baseball theory. All I can come up with is one day some highly respected baseball man probably said something like “defense wins championships”, and that phrase just sounds cozy and practical and so they felt a connection and found reinforcement from some team that had awesome defense and won a series, and that somehow saturated a belief that all you need to do is get defense at any costs even if it sacrifices offense on a monumental level. But like I maintain, IF you had to choose, you almost always want to go with offense at the expense of defense, because it is harder to get good hitters than it is to get good fielders, and the gaps from different tiers of hitting prowess are more profound than the gaps on defense, at least in general circumstances that deal with the masses and not unique and limited niche exceptions to the rule that certainly do exist.

Actually I did not know that. I know nothing about Tejada and previous talks regarding Detroit offhand. I like Tejada because my interpretation of his offensive skills coupled with his defensive skills just makes him a very attractive player, but particularly for the MASSIVE gap in his hitting potential over Everett, or Santiago, or Guillen, or anybody else we could be talking about. An investment into a player like Tejada strikes me as a safe and secure investment with little chance of a bust and a high chance of delivering a favorable contribution of run creation/run prevention. It’s not like investing into a wild gamble like a Dontrelle Willis type of player. Yes Tejada is expensive, but even with the big dollars, the value of the dollar spent in relation to what you receive in return towards helping a baseball team win games is a legitimate value and a positive contribution factor, and not a pipe dream. Even if Willis theoretically did pan out and had good numbers, his increase over our weakest pitcher isn’t remotely close to the same type of gain we could get in going from Everett as our weakest hitter to somebody like Tejada that has so much gap.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm

It’s why I can live with Maggs in RF. He’s trashed terrible for his defense, but I’d never give up his offense…….like Leland did down the stretch.

TSE October 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I like Magglio as well, although I do have one gripe, and that is his salary. I already mentioned how I use my OE% as my primary statistic, so for general comparison I will substitute SLG to demonstrate why I don’t like his salary….

How many times in the last 6 seasons has Magglio hit over a .500 SLG? The answer, only once. He does have a .513 career SLG, but lately it hasn’t been that spectacular. Now look at a guy like Marcus Thames. Marcus quietly has a .491 career SLG, which isn’t a gigantic difference. But what is a gigantic difference is the salary differential between Thames and Ordonez. So while Ordonez beats Thames on career SLG, he gets DEMOLISHED by Thames on the ratio of SLG/dollars.

That is why I’m so high on guys like Thames, because taking a reduction from the massive salary that a player like Ordonez commands, I’d rather give that money to Tejada. I’d rather have Thames and Tejada than Ordonez and Everett. That would be a landslide improvement for the team. LANDSLIDE. We lose a decent amount going from Ordonez to Thames, and a HUMONGOUS amount is gained from going from Everett to Tejada. Heck, it might even leave us with some extra money as well, it’s just so sick and sad that we fail on these decisions all over the place. You add up ALL of these packages and combos, and that’s how you can spend $80MM more than the Marlins and get no extra wins out of it!

This is really the fundamental problem with the Tigers for the last 10 years, is they don’t know how to logically put their money into the right baskets to get legitimate bang for their buck. We had something like $120MM for a payroll, yet the Twins had something like $80MM, and the Marlins had only $40MM, yet all 3 teams won basically the same number of games. The Tigers aren’t spending money on “baseball” investments, they are just giving it away as charity to a few select ballplayers. Nobody wins except those specific players. The fans lose, DD loses, Leyland loses, the Tigers lose, and Illitch loses the most, because he loses as a fan and also the tens of millions of “money spent for nothing” as I call it.

If I woke up tomorrow as the GM of the Tigers, the first thing I would do is talk with Illitch, and I would try to persuade him to spend money for the baseball team. I would ask him to make some baseball investments, and just bite the bullet one time for the benefit of the team by spending money on baseball. Now obviously he would say I just did that, but I would contend that, no sir, you have not. You THOUGHT you were investing in baseball products, but you were not. You spent money that wasn’t designed logically to improve your club, now that may be real money to you, but you can’t allocate it to being a “baseball investment”. I don’t know what you would categorize it as, you could call it charity, you could call it burning money for entertainment purposes, but it wasn’t money spent for “baseball”.

That’s like saying to Mr. Illitch that I found a new type of oven he should put in all his pizza stores that can cut costs and save him millions. Now this equipment will cost $50M but it will save you $100M over 5 years, so why not do it right? Well now, let’s say that after we established that fact, some guy named DD offered to sell him a similar set for only $48M. So Mr. Illitch agrees and gives him the money because he is persuaded. But instead of getting the ovens, this DD character takes the money and splits town. No ovens are ever rec’d and he’s gone. So now I show up the next day and say I want the check, and Illitch says no way, I already paid for the ovens. Well no, you did not pay for the ovens, you paid for something other than ovens, which was nothing other than an expensive trip for one man. But don’t blame the ovens and then complain about not being able to cut costs, cause I ASSURE you that the ovens do work AS ADVERTISED and will save the money. So just because you got burned by giving some money to a guy that never delivered the ovens, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save the money on still buying the ovens. Cause you haven’t bought the ovens yet, despite having wrote a big check. The difference is that when I get the check, the ovens will ACTUALLY be delivered and they WILL WORK as described.

Now the difference here is DD is not a con man and he did not steal the money. Instead he took that money and gave it to some other people and kept nothing for himself. So his intent may have been good, but the reality is that he didn’t use the money to improve the baseball team, and Mr. Illitch bought something else, but he didn’t buy a “baseball investment”.

Mr. Illitch, you still owe the city of Detroit a “baseball investment”. I know you feel bad about the other money you were robbed of, but that has nothing to do with baseball, and I don’t have the expertise to figure out your recourse to get that money back, that’s not my line of business. I’m just here to ask you to make a “baseball investment” just one time, so that you can see what happens and what there is to gain by making this investment.

Shane Trapped in Toledo October 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Please no more Strategy Expert.

Coach Jim October 25, 2009 at 1:35 am

So I just got done printing a set of Acu-Stat* cards for the 2009 season. According to the numbers, Carlos is not a half-bad outfielder. His fielding percentage is tolerable, and truth be told, his range is only exceeded by Granderson and Rayburn…yes, more range than the speedy Josh Anderson. Side note: lowest range by a qualified outfielder in the whole MLB – Marcus Thames.

*Acu-Stat is a card/dice game I’ve been “inventing” since high school in the early 80s.

TSE October 25, 2009 at 2:58 am

I’d play that game, sounds fun. I’m such a nerd. lol where do I sign up?

Coleman October 25, 2009 at 2:40 am

I just wish Carlos would drop the ridiculous sliding catch thing (or I should say sliding “catch”), which Raburn seems to have caught also, with most unfortunate effect.

Hopefully that was a Van Slyke Technique.

TSE October 25, 2009 at 3:01 am

Sounds like something Andy would do. Too bad he couldn’t have taught our team to do proper base-running. Another area that could use improvement. I haven’t been too fond of Lamont in the past, but he seemed to get a little better lately, there just needs to be some better situational instructions to the players, cause they don’t seem to have the ability to adapt to the proper strategies for too many typical scenarios. I watched almost every single game last year with the exception to about 2 or 3 games, and we gave up a TON of runs from classic positioning mistakes.

Kathy October 25, 2009 at 8:31 am

I agree about Lamont. He’s drove me crazy sometimes holding runners on 3rd when they easily may have scored. But what do you mean by “TON of runs from classic positioning mistakes? The people on the bases? Where the infielders are placed on the field? What?

TSE October 25, 2009 at 2:06 pm

When I say “positioning” errors, I generally mean the specific spots that runners choose while they wait to find out if the ball will drop or not. Going too far or not far enough can result in losing the extra base or exposing themselves to get doubled up when they shouldn’t. There were so many errors on the basepaths last year, that the positioning errors were the minority of the types of mistakes they made, but they were ones that are easily coachable to the point that they should never happen. There’s absolutely no good reason that on a standard fly ball situation, that our runners should be so far off the mark of where to stand, that’s an elementary thing to fix. And you can tell that it is not the player who is failing to act on his instructions correctly, cause sometimes when they are near 3rd base, if the runner is out of position, you sure don’t see Lamont trying to communicate to him, so it’s not a case of the player failing the manager’s instructions, it’s a case that the manager hasn’t told the runners the optimal place to stand, and he doesnt’ correct it or coach it, they just let these mistakes happen OVER and OVER and OVER again. As a fan that watches so many games, it is REALLY annoying to see so many mental errors on the paths with nothing being done about it. Plus we don’t do a good job at all of stealing when we should, and not stealing when we shouldn’t, although that’s really a separate category of mistakes that we make on a regular basis.

I had cited a few examples specifically in other forums over the last several months, and unfortunately it is tricky to dig around and try to find some of the ones that I commented on since one of the sites I chat on lately don’t have a search function. I found one from the RealGM site, this is one that really annoyed me…..(warning: long rant)

A few games ago there was a play where Granderson was on 2nd base and there was a deep fly ball near the warning track that was caught and Grandy got doubled up. That was a mistake, and a Leyland mistake, not Grandy. Here’s what happened…Leyland ordered a steal, fine, but if you watch the play, Grandy was about 20% BEYOND 3rd base at the moment the ball was caught. Now let’s stop for a second and analyze this…why is he standing there? Ok if the ball drops, he scores anyway since he’s inside 3rd base, but if the ball is caught he’s doubled up. CORRECT baserunning strategy should have him STOP say 2 feet from 3rd base at the most. This was a CLEARLY deep crushing shot, so we know from general tag up, that on a monster crush that Grandy is going to score EASILY if he’s AT 3B. Now, in this case he can only score if the ball is dropped, THEREFORE we can conclude he can be a tad short of 3B and score with ZERO RiSK if it is dropped. BUT, if he’s 2 feet FROM 3B WATCHING the play, then he can have a shot to get back to 2B without getting doubled up. If you watch the replay, Grandy runs with his head down and goes through, but not because he’s a screwup, because that’s how Leyland teaches it. Heck Rod Allen commented on that play and applauded Grandy for running that way, he actually encouraged it! But it still makes no sense, cause there is no advantage for Grandy to have been 20% passed 3B as opposed to 2 feet before it cause he’s a lock to score no matter what if it is not caught. One could argue you could stand 10+ feet from 3B and still very easily score, I don’t have the exact number of feet calculate that puts you in a safe zone off the top of my head, but if I’m a manager I could calculate that, and in fact I could calculate it for every player on the team based upon their different speeds, and it would be a lesson to teach to the team….GUYS, if you are in THIS situation and I order THIS, THIS is where YOUR breakeven point is to hit and stop and then look. It’s all perfectly planned. But Leyland doesn’t teach THAT, because he doesn’t know how to strategize. He’s oblivious, I wish I was a reporter so after the game I could ask him about that play and see how he comments on it, I GUARANTEE you he’s oblivious to this because I see stuff like this every other game. He doesnt know how to teach his team baserunning tactics.

Lee Panas October 26, 2009 at 12:44 am

I don’t think moving Guillen to shortstop is a crazy idea but I’d prefer they go in another direction. Their run prevention improved immensely last year and defense was a big part of that. I don’t believe Porcello and Jackson and some of their relievers would have done as well without help from their defense. I’m hoping the the Tigers can improve their offense without hurting their defense too much.

They were below replacement level at DH last year so that is the area where they need to improve the most offensively. Unless, Guillen’s health and defense improve remarkably, he should be DHing. I think Thames will be gone and he could be replaced by Casper Wells. If he is ready, Wells could spell Granderson in CF against some LHP. I’d also like to see them get a left-handed bat for left field. A full season of production from Ordonez would help too.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I’d prefer they go in a different direction as well. My whole contention is that Guillen at SS is the BEST option we have, unless we either make a trade or spend money, and I’m skeptical that they will look at either of those options.

One thing we could also do is play Santiago at SS full time. That is a LOT better of an option than playing Everett at least. But it still leaves us Guillen/Thames/Raburn/Ramirez, and we still would need to make a trade in order to have an efficient roster design.

I’d really like to see a combo of players traded, where we send either Inge or Laird away in a package to get a legit player that can hit and play defense, or hit so well that his defensive deficiencies are more than compensated for.

Any way you slice it, if the Tigers don’t make lots of trades, or spend at least a decent sum of money, then there’s no possible way we can compete next year for a WS unless every player on our regular lineup has a career year. That’s asking for way too much statistical luck/fortune.

Eric Cioe October 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Everett was a better player than Santiago this season. He was almost two wins better with his glove and his bat was only marginally worse.

It’s like you think that it doesn’t matter where a guy plays in the field or how he does there, just so long as the runs come. Offensive runs cost more than defensive runs, so I think you’re nuts to totally punt the latter in favor of the former.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Much ado about Carlos Guillen, indeed!

TSE October 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm

If we did have a player at SS that was better than Santiago this season, we actually would have had barely enough to make the playoffs. We came up JUST barely short of the playoffs, basically as close as you can come without making it, and Everett was our #1 biggest weakness of all positional players on the team in terms of how much he contributed to our losses. Laird was a close second.

If you disagree with me, which I can see that you do, then you are not in the minority. You are in the majority, a majority of people that have the same twisted backwards baseball logic as DD and Leyland do.

billfer October 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Everett was 1 win better than a replacement player which meant he was worth a little over $4 million. The Tigers got him for $1 million. That’s a pretty good deal.

The Tigers biggest problem was the DH position where they got no defensive value and the offensive value of a middle infielder.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I disagree with those stats. Everett was a negative contributor to the team, and by a huge margin. If he contributed positively by ANY amount, we would have easily made the playoffs. Your metric must be flawed. I don’t use the bogus generic replacement formulas/concept or VORP methods. Yes I’m familiar with them and I’ve heard MANY experts brag about how effective they are, but I’m convinced that they are wrong and they are touting on about logically flawed statistics. That’s not to say all VORP methods are inaccurate, but there are many variations, and most that I have seen have serious flaws in the design of their formulas that don’t produce an output that is consistent with what they are described to do.

I don’t know what formulas or inputs you are using, but if you have come up with a conclusion that Everett is a +1 and worth $4M, then I’m not on board with whatever you are using or what your methods are. I have my own methods that I stand by that I am confident in and they are unshakably believable in my opinion that Everett is a DETRIMENTAL player.

Everett was so bad, that he wouldn’t have been a value to this team if his salary was $0.00, because he has a NEGATIVE effect on the team’s ability to win baseball games! Meaning, we were better off saving the $1M and not having him, and using that $1M to increase our 2010 budget if nothing else. Santiago is a better player overall than Everett. I’m sure you will disagree especially having used some other formula that somehow suggests Everett is worth $4M, but that is just where I stand.

billfer October 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Here is information on how win values are calculated. It’s a 7 part series that is very educational.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/glossary/#winvalues

Feel free to disagree, but don’t just say your stuff is better because it is logical. Offer up some real, tangible points where your methodology is favorable. The win value methodology above has been widely debated and discussed and through informal peer review has been determined to be a pretty decent methodology.

Opinions are welcome here. Opinions backed by facts are cherished.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 12:20 am

Speaking of who’s worth what, it seems like a good time to mention that, while I agree with Kathy that salaries are ridiculously high, when judging if a contract or good or not you have to be relative and look at what similar players would cost, etc.

And while it is a bit of a Universally Acknowledged Truth that the Inge contract was horrible, when you look at his relative production and what other players were making, it’s just not a bad contract, it really isn’t. If he were a FA right now and we had to sign him, we’d have to pay him more than 6.6 million.

Heck, if you go with the WAR value billfer pointed to above, Inge has been “worth” $24 MIL so far over the life of the $24 MIL contract–in other words if he is worthless next season (hush, stephen!) we come out even.

At any rate, when you look at the 3rd base market (free agents and potential trades, I’m not counting prospects), our best bet is to hope those knee surgeries go well…

The current list of probably FA 3rd basemen:
Juan Uribe SF
Craig Counsell MIL
Chone Figgins LAA (B)
Jerry Hairston NYY (B)
Mike Lamb MIL
Troy Glaus STL (A)
Geoff Blum HOU
Melvin Mora * BAL (B)
Adrian Beltre SEA (B)
Joe Crede MIN
Mark DeRosa STL (B)
Pedro Feliz * PHI

Only the 1st 3 even had a higher WAR than Inge last season; of those one was a part-time player (Uribe) and one will probably retire (Counsell). That leaves Figgins; but I’m guessing he’ll be looking for at least Scott Rolen money ($10 MIL)…

If we trade for a 3B, look at some of the contracts we’d have to deal with next season:

Ryan Zimmerman 6.25
Evan Longoria 0.95
Kevin Youkilis 9.13
Casey Blake 6.00
David Wright 10.00
Scott Rolen 11.00
Chipper Jones 13.00
Michael Young 16.00
Aramis Ramirez 15.75
Alex Rodriguez 32.00

(The above are the 2010 salaries of all the 3B who had a higher WAR than Inge. I’m going on the assumption we would want to replace him with somebody better).

Sure it would be great to get Longoria…we could start with Porcello and Sizemore and then start adding stuff…

Of all the guys on this list, I’d take Inge at 6.60 mil over ever one of them except Zimmerman and maybe Youklis (and, obviously, Longoria).

Really, the Inge contract was not a bad contract.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 2:01 am

Inge isn’t the most horrible contract on the team, I agree. But we have a lot of bad/iffy contracts, so it’s not a good group to look at his contract favorably. I want a team with ZERO bad contracts, and that is a tough standard, but it is possible, and so I won’t tolerate anything that I don’t like, even though Inge’s contract isn’t as bad as relative as others.

Also, I don’t agree with the WAR estimation that Inge has been worth his contract. That’s just not accurate in my estimation, and that’s primarily because he has been overly negligent at the plate on too many occasions. And 3B is generally a position of BIG dollars if you have a BIG player there, and if we want to be a competitive team in the WS run, then we need a REAL bonafide threat there. And Inge is just not that. So that is a position that WE MUST SKEW TOWARDS THE HIGH END of guys, because our infield and overall offense is so void of talent, so that’s one of the best spots that we SHOULD be spending to get a great hitting talent.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Like real estate, players salaries have become highly inflated, imo. After watching Adam Everett for a year, I can honestly say I like him as a player and a person, his personality is congenial……but not 4 million dollars worth. That’s just my opinion, though.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Billfer,

Could you just list the specific equations, and show them for Everett and with Santiago in contrast please?

TSE October 26, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I wouldn’t pay him 1 cent. I’d rather play Santiago full time who is a better overall player, hands down. Oh and Santiago is only 825k.

And if we replaced all of Everett’s time with Santiago’s numbers in 2009, we WOULD have made the playoffs last year, but that’s according to my interpretations of the math, so sorry, I can’t prove it to satisfy the skeptics. Plus, Santiago had a down year from what I was projecting, so he disappointed ME to some extent, but not enough that we would have missed the playoffs if Everett was as good of a baseball player as Santiago.

Everett is a nice guy, I have read a lot about him and he sounds like a real cool guy and good person, and rumor has it he has the hottest wife on the team. I can appreciate those things, I just don’t appreciate his baseball value, and I would never have a guy on my team with that bad of a bat taking so many atbats, unless he could field at 100%, which is not practical.

Eric Cioe October 27, 2009 at 12:15 am

What do you mean, field at 100%? There you go with fielding percentage again.

Here’s a fact: Adam Everett is a better fielder than Ramon Santiago. It’s not even close. Adam Everett doesn’t hit the ball as well but he saves more runs with his glove (go look it up, the information is public and free at fangraphs.com) than Santiago gains with his bat. That’s why Everett is more valuable. A run is a run is a run, doesn’t matter whether it comes on offense or defense. If you take Everett’s glove, which saved 20 runs above average this season, and replaced it with an average gloveman who hit 20 runs better, they’d be in exactly the same spot. The name of the game is runs, period. Not offensive runs. The more defensive runs you give up the more you have to get offensively. And given that defense is much cheaper than offense at the moment, and that there are probably some added benefits that good defense has over good offense (shortening innings), it makes sense to build teams that can field the ball. You can’t punt offense but you can say that the offense is going to come from left field, first base, and especially DH.

You want to improve the team? Get a league average DH. It doesn’t matter how bad he fields. There is no excuse to have a spot that only requires one skill to end up 20 runs below average on the season. That’s a much easier fix than getting rid of Everett to get a guy who fields as well as he does and hits better, because unless you count Jack Wilson’s very, very marginally better bat, he doesn’t exist.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 12:31 am

It depends on what you’re comparing it to…I agree it’s hard to think of Adam Everett being worth $4 mil, but think of it on the Ham Sandwich Scale:

If Edgar Renteria is worth 2 yrs at $18.5 mil (his current contract), how much is Adam Everett worth? Tell me with a straight face you think half-an-Edgar is worth more than a whole Everett…

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 12:34 am

“unless he could field at 100%, which is not practical.”

Actually, I would think that someone who could do that would be very practical indeed. The Tigers should look into signing such a person.

Kathy October 27, 2009 at 12:46 am

As a shrewd shopper, I wouldn’t pay Everett 4 million dollars in a million years. I’d be getting my ducks in a row before it came to that. I’d also put Santiago in there in a NY minute and save myself about 3 million. If money is tight you can’t be thinking what’s comparable. You don’t have the luxury to think like that.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 2:05 am

Well that’s a complex question. For one, Renteria had a REALLY bad year in 2009, so if we backtrack to not having this present information, that’s a whole different argument.

For a career, Renteria is a MUCH MUCH better overall player than Everett. I will state that for a certainty. Who is overpaid? Well they both are, 100%, absolutely. I didn’t like Renteria when he was here, and I was really pissed off when we signed him. I’m not really interested in saying anything good about Renteria, cause I don’t want to mislead anybody into thinking that my position is to not trash DD for that transaction as well. It’s just another example of blown money and a blown opportunity to get better.

I like guys that are young and cheap and have upside, or vets that are proven to be worth something. Tejada is a guy I want, because he is proven. Although his age is a big turn off now, but there’s nobody on the FA market comparable to him, and we are MAJORLY DESPERATE for a SS, so I have no choice but to hope Tejada still has enough in the tank. If I’m going to to lose on a gamble, then I’m going to lose on gambling on Tejada, but I sure as hell am not gambling on Everett or Renteria or Guillen if I have MY choice and am able to spend money to improve the club.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 2:17 am

I really have to give kudos to Kathy for her comments as of late. She’s making some very strong and poignant comments that are really fantastic. She seems to be quickly figuring out ways to save millions of dollars in just a matter of hours. Keep it up Kathy and you might be able to be a baseball GM one day. Keep in mind the Tigers had something like a $120MM payroll to the Marlins payroll of $40MM. We’re almost there, only $80MM of waste money left to trim!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to win at baseball. It just takes a master of logic/game theory, or somebody who is a supermarket shopping expert that also remembers to bring coupons. Managing a baseball team is a thinking man’s game or a sensible shopper’s game. Take your pick, either can work.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Well, Dombrowski, “will you stand there like a house by the side of the road and watch it go by” or are you willing to gamble a little bit?

TSE October 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Well DD probably won’t even get to decide. The trades that I dream of are probably going to be tough, because all of the guys on our team that we could or should be trading, all inconveniently have very high salaries that are more than their statistical worth. So the only way we can make a trade is if we find a dumb trading partner that lets us take advantage of them, or if we give up lots of money in the process to make things even.

Other than trading, FAs cost money, so any way you slice that, we now need more money, and that’s only up to Illitch, not DD. And if I was to give advice to Illitch, I would advise him not to give ANY more money to DD, because ever since DD has been a member of the Tigers, I have disagreed with his moves and his expenditures. I don’t think he is a shrewd shopper and the last thing I want is to see the Tigers fall into a deep hole for a very long period of time by having DD mismanage the money some more. I would ask Illitch to either spend money as I approve it, or hire a new GM that makes prudent decisions before he starts spending money that reinforces a losing strategy.

Not only that, but the way that Leyland mismanages the team, we also don’t get full bang for our buck on what our players are worth collectively. So until we can secure that Leyland is willing to look at the game differently and work out his tactical kinks, we really should wait until we have that portion fixed before making additional investments, so that we can gain a higher yield from our investments, which will support a winning strategy as well as encourage future spending when it proves to work out, as oppose to discouraging future spending when things don’t work out, as they currently won’t.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm

You said the magic words “shrewd shopper”. Now that is something, and I never brag about myself, that I am an expert at. That is my addiction. For years, I’ve had people ask me how I do it and ask me to do it for them. I can sniff out a bargain with the best. Part of it is loving to shop, having good taste and discerning value. I shop even when I’m not shopping. It doesn’t require a lot of money to be a shrewd shopper. It’s easier if you have more versus less money, but the results can still be very, very good.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Well the way you talk you could be on my staff that’s for sure! I’ve been called “cheap” all my life, but I prefer the term “thrifty”, or “intelligent”. :)

If I was a billionaire I would still buy the Meijer brand of cola as opposed to Coke or Pepsi, just out of the principle that I show favoritism to good values. I don’t believe the percentage increase of price of Pepsi over Meijer brand is equal to the difference in taste or quality. If it was one penny more expensive, maybe, but more than a couple pennies puts the debate well out of reach for me.

So when you look at it from a baseball mngmt example, it’s the same thing. So if you overspend on a guy like Dontrelle Willis or Brandon Inge, or Magglio to some extent, then that money comes out of the budget for getting a better SS than Everett, etc. etc. It’s the totality of the worth of all of the players combined that you need to look at and see the big picture of, and that’s what DD has a problem with. He goes down too many dead-end paths that restrict his flexibility, and he winds up with too many constraints, and too much dead money that doesn’t yield a high ROI.

Really, the game of baseball isn’t automatically won by who spends the most money, it is won by the team that has the most favorable relationship of the variables within the product of (ROI x dollars spent). The quantity of dollars spent is only half the equation, and the Tigers kick butt on that half of the formula. But they shoot themselves in the foot with bad transactions of weak ROI, and bad gameday tactics that destroy it even further. The combo of those two shortcomings wipe out the entire value and advantage of spending big bucks.

Let’s go back to a math analogy. We all learned in school the tricks and power of multiplying something by 0. If you have a formula with 10 pieces to it all multiplied against each other, and you throw a 0 into one of those, then everything is automatically wiped out. The Tigers are in a sense doing something of a similar nature, although from a math theory standpoint it isn’t a true zero for absolute zero result, rather it is a zero that is more of a negative anchor that drags down the entire process. You can do anything you want to modify a boat’s equipment and enhance the crew, but if you voluntarily choose to have an anchor deployed, you are going to have a hell of a time figuring out how to circumvent that disadvantage. Perhaps it is theoretically possible to still win, but I say that concocting a solution to that problem is just way too unlikely to do. Why won’t we just try to invent a cure for cancer by throwing darts randomly? Sure it could work one out of a gazillion tries, but it’s a waste of time and energy to fool around with that kind of nonsense. Just close shop on those kind of schenanigans and start a new business and just manage it the right way. If the Tigers played their cards right, and continued being willing to spend money, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be auto-dominating this division on a consistent basis. We had no business coming within even 5, maybe 10 games of the Twins on the season, yet we still did just that.

Kathy October 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Being close minded is one of the most difficult traits to get anyone to see, let alone to admit to. Jim Leland is close-minded although he would never agree with my opinion. Not all older people are stubborn and close-minded, but Jim is. Not sure if he can ever overcome that or even wants to. But your conversation has inspired me to start looking at the team in a different way.

TSE October 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Great, glad to hear it Kathy! Anytime I can inspire people is a good day. The only reason I bother to post this stuff is to do just that, open people’s eyes and make them aware of the injustices that imprison us.

I have lived my whole life in Michigan, and I’m more passionate about the Tigers and the Lions than anything else, and I know there is a lot of other people out there that feel they have been patient long enough to deserve a winner. All we need to do to make ourselves winners is to just simply open our eyes, use our minds, and claim success. It’s not that hard, and not doing so is just a shame when millions of people are depending on you to not only do your job, but to do your job with excellence. It’s one thing if you go to McDonalds and have a bad experience where the cook forgets to give you extra pickles, cause those jobs are a dime a dozen and they aren’t paid highly enough to warrant exemplary service. But there is only one GM role, and that role should go to somebody who darned well deserves it and can produce. Anything less is just sad and unnecessary, and a slap in the face to the fans and to the community.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 1:19 am

But that’s exactly the point Kathy: Everett is “worth” $4mil, but we DIDN’T pay him that–we paid him $1mil. In other words, shrewd shopping, no?

Whereas Renteria is “worth” a ham sandwich, and we paid him $8mil (and gave up Jurrjens). Compulsive binge shopping? And the Giants actually raised us a million, and for 2 years…I have no words for that…

TSE October 27, 2009 at 2:11 am

But EVERETT IS NOT WORTH $4M , that is what Billfer said, and he was WAY WAY WRONG. It’s one of the biggest discrepancies of being wrong in sports I have seen in a LONG time. Heck, the Tigers, who have such a bass-ackwards way of looking at things paid Everett at $1M. What does that suggest to you? The Tigers, who I claim are VASTLY overrating his value, paid him $1M, now he’s worth $4M????!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT!?!?!?!?

He’s not CLOSE TO WORTH $1M!?!?!

Santiago, on the other hand, is worth WELL OVER $1M, and makes only $825k, that’s why HE is the value, and Everett is pure waste money.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 9:02 am

I suppose its a lost cause at this point, but is there any chance of you showing evidence of why Everett isn’t worth his $1m salary or $4m WAR, other than his low SLG%?

TSE October 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Not really any easy way I can do that without making a mini-homework assignment out of it along with a long and detailed explanation of how I arrived at that. I’ve spent the last 200 days complaining about Everett and stating reasons why I don’t want him on the team. I think it’s a little bit overkill to have to continue piling on the guy, and really I think it should be pretty obvious just how awful he is. Let me ask you this question, you do realize how much money the Tigers spent this year right? Do you not agree that our pitching and defense were pretty darn good this year? So why do you think we didn’t make the playoffs? If you said lack of hitting, well then look at the atbat counts of all the Tigers, and for guys that had large numbers of atbats, who do YOU think did the worst? This path should lead you to pointing to Everett and Laird. So if the team had relatively good pitching and defense and we had a lack of offense that was the key problem (which DD already figured out and stated), then can you name more players on the team that did worse as hitters that had a lot of atbats than Everett and Laird? That should help you see why he doesn’t belong here at least from intuition.

I just asked Billfer to provide the equations and numbers that show how Everett is worth $4M and the same for Santiago. I don’t know what formulas he’s using or where these numbers are coming from, but if he replies to that question, then I can show you how it is flawed. If he produces the numbers, I PROMISE you I will show you how and why that formula is flawed in design and why the numbers are skewed to show that Everett is worth $4M. That will be very telling once I can expose the flaws in these formulas, so that should help as well.

billfer October 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Here it is the full methodology again:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/glossary/#winvalues

TSE October 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I need the numbers and the formulas side by side for Santiago and Everett if I’m going to show you how to debunk their formula.

RPS October 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I have a personal player evaluation metric that says that Adam Everett was worth $267,810,090.22 last year. Traditional metrics like WAR all ignore his league-leading 116.8 CRM, and his historically high specific gravity of 19.3. That’s right, he’s made entirely of 24-Karat gold! That’s why he’s so denty!

See, I can make stuff up too! And it’s the internet, so there’s no consequences! What a time to be alive!

Seriously, bud, come with the numbers and logic or take this garbage to St. Elsewhere.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm

“If you said lack of hitting, well then look at the atbat counts of all the Tigers, and for guys that had large numbers of atbats, who do YOU think did the worst? This path should lead you to pointing to Everett and Laird.”

That same path is also completely devoid of surprise. Hint – Everett and Laird were signed for their defense, and little else. They were known to be weak bats prior to their signing. On the other hand, players such as Ordonez, Guillen, and Thames are all known (although not all exclusively so) as offensive players, and the Tigers were counting on them for their offense. The fact that these three either didn’t, or weren’t able to, contribute the level of production that was expected of them has much more to do with the overall lack of offense.

“Let me ask you this question, you do realize how much money the Tigers spent this year right?”

Its odd that you seemingly recognize the financial situation the Tigers were in, yet fail to realize the value that cheap players such as Everett and Laird were able to bring to the team with their defense.

“I just asked Billfer to provide the equations and numbers that show how Everett is worth $4M and the same for Santiago.”

I believed he linked over to a very informative primer, maybe you could check that out.

“If he produces the numbers, I PROMISE you I will show you how and why that formula is flawed in design and why the numbers are skewed to show that Everett is worth $4M.”

It’s a little known fact that sabermetrics was invented and designed solely to show that one Adam Everett is worth approximately one win more than a replacement level player at the same position.

billfer October 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I need the numbers and the formulas side by side for Santiago and Everett if I’m going to show you how to debunk their formula.

Then get them. All the stats are at fangraphs and the methodology is detailed in the 7 part series. The formulas are contained within that series (or linked to from within the series). Everything you need is contained in that link.

You are the one that is contesting what I said. I provided my supporting documentation. You come up with something that says it is wrong.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Ok nvm then. I’m not going to invest a lot of time into setting up the debunking of formulas that I know for a fact are ridiculous. I was willing to do the other posters a favor and show exactly why these formulas are flawed, but the onus shouldn’t be on me to do all the prep work. That’s a waste of my time. I’m not trying to convince myself that Everett isn’t worth $4M, I’ve already done my homework. If you guys want to accept the valuation of Everett at $4M from these goofballs that don’t know how to design formulas, then be my guest. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm

“Ok nvm then. I’m not going to invest a lot of time into setting up the debunking of formulas that I know for a fact are ridiculous.”

Oh come on. How long could it take to read a 7-part series? If I had to guess, you could probably get it done in the time it takes to write two of your typical posts.

“these goofballs that don’t know how to design formulas”

I know I’m asking a lot here, but try to humor me. What qualifications do you have in this area? We keep hearing about all the homework and math you’ve done, but we’ve never seen it. On the other hand, these goofballs have their entire methodology and formulas available to public scrutiny. Why should we take you at your word?

TSE October 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Well I have read the 7 part series, I have read every bit of information I could find on various baseball stats and methodologies.

The problem is, I can’t show you MY work, because for one, it is entangled with stats that I have created, that are private and not open to the public, therefore some of my work is proprietary and I don’t want to serve it up just to quell a few skeptics. Secondly, the amount of stuff I could show you that would take you through the path of how I numerically would value a player like Everett would be such a process in itself to teach you and explain it to you. Look at that link, they have all that information already written and they don’t even have an OE% stat like I do that I created which would ALSO need explaining. I would have to type up a similar presentation to show you my work that it would take a LONG time. If I was going to do that, I would just set up my own site or blog and do it for everybody, but I’m not going to go through an incredibly long process of teaching you my baseball statistical methods just to satisfy a comment buried deep in this blog!

Next, I don’t want to play with their formulas and use their formulas to show how they are wrong. How do I know that after I debunk them, I’m not then told that I didnt’ set it up properly. Billfer made a claim that Everett was worth $4M under THIS system, and I want to see that backed up. If he doesn’t want to back that up or show how his claim is true, then that’s fine with me. My hands are tied, I can’t do anything from here that wouldn’t be an excessively long project to show you and teach you everything I know about baseball, and it’s not my place to setup his $4M claim for him. Show me the numbers, and I’ll show you why they are wrong. If you don’t want to show them then that’s fine too.

Why should you take my word? I don’t have any great reason that will satisfy you in that regard. I guess you’d have to get to know me. I have posted tens of thousands of posts randomly throughout the Internet regarding baseball/football strategies, so if you haven’t happened to absorb my material, then it’s pretty hard to know a lot about me since I’m not a public figure or somebody that has his own blog. I don’t know what I could say in a post right here right now that would convince you to adopt everything I say as the Holy Grail of Baseball. So to answer your question, I don’t know.

billfer October 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Let’s put a stop to this now. For those that don’t know TSE participated in another forum last offseason. It was the exact same scenario that plays out: “my numbers are great, your numbers are garbage, I can’t prove yours are garbage because I don’t want to, I won’t prove mine are good because I don’t care what you think and I’m waiting to show DD”

TSE – Everett was .9 WAR. A marginal win costs $4.5 million. Therefore he is worth about $4 million. He was -17.9 batting runs and he was 8.9 fielding runs. A replacement player with the same playing time is 13.3 runs plus a 5.5 run positional adjustment and you have a player that is 9.4 runs above replacement which is .9 wins. There are the numbers TSE. They are all on his stat page at fangraphs. I gave you a link to the methodology. Either debunk it or knock it off.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I don’t know what you mean by “knocking it off”. If you are talking about my opinion that Everett isn’t worth anywhere close to $4M, well I’m not going to knock it off. That’s my belief and I am sticking to it. I disagree with your opinion on his worth and I disagree as to the validity of the numbers you posted that support your case. Forget about my numbers, my numbers aren’t important to this particular issue. I’m not asking you to accept my methodologies. I’m only trying to dispute the numbers you have brought to the table. That is an independent argument and you don’t need numbers or methodologies from me in order for me to take a proper position that THOSE numbers aren’t valid.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm

“I’m not asking you to accept my methodologies. I’m only trying to dispute the numbers you have brought to the table. That is an independent argument and you don’t need numbers or methodologies from me in order for me to take a proper position that THOSE numbers aren’t valid.”

No, but you’re taking a position against numbers and formulas that are pretty widely validated by the sabermertic community. These formulas and metrics are publicly available and easily found in the various links Billfer’s posted, among many others. Your arguments generally boil down to “i’ve written about this for years all over the place, i’m not going to repeat myself here”…which is fine, but for a guy saying that he doesn’t have time to disprove information widely available/accessible, do you seriously expect us to fish around the internet for various TSE comments?

I’m sure you’ve got tons of great logic in that big brain of yours that backs up your opinions…don’t hide that talent under a bushel basket, show off that genius of yours and enlighten us all.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm

There’s no practical way of explaining all of my baseball theories w/o setting up a similar blog. I understand very well that the majority of the formulas you guys toss around are widely accepted. I just don’t subscribe to these formulas and to the value of those formulas to the same degree that others do. I have at one point or another looked at every formula and stat that exists that I have been able to find over the Internet, and I think the vast majority of them are FLAWED for one reason or another, or they are MISUNDERSTOOD, or in some cases not APPLIED or INTERPRETED correctly.

If I were to write a 300 page book summarizing all of my thoughts and rationale then that would be very convenient, but I don’t know what you want from me that will put you at ease. If YOU are fine with all of those formulas and you trust yourself on how to use them, then great, that’s fantastic. I just have a different outlook and opinion on the matter. The best thing most of those other stats have going for them, is the power of the recognition they have from their own marketing of them along with the lack of competition from people that want to go out of their way to publish invaluable stats that they come up with to compete with those stats.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm

TSE,

Again with the “it would take me too long to explain it to you” argument. Here’s an idea, start small: pick one stat, or an element of a stat that you disagree with and prove a point. Its just silly for you to keep talking about all the math and numbers you’ve crunched that show that Guillen is hands down a better choice at SS than Everett and not show ANY proof.

“I don’t know what you want from me that will put you at ease. ”

Less you?

TSE October 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Well that’s what I was trying to do with Billfer. Bring a stat of your choosing and supply the formula and any other relevant details, and tell me what you like about it and how you use it and I’d be more than happy to comment on it and tell you why I don’t like it and why it is flawed, if it is indeed flawed. Otherwise I’ll endorse it.

billfer October 28, 2009 at 5:21 am

Stop with the schtick and prolonging this crap. You “PROMISED” you’d debunk the “goofballs” so debunk them already. But you can’t so instead you just write paragraphs on end.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I don’t know the exact formulas offhand, as well as which statistics you want me to debunk as a LOT of different stats have been thrown around in discussion here, thus I don’t know how to proceed.

I’m not sure why you seem to be giving me such a hard time. I’m just trying to offer insight to a game that is very misunderstood, that’s why I find baseball to be so fascinating, cause it’s a very complex game under the surface.

I have been harped on in forums before for long “walls of text”, so if these posts are too much for you then and I’m not wanted here, then feel free to ask me to leave and I will oblige. I don’t want to screw up your blog and detract from what you are trying to do if you deem my posts to not be helpful. No hard feelings here if you would prefer that I don’t post on your blog.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm

TSE,

That’s cool then, I’ll just take your word on it.

Billfer,

Guess you should stop using WAR, maybe even close up shop ;)

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 2:42 am

Slightly different contexts perhaps explains it, but you seem to be taking all sides of the argument while simultaneously claiming everybody else is wrong (which are you doing, saving money or shelling out for Tejada and lord knows what 3B?).
So who would you prefer, Everett at 1mil or Renteria at 8? If “neither” isn’t a choice?

And would you rather have Figgins at 12 mil+ or Inge at 6.6? Because that might be relevant. Or is that answer too proprietary?

TSE October 27, 2009 at 2:53 am

Well I am NOT a fan of Figgins, so let’s start with the $12M and rule that our right now.

If I have to pick between Everett at 1M or Rent at 8M, well I pick Everett, cause I waste less money. I would be more inclined to give Everett 1M and burn him at a stake before I would give Renteria 8M. However, I would also almost rather take a flier on Brent Dlugach to play SS. He had a nice .446 SLG to Everett’s .351 this year. That’ll make up for the defense!

Now, granted those numbers were in the minors, and Dlugach is probably more than likely to not be a good player, but that’s just my way of trying to say I’d rather pull a shotgun to my head before I would ever entertain having a guy like Everett on my baseball team. There is no way I would ever get stuck with Everett. I’d rather play suicide ball with Dlugach and get laughed at when it certainly blows up in my face before I would accept 100% absolute certain statistical defeat with going with a guy like Everett. At least with Dlugach, I would have something greater than a 0% chance of a miracle performance, kind of like the one Avila delivered at one point.

Now, don’t jump on me for anointing Dlugach as the starter, I don’t want him as the starter AT ALL! I’m merely using Dlugach to put my dislike of Everett into perspective. And in all honesty, if we could redo the entire 2009 season with Dlugach in place of Everett, one thing’s for sure, we miss the playoffs with Everett, and we still have SOME chance, albeit a small chance, if we go with Dlugach, plus we save money.

It’s funny how sometimes a silly idea like letting Dlugach play can actually make more sense in hingsight when you have nothing to lose. And that’s what makes a good baseball manager, is having a guy that has the FORESIGHT to know when we are making a BAD PLAY and then WORKING to find an ALTERNATIVE to certain disaster, which is what Everett and Laird were. Heck, Laird was AWESOME on defense moreso than we expected, and he STILL was a complete failure overall as a baseball contributor to wins.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

And nobody is arguing relevant career worths. As a putatative GM, you know this–past results are not guarantees of future performance. Players suffer age and injury like other mortals; their performance can decline. Their were enough warning signs about Renteria in 08 to make his 09 entirely predictable. And you also are aware I’m sure that you have to play angles and take some chances. Everett was’t had for 1 mil because he’s crap, it’s because he was coming off of surgery–which is also how we got Maggs (and which is why his contract was more fair than people realize; the deal was we take a chance on him and he on us; if his knee is sound and he performs, we pay him more later…in case it’s not we pay less on the front end,). I don’t know about 4 mil, but NO WAY anybody gets him for 1 mil next season, because now everybody knows he’s sound.

I take those WAR value numbers with a huge grain of salt. BUT the intention isn’t to claim actual value, it’s to rank–in other words, take all the shortstops, take their WAR values, take their salearies, divide, and you have a sense of how much you’re paying per run created, and who is a bargain relative to the others. When used to compare it seems useful. In other words if you put aside “Everett is worth 4mil” and think more in terms of Everett is worth more than ___, it may work better for you.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 3:17 am

Yeah I see what you are saying and you raise good points. But those points don’t favor Everett IMO. For one, he’s no spring chicken, he’s 32, not totally old, but he’s not Cabrera age or Utley age. He also had a TERRIBLE SLG of .323 the year before, and .318 the year before that, .352 the year before that (WOW MUCH BETTER but still CRAP), and overall his career is .351 not counting this year which didn’t reduce it by much.

If other teams think he’s worth more money, then that is music to my ears. That is exactly why baseball is such an easy-peazy game to win at if you have a sound logical/math/stats mind and are willing to spend money. The vast majority of GMs in MLB are incompetent with respect to the value of their job and the quantity of dollars they get paid. It’s a game of incredulous inept mismanagement, and as smart as you are on the opposing side, their incompetence only magnifies your own gains. I dont care if you survey 100 baseball professionals in a row and all 100 say they want Everett on their team. Great for me, then I guess you want to also trade me for Gerald Laird then huh? He’s great at defense and a lousy hitter too, he plays cheap, what can I get for him?

Nice to meet you by the way, can I buy you a steak dinner while we negotiate?

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 3:25 am

Sorry for spelling/typo issues…still haven’t figured out how to edit posts on an Eye Phone.
(Their? OMG!)

TSE October 27, 2009 at 3:37 am

No biggie to me, I do it all the time. I own a couple of businesses and I swear I don’t make any typos when talking to clients at least. ;) I will never hit the send button until I have re-read any message I have typed, but on informal Internet chats it is totally excusable to have typos or technical grammar errors.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 3:38 am

Well I’ll take the steak dinner (well I know that’s not what you meant, but, hey, free steak dinner, so why not venture it?)

it occurs to me I would make a good GM, but unfortunately I have higher, more secret aspirations…which even Genius/Cheerleader/Duck Hunter Kathy would never guess…

TSE October 27, 2009 at 3:52 am

The steak dinner is yours as well as any other material desires that your heart fancies. The only thing I ask in return is that you bring the authority to offer me a trade for Gerald Laird with something of value similar to the way you overestimate Everett’s value. Who else can I trade off of our team? I am willing to trade ALL of our players methinks.

Oh, I’ll also need full GM powers on behalf of the Tigers to complete the trade! ;)

Also, steak is good, but my favorite food is sushi by the way. If you live in Michigan, have you ever gone to Fuji at 14/John R? It has a sweet value all-you-can-eat sushi buffet for about $20. I eat there 2-3 times a week. :)

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 4:31 am

Well, thanks for the tip, but in order to meet your requirements I’m going to have to channel all 3 of the Stooges, so patience, please.

As far as sushi goes, I’m cuurently stranded in the SF Bay area, so, no worries there…and, truth be told, I have a weakness for Italian food, but what can I do, being of Irish descent and all.

(By the way, all this is true, but in general it’s best not to believe what I say…I’m still feeling guilty for convincing David that I was a retired seamstress…)

Mike from Florida October 27, 2009 at 8:07 am

I agree w/Guillen about Leyland’s lineups. Said it before, players can’t become “a team” with all of this platooning. There’s no sense in it and it causes unrest and doubt in the players. The Tigers have too many good infielders, too few good outfielders and way too few good relief pitchers. And they’re lacking a 4th and 5th starting pitcher. 3 third basemen (Inge, Cabrera and Guillen), 2 shortstops, 3 second basemen (Polonco, Santiago and Sizemore if ready), and a bunch of outfielders with only Granderson and Mags cutting the mustard.
My EVERYDAY lineup would be:
1. Santiago SS
2. Polonco 2B
3. Mags RF
4. Cabrera 1B
5. Guillen DH (just not good/healthy enough tp play full time in field and Switch Hitter protects Cabrera
6. Avila C
7. Inge 3B
8. Granderson CF until he gets it in his head to be a line drive hitter or ground ball hitter on turf. Should be doing 25 pushups like Wesley Snipes (Major League) whenever he pops up
9. New fast, furious, high BA, low strikeout, high base stealer in LF

Trade Raeburn, Thomas, Thames, Laird, Rodney and others for starting pitcher, relief pitchers and ONE utility player. Keep good prospects in AAA and AA until they learn to slam a curve ball and slider.
On Carlos’ Achillees tendon, I hope he isn’t among the thousands prescribed Levaquin or Cipro for respiratory infection. I was on Cipro in 2006 and ended up with Achillees tendonitis and ruptured the outer biceps tendon on my right arm. Class action lawsuits for these drugs that now come with a 5 page warning sheet about these conditions and general tendon inflamation. Mine happened within a month of each other. Took over 9 months for Achillees to heal.
Have you watched the Yankee games? Only changes are at catcher and that ends up being high conversation. The Rotatin’ Tigers wouldn’t have stood a chance against this stable team lineup!

RPS October 27, 2009 at 11:30 am

My brain hurts in so many ways right now.

Coleman October 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Well he already explained his methodology is proprietary, and he has his reasons for keeping it so. Fair enough.

I wonder, though, how wise it is in that light to post opinions online–surely there’s a danger the methodology could be reverse-engineered from all the opinions, no?

Kathy October 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm

OK, I went to fangraphs and printed out Everett’s and Santiago’s stats. Not a whole lot of difference as far as these eyes can see. Perhaps, I’m not looking at the same graphs and stats that some are talking about, but I just don’t see Adam Everett being that much of an upgrade over Santiago.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I think most of the debate was centering around Guillen vs Everett.

If you are comparing the other two, Everett isn’t a huge upgrade over Santiago (WAR-wise): .9 vs .4 respectively (although that is a swing of $2m, if you believe in that kind of thing)…but even if he’s not a huge upgrade, he’s only making $125k more.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Well Guillen has better career numbers and production than Santiago overall if you look at both defense and offense. I was just using Santiago as an example, because it gives more of a chance for Everett to not get as demolished statistically, and Santiago is in the same pay range as Everett. But Guillen is aces over both if you were to throw his hat into the ring and were to do a similar comparison.

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm

TSE,

Player A (268 ab): .276 avg/.372 obp/.451 slg/44 runs/10 hr/ 43 rbi
Player B (277 ab): .242 abg/.339 obp/.419 slg/36 runs/11 hr/ 41 rbi

Who would you rather have in LF next year?

TSE October 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Depends, what are the age differences of the players, the salaries, their defensive skills…, well can I have access to ALL information that exists on these players? How many times as a GM of a team am I going to have to make a mystery decision based upon only a portion of information?

Andre in Chi October 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I wasn’t aware that defense was part of your equation. What defensive metric will you accept as valid, and how will that factor into your overall rating of the player? I’m not going to divulged that kind of information to just anyone…after all, I’m meeting DD next week, wouldn’t want somebody to beat me to the punch.

Just kidding!

Player A is a free agent but made $14m last year, Player B will make $13m this year. Player A is significantly worse defensively…I’d say he’s -12.2 runs, but that’s one of those “goof ball” stats. For the sake of comparison though, Player B is only -3.0 runs. Both players are well over 30 yrs old.

TSE October 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Not enough information. Just tell me who the players are. I’m not interested in guessing at who I would want based upon most of the information, I want ALL the information, everything that is public record on these players. If you provide me their names then I will dig around for the rest of their stats and tell you who I prefer.

RPS October 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

Why do I have a sinking feeling that TSE is actually Randy Smith?

But seriously folks, stop feeding the troll and he goes away. Before you respond to him, ask yourself, “What good will this do? Will this help him see the light, or just provoke another giant barrage of ALL CAPS, circular “logic”, and !!??!?!?!??!!?”.

Andre in Chi October 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

Actually I think TSE is actually a manifestation of one of Billfer’s split personalities…like a bizarro, anti-Billfer if you will. A version that eschews mathematical proof, as well as insight. The sooner Bill gets back on the meds, the sooner TSE goes away.

Shane Trapped in Toledo October 28, 2009 at 11:59 am

No, in the end The Strategy Expert is just going to try to sell you something. He baits, then talks about his “great formula” that can never be revealed for fear of us stealing it, and then he tries to sell some online game he is involved with. He did the same thing over at Motown Sport and other Tigers message boards. He is a pitchman.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm

What am I trying to sell? I have nothing to sell here and no way to even ask for a donation. If I wanted donations I would offer up a way for you to give them to me, but I don’t see money. I’m just giving my opinion away for free for anybody that wants it, that’s all. Besides, I don’t need money, I own multiple businesses and I’m doing quite well in that regard. I have more money than I know what to do with, so I don’t need donations.

Andre in Chi October 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

He also has many leather-bound books, and his apartment smells of rich mahogany.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I have a nice house, but you will be hard pressed to find anybody that has less trinkets and material objects. I don’t possess unnecessary bling, I’m very anti-materialistic. People that have given me artwork as gifts over the years I don’t even showcase in my home. I don’t need that stuff, I just give it away, I’m not into decor and flash and image, just the stuff that really counts and serves a purpose. I keep my walls bare on purpose, that’s how I like ‘em, plain and undisturbed.

Coleman October 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I think you’re confusing him with Alex Avila.
Actually, I take that back. It’s Kevin in Dallas I believe, the man of leather-bound books and apartment decor of rich mahogany…

Jeff Molby October 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Why do I have a sinking feeling that TSE is actually Randy Smith?

lol, them’s fightin’ words!

TSE October 28, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Randy Smith?! I’m the exact opposite of Randy Smith. He was a failed baseball GM because he didn’t know how to logically build a baseball team. It’s the same thing I’m complaining about with the Tiger’s current mngmt, which is making all the same mistakes. We, as a team, need to learn to correct failed strategies of the past, and modulate our strategies going forward.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Where on this entire page have I used circular logic? I don’t do that. I have a great deal of respect for the art of logic and I take it seriously and use it properly and methodically at all times.

Kathy October 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I signed up at realgm, so I hope we can chit-chat there once in a while. I enjoy your logic. There also isn’t one blog I can recall that doesn’t argue about statistics and which set they prefer. While numbers don’t lie, unless they are manipulated, they are just one way of showing results or predicting performance.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Well that’s great Kathy, I’m very happy to hear about your enjoyment, the pleasure is all mine.

Very true indeed, and once again you have proven to be very wise with your acknowledgment. It is true that numbers don’t lie, which is a key attribute to my contention that most of these so-called “saber” stats aren’t wrong in actuality, rather misunderstood, as there’s so much marketing behind them on these sites that can misdirect people into defining them as being worth something slightly different than what they are actually worth.

Sometime we will come across one of these formulas and I will break it down for you and show you what I mean. But let me just make up an example. Say a saber stat finds a formula that says we should take singles x doubles x triples x homers then x 1.5 and the whole thing subtract 30 at the end, all of that divided by atbats, and we get a score from that to define the quality of a hitter. Well naturally the bigger the number the better, and there will be a connection between players that have big numbers and a status of being a good player (since really the guys at the top will be the guys that obtain the most hits). But really, what is the science behind that? And why are we multiplying the whole thing by 1.5 and what’s with taking 30 off at the end? This is obviously a senseless example, but in more astute ways I have a fundamental problem with a lot of these formulas and statistics that I see as being flawed. That doesn’t mean I would scrap them. Rather, I would MODIFY or TWEAK those formulas so that they better represent the INTENT of what they are trying to do. Some of these commonly accepted saber stats are REALLY, REALLY close to being where they should be, but close isn’t good enough for me if they can be better. IMO they can be better, and should be better.

Anyhow, I very much look forward to conversing with you in the future Kathy. You seem to have a very sharp mind, and more importantly you seem to discuss things in a logical and open-minded fashion, rather than a pre-conceived bias of negativity or fear.

billfer October 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Why not disprove an actual stat rather than a made up one if they are all wrong? What is wrong with wOBA? What are its limitations in terms of valuing a player’s offensive contributions? How should it be tweaked to that it is better?

Here is the wOBA formula: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/woba

and here is more: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/woba_year_by_year_calculations/

I find it to be the best way to measure total offensive contribution available today. I like it because of the science in how the run values of the various events are determined – that is done with empirical data. I like that the number is scaled to match OBP which makes it easy for most people to interpret. I like that it is year independent – so that the stat adjusts for eras instead of the users having to do the adjustment. I also like that it functions as a rate stat and can be converted to a counting stat so total contribution can be calculated. Those are the strengths of the stat and the elements that make it appealing.

Please tell me what is wrong with it and please do so without analogies.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Okie dokie.

Well let’s take a look…

First thing I notice right away with this stat is it’s similar to the concept of my OE%, by taking the concept of certain stats and combining the methodology from one or more stats to come up with an improved stat with a better meaning for which it is trying deliver.

I can’t thoroughly analyze the entire formula, as I don’t have enough information about the derivation of the coefficients. I see there is a reference on the formula page to a “previous section” that presumably explains his calculations for the chosen coefficients? I don’t know where that page is or how to find it. I can guess as to how he arrived at those numbers, but I don’t like having to guess in that regard, I’d rather just have it explained thoroughly by the author and in his own words so that I can examine all of his methods and calculations and assumptions.

I also see that he says that the result is “almost .300″, well what does that mean? Is it .300 or is it .299 or is it .295, what’s the margin of error when he says “almost”? I don’t like particularly care for when an author, who may or may not have the same opinion as me in regards to what is considered fair rounding or estimation for accuracy, just assumes that I’m ok with the estimate. Just tell me the numbers so I know what kind of liberties you are taking, no reason to give the reader a possible out for not wanting to be on board.

Then, I see what he is doing with the 15% bump to compensate for the differences in the averages, but he didn’t have to do a flat 15% to each, he could have also did a weighted bump based upon the different types of hits, so I would like to know the reasoning behind the choice. Information and insight like that can help qualify the credibility of the stat when the reader can see what things the author of the stat is considering and what processes he is using so that we can verify if he is making a mistake or not. This part is just nitpicking, but I still want to be able to follow his thought process in general every step of the way. If you are going to explain how you arrived at the present design of the formula, I just like to have a more thorough and comprehensive explanation behind all of the decisions made.

All in all, I do like his formula, and I can see the relevancy of it, and the value with what he is trying to produce by modifying the traditional OBP formula. I also, sorry to say cause I know you don’t want to hear it, prefer my OE% which is similar w/respect to the methodology of changing weights around to different variables for a more accurate measure of a hitter’s worth. The difference between my OE% formula is that I have additional variables included that I feel are VERY necessary for measuring offensive value.

Now there is a good reason why he is missing those other types of events, and that is because his statistic doesn’t represent the same meaning that my OE% does. My OE% is in a sense using his stat as a subset within my overall stat that includes other hitting events, which produces a value of the hitter’s totality, whereas his is what it is named after, a weighted OBP, which means something different than mine.

So the reason I prefer mine is I feel that mine is more of a one-stop-shop to determine the hitting value of a player overall, and his is really more of well a weighted OBP that doesn’t determine a hitter’s total and comprehensive value, just the majority of it.

billfer October 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for that. I’m just going to clarify some points I think you might have misinterpreted.

Where the authors mentioned other work they typically linked to it so that should provide more understanding. As for the scaling factor it is a factor that brings the total rate stat in line with OBP and is merely for interpretive purposes. The various events are already weighted appropriately so there isn’t a need to re-weight them with differing scaling factors.

In terms of including various components it includes walks, hbp, singles, doubles, triples, homers, stolen bases, outs, reached base on error, and caught stealing. Outside of more elaborate baserunning stats I’m not sure what else it could reasonably include. This isn’t just scaling OBA, it is looking at offensive events, assigning weights to them, and dividing by plate appearances to convert it to a rate stat.

While OE may weight the elements differently (and not knowing your weights I’m comfortable with the ones derived from historical data) I can’t imagine it including offensive elements that wOBA doesn’t.

TSE October 28, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Well I wouldn’t ever recommend involving any of the baserunning stuff into a stat like this, as this stat as well as my stat are more of a hitting related stat, whereas including any baserunning stats just turns it into an overall offensive stat, and I like to keep the skill of hitting and running segregated rather than mix them, as I see them as different jobs and I like to have the ability to evaluate one job at a time.

There is however, at least one important category of stats that you didn’t mention. I don’t want to point out exactly which ones those are or how many I have included, but that should point you pretty darn close to the right direction of what stuff is also included in mine. ;)

Like, let’s just throw out one hypothetical consideration. What about strikeouts? Could strikeouts be important? If a player makes an out, do you think strikeouts should be weighted differently? What does a strikeout mean? Well for one, some outs can put the ball in play to move runners around, or to get on base due to a fielding error, but at the same token they could also be causing DPs, but also strikeouts could be the function of a bad decision to swing when a walk could have occurred in it’s place. So just looking at strikeouts for example, that gives a few ideas to toss around on what that all means and whether it should be incorporated or not, and if incorporated, to what degree should it be incorporated? And what about the other types of hits or other events? Those are the types of some of the questions that I tossed and turned over for a long time before coming up with my final decisions of what I wanted my formula to look like.

Any idea what Marcus Thames wOBA is offhand?

Coleman October 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Tiger sOBA 2009
.402 Cabrera
.378 Raburn
.356 Ordonez
.340 Granderson
.329 Thames
.328 Guillen
.321 Polanco
.318 Thomas
.315 Inge
.307 Santiago
.287 Laird
.274 Everett

.327 Tigers Team (9th AL)

When you rank the team with your numbers, is the order different?

(I’m guessing Laird and Everett would be the bottom two in any offensive ranking known to modern man…)

TSE October 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Here’s my rankings, go to the 2nd list of numbers, the first post is from the All-Star break:

http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=104&t=930012

W Ramirez .679
A Avila .582
M Cabrera .515
R Raburn .503
C Grand… .450
M Thames .430
C Guillen .420
M Ordonez .410

J Larish .394
P Polanco .392
C Thomas .388
B Inge .383
A Huff .382
R Santiago .380

D Kelly .340
A Everett .315
G Laird .315
J Anderson .311
D Ryan .159
D Sardinha .035

TSE October 28, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Interesting to see that Ordonez is the one that seems to be the biggest discrepancy between the two lists.

Oh and I can think of one category that I would rank Everett and Laird favorably in. They are both good bunters! I have mad respect for their bunting skills, the two best on the team actually! Which sadly pisses me off even more on all the times that Leyland could have played to their strengths and used them to bunt more instead of swinging away. :(

Coleman October 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Wow, your method really takes Ordonez down a few pegs…the rest are in the same order as wOBA ranking, although the gaps may be bigger or smaller (I left out the players without many PAs like Ramirez, Avila, etc).

TSE October 28, 2009 at 11:34 pm

it might be interesting to edit the other players in, just to see the nature of the gaps in comparison to the other list, but not really that important.

And I have determined that there are one or a couple of categories that cost Ordonez pts on my list that would differentiate from the other formula. I don’t really want to point out exactly what those might be and give anything away that specifically, but you could dig around and come up with some theories that would suggest what that might be. Although I won’t tell you if you are correct or not. ;)

This is part of the reason why I created this formula in the first place, because while there will naturally be a correlation between good players and any offensive stats that favor good players, the differences of points aren’t perfectly uniform from one metric to another, and if you have a more accurate metric, then you can make better decisions that affect the whole team, not only with dollars on contracts and who you go after, but PH decisions for example and other things that inter-relate. And if you find an outlier, like an Ordonez, then that can be a major difference in a huge contract decision from one player to the next. Although this particular instance that Ordonez is low doesn’t mean that he’s a bad player, this also was a down year for him as a career average, so you would also want to look at career numbers and consider them as well when making a decision.

Coleman October 29, 2009 at 12:03 am

Tiger wOBA 2009:

.468 Ramirez
.407 Avila
.402 Cabrera

.378 Raburn

.356 Ordonez
.340 Larish

.340 Granderson

.329 Thames

.328 Guillen

.321 Polanco

.318 Thomas

.315 Inge

.307 Santiago
.296 Kelly
.287 Laird
.278 Anderson

.274 Everett
.257 Huff
.208 Ryan
.092 Sardinha

TSE October 29, 2009 at 12:19 am

Is that including Huff as just a Tiger, or for the full season? Mine is for the full season.

Oh and .092 for Sardinha just sounds a little high. lol ;)

Coleman October 29, 2009 at 12:36 am

That’s just Tiger-Huff.

And if you think Sardinha’s number is low, I realized I left out Treanor, who comes in with a robust wOBA of .050 (he pulled off the difficult feat of batting .000 with 1 BB in 14 PA, while grounding into 3 DPs–so in effect he created 16 outs in 14 PA…and yeah, he was trying to play with a displaced hip or something, but it’s still hard not to marvel at those numbers).

billfer October 29, 2009 at 5:25 am

Strikeouts are outs and there is a very marginal difference in their run values. This link points out that 100 strikeouts has a 1-2 run difference. You could reconfigure the formula to call them out specifically but it doesn’t really improve accuracy.

http://www.tangotiger.net/strikeout.html

There is a pretty interesting study in that article though about the impact on wOBA if players reduce their strikeouts though.

As for other elements, I honestly can’t think of anything else that happens outside of CI that happens at the plate that isn’t accounted for. There are situational stats like GIDP and SF and SH but to properly include those would mean knowing the gidp and sf and sh opportunities. If you had that you wouldn’t need wOBA or OE because now you’re talking about a PBP system (which I’m confident that OE isn’t because you wouldn’t have it calculated already because the retrosheet data isn’t available yet) and you could just calculate the run expectancy delta of each plate appearance to come up with total offensive value.

Lee Panas October 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I believe the discrepancies between wOBA and TSE’s formula are due to TSE weighting slugging stats too much. Every time I see a list of player’s OE%, it looks like it favors players with high slugging and low OBP a little more than it should.

Mark in Chicago October 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm

…which is consistent with his aversion to having Adam Everett on the team.

Stephen October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I’m not going to weigh in whether Adam Everett is worth 4m or 1m. All I know is that there’s no way the Tigers win anything with him at shortstop.

Andre in Chi October 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Other than 86 games right?

I mean, surely it was Adam holding the Tigers back from a playoff berth and not, lets say: Guillen, Huff, Polanco, and Granderson all going roughly .200 avg or lower in October.

Stephen October 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I’m pretty sure Andre you know what I mean, i.e. division titles, pennants etc.. I’m not talking about the rest of the players. You are not going to represent the American League in the World Series with a guy with an OPS+ of 60. It’s never going to happen and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A true contender is going to have too many quality players to start a one-dimensional Everett-type player. And trust me, Adam Everett is as one dimensional as Rob Deer. And an up-an-comer is going to upgrade at deadline time. Throw him a 100 ab’s and use him as a late inning replacement that’s fine. He’s a nice guy and an excellent 24th or 25th man, but he’s not a starter on a contender.

Andre in Chi October 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm

“You are not going to represent the American League in the World Series with a guy with an OPS+ of 60.”

You’re right, you need at least an OPS+ of 65 (see Julio Lugo and the 2007 RedSox).

“A true contender is going to have too many quality players to start a one-dimensional Everett-type player.”

I think this is more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than the one you mention; I mean, can there be a two-dimensional Everett-type player?

Plenty of teams get away with one-dimensional offensive players (Manny Ramirez and Paul Konerko come to mind, although they played “light” defensive positions). The reverse, it seems, should be true of one-dimensional defensive players at the “heavy” positions.

“I’m pretty sure Andre you know what I mean, i.e. division titles, pennants etc.. ”

I know what you mean here (now, it was vague enough at the time for me to get all facetious about it), I just don’t agree with it. Everett had a higher OPS in October than the other players I mentioned. If that group doesn’t tank in that crucial period…who knows, maybe the bar gets lowered to 60 OPS+.

Coleman October 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Oh rats, Andre beat me to the Lugo reference–and how often do you get to make those? Anyway the last AL team to play a WS with a SS with an OPS over .700 was us, and he’s still on the roster, so there you go (not counting WS in progress of course…who’s gonna be bold here and say Everett’s a better deal, dollar per dollar, than Jeter? It’s not a completely ridiculous proposition…)

There is no way to show that offensive production, AT CERTAIN POSITIONS, is necessary to winning a pennant, except in fantasy leagues. And it doesn’t make sense–and this is a pet peeve of mine, not a criticism of Stephen–to distinguish between a line-up good enough to win games, but not get to the next level. What quality would allow a team to win x number of games with a certain lineup, but make them unable to win 4 of 7 vs a given opponent? (Other than pitching rotation factors). Are you saying the Tigers with Everett could beat teams’ 4 and 5 starters, but not their 1-3 guys? I just don’t see it…

Stephen October 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Guys, I love you like brothers I have never met. But when you go on and on and on about how Adam Everett is good enough to be the shortstop on a championship team you guys sound like a bunch of sabermetric nerds. Sorry! Could you make an argument that Everett is more cost efficient then Jeter? Sure, and you could make an argument that The Monkees were a more financially efficient pop band than the Beatles.
But all common sense would just say you were just so wrong. Could you win a World Series with Everett as your shortstop? Sure, the Ravens won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer. George H.W. Bush got elected with Dan Quayle as his VP. But goodness gracious it ain’t bloody likely.

Andre in Chi October 30, 2009 at 12:06 am

You’re totally right, you’re less likely to win a WS with Everett as your starting SS. However, it did seem like you were isolating Everett in terms of why the Tigers didn’t make the playoffs. Now, it could well be that the only reason the Tigers were in contention with him at SS was the sad state of the division this year, but focusing on Everett doesn’t make sense to me.

The problem is, Everett played almost exactly as expected — stellar defense, weak bat. On the other hand, players who were counted on for their offense (and little else) failed to deliver as expected (Guillen and Maggs to name just two). If these others play up to expectations, in all likelihood, the Tigers are in the playoffs where, with their pitching, anything could happen (good or bad).

Coleman October 30, 2009 at 1:12 am

My point was that I don’t think it’s important how your offense is distributed–in other words, it’s a team thing: if you have a 2B that produces x runs, a SS that produces 4x runs, and a 3B that produces 5x runs, it’s no better or worse than if you have a 2B that produces 3x runs, a SS that produces x runs, and a 3B that produces 6x runs…etc…

But it DOES make a difference where you have good defense–a 2B with an .800 OPS doesn’t help your offense more or less than a SS with an .800 OPS, but a 2B with a top glove is NOT worth as much as a SS with a top glove. The two most valuable positions, defensively, are 1. C and 2. SS.

If there’s anywhere you can afford a light hitter, it’s at C, then SS (assuming they have the defense to justify it, of course). And the worst positions for DET, relative to the rest of the league, were C (1.02 below avg OPS), SS (.075 below avg OPS) and DH (.074 below avg OPS).

In other words, our lightest hitters are ALSO the best defensively on the team, AND playing the most important defensive positions–EXCEPT DH. Unless you can find an avg+ OPS SS who is as good defensively as Everett, I’d rather keep Everett and have an at least avg+ DH. (C is more complicated, because of mysterious “staff-handling” qualities, etc). This doesn’t mean those positions can’t be upgraded–there do exist very good fielders who hit better than Everett and Laird. But this doesn’t seem so much to me like the cause of all our troubles.

Coleman October 30, 2009 at 1:29 am

And the DH problem has been there for a while. Here are our 08-09 DH numbers:

2008 DH OPS
.775 AL avg
.697 DET (13th of 14)

2009 DH OPS
.780 AL avg
.704 DET (13th of 14)

See a trend? Basically we’ve been putting out the equivalent of “an Inge” for a DH. Even ADAM EVERETT has had seasons with higher OPS than our DH the last 2 seasons. So, yeah, I think we can win with Everett at SS–but no, we can’t win with Everett as our DH, which isn’t far from what we’ve tried for 2 years running.

Lee Panas October 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm

The Tigers missed the playoffs by one game and once you make the playoffs, anything can happen. They Tigers could surely make the World Series with Everett on their team. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to upgrade him but he wouldn’t be the first starter I’d replace. I’d start by finding a DH or a collection of DHs who didn’t hit below replacement level.

RPS October 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

Dan Uggla?

Andre in Chi October 30, 2009 at 11:53 am

Ugh indeed! He killed me for most of my fantasy season. I dropped him sometime in July…right in time for his enormous August numbers.

Kathy October 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Leland will probably do the same thing he did last year: Pin the Wheel on the Donkey or Wheel of Fortune. Same guys, different games.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

Switch to our mobile site