Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jim Bowden Self-Serving Statements O' The Week

Our good friend Trader Jim is back at it, with his weekly Examiner column. This week is right in his wheelhouse, focusing on trades, which is a bit like asking me to write about being a crank -- it's just what we do.

He says that the team's start means that he's engaging in trade discussions a bit earlier than usual, but that he doesn't want to make a trade unless it improves the team -- which is different from the GMs who make trades in an attempt to destroy their team? Even the Royals thought Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez was going to help their team.

He then gives an extensive list of young stars he's acquired for past-his-prime vets: Sean Casey for Dave Burba, Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw, etc.

Amazingly, he left out some. Roberto Kelly for Paul O'Neil; Curtis Goodwin and Trovin Valdez for David Wells; Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko (which was quite an interesting trade, actually); Russell Branyan for Ben Broussard; Juan Encarnacion and crap for Ryan Dempster; and Todd Walker for Tony Blanco and Josh Thigpen. (Full Bowden registry: note how he mostly shuffles around crap for crap)

Sure, he's made some great trades. But he's made some stinkers too. If I could cherrypick the best memories of my life, I'd be a pretty happy person.

He then goes on to note that he's also looking to build the team through the draft, and notes that he has an excellent track record: "I have been involved in the drafting of such players as Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Barry Bonds and Moises Alou"

Isn't cherrypicking fun? Bowden took the reigns in 1992, but his first official draft was probably 1993. Here are the first players he took each year who actually made it to the majors:
Pat Watkins
CJ Nitkowski
Brett Tomko
Buddy Carlyle
Brandon Larson
Austin Kearns
Ben Broussard
Dane Sardinha
That's through 2000. Tomko, Broussard and Kearns weren't horrible picks. And I'm not saying that he's a bad drafter -- he certainly has a good eye for hitting talent. But the picture's more complex than he's leading on. (Full list here)

As an aside... Reading the article, it pretty much confirms that Bowden's around for the rest of the year. But it also shows that he's learning Kasten's buzzwords, and that he's going to make an effort to hold on to the job. It's been reported that Mark Lerner is high on him, and Kasten has called him a friend (but that last one doesn't mean much). It's widely assumed that Bowden's not a Kasten guy, but this could be a test to see who wields more power, the team president, or the owner, at least when it comes to personnel decisions.

  • Jim Bowden's not the only one looking at things unrealistically. Frank Robinson bleats in the pages (bits?) of MLB.com that Patterson's injury has cost the team a bunch of wins already -- at least two, maybe three.
    "You can't put into words," he said when asked what the loss of Patterson has meant. "What would he have had -- about four starts? We probably would've counted on him for two wins and maybe another where he didn't get credit for the win."

    Patterson was replaced in the rotation by Rookie Michael O'Connor. I know that Frank hates young pitchers, but to completely ignore what he's done is silly. O'Connor has started three times, winning two of them -- it's hard to see how Patterson could improve on that. In his lone loss, the Nats lost 6-2. Patterson might've been able to make a different, I suppose, but the bats weren't doing anything that game.

    If you crunch the numbers even more hardcore, the best starters are rarely worth more than 6-10 wins more than someone like O'Connor over the course of an entire season. Three or four starts rarely make THAT much of a difference. And in O'Connor's case, it's highly unlikely that a healthy John Patterson would've been able to improve upon the results. Sure, maybe we beat the Pirates 5-2 instead of 5-4, but does that really matter? Not much, for sure.

  • 18 Comments:

    • Right. And figuring Patterson AND O'Connor would have helped the team above Patterson and Day or Ortiz is sort of foolish, too; O'Connor was recalled specifically to replace Patterson, and it seems folly to suggest that he'd be here for any other reason.

      Eh, 94% of all arbitrary figures are pointless. Everybody knows that! ;-)

      By Blogger Basil, at 5/10/2006 9:42 AM  

    • Even factoring in Day, Patterson's not going to improve on his shutout last week. He most certainly could've done better than Day did in his first start against the Cardinals, but it's hell on the forearm to pitch in back to back days.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 9:46 AM  

    • So when Pats comes back, who goes out? Not O'Connor, I hope. Not Armas (3-2). Ortiz? Hernandez? Day?

      By Anonymous Rich from Richmond, at 5/10/2006 9:56 AM  

    • I'd hope it'd be Ortiz, but they gave him a bunch of money.

      I suspect that the loser of the Day/Ortiz battle heads to the pen.

      Day's less likely to grumble about it, but he's also more likely to be effective.

      Of course it's only a matter of time until Armas breaks down anyway... ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 9:59 AM  

    • A honest question: How would Day's tendency to overthrow in the early innings, taking the drop off his sinker, manifest itself if he was in the pen?

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 5/10/2006 10:04 AM  

    • It's possible that the fatigue from pitching more frequently would counter balance that.

      I remember Ramiro Mendoza was effective for the Yankees when he pitched more.

      Perhaps Day would be the same? If he could transition, having a groundballer come in with men on base is pretty valuable.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 10:05 AM  

    • I guess I worried about Day having to warm up quickly and coming in pumped up in a big situation.

      Definitely interesting to think about.

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 5/10/2006 10:08 AM  

    • Rich (fellow Richmonder!): I think it would depend on what Day does between now and then, since he costs close to nothing. If he's still a viable starter, I'd expect O'Connor might be the choice to go down since he actually can. (He's on his first option year.) It's not a foregone conclusion O'Connor will retain his effectiveness until then, too.

      By Blogger Basil, at 5/10/2006 10:10 AM  

    • Yeah, neither solution's a good one. I probably have more faith in him than I do in Ortiz though.

      Although, it'd be interesting to see if Ortiz could just blow it by hitters if he knew he didn't have to pace himself -- like what I was theorizing with Armas last year. Thankfully, Armas seems to have found the extra few MPH while still being able to go his regular five innings. ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 10:11 AM  

    • I'd think Day's value in the pen would tend to be limited to early or low leverage situations. He's simply not enough of a threat to strike out batters, and if he can't keep his sinker down, he's a danger coming in fresh with men on base.

      But it's certainly something the team considered during Day's first stay with the organization.

      By Blogger Basil, at 5/10/2006 10:12 AM  

    • I know you haven't seen many games, but there's NO ONE on the team I'd want with runners on!

      We've got Rauch and Cordero, and that's about it. ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 10:15 AM  

    • Hmmm. Good point.

      Seriously, though, if Day could transition to Rauch's old role, and Rauch could continue to transition to a higher leverage role . . . would that enhance Rauch's value? Is a one-inning set-up lockdown more valuable than frequent multi-innings appearances?

      By Blogger Basil, at 5/10/2006 10:17 AM  

    • I think Rauch would be fine at Ayala's old role -- even coming in for 1.2 IP at a time.

      Day could probably serve as a decent 6th inning reliever.... he'll be effective more often than not, and when he's not, there's plenty of time left to recover.

      I dunno though. I still would like to see what Day can do in the rotation. Prior to last year, he was a pretty good pitcher.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/10/2006 10:22 AM  

    • Me too. The guy was on the good side of 100 in ERA+ until last season.

      If he's healthy, he's probably okay. Not great, but okay. (Admittedly, that's one of the more optimistic takes you'll find on him at this point.)

      By Blogger Basil, at 5/10/2006 10:31 AM  

    • Kasten calling Bowden a "friend" means as much as one congressman calling another, "My good friend from the great state of BLANK," during floor debate. They were professional colleagues, with Kasten having higher status than Bowden.

      It would be troubling if Lerner decides to keep Bowden for a) continuity purposes, and b) a subtle way of demonstrating to Kasten and the world who's boss.

      Simon Oliver Lockwood

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/10/2006 8:17 PM  

    • Bowden has a good dart board, a lot of these picks are good which makes it impossible for him to do the drafting:

      Scott Sullivan
      Aaron Boone
      Kevin Gryboski (now I know why we signed him)
      Brett Tomko
      Jason LaRue
      Ray King
      Rob Mackowiak
      Scott Williamson
      Austin Kearns
      Adam Dunn
      B.J. Ryan
      Lance Cormier
      Termell "2-time Ladson Idol Winner" Sledge
      Ben Broussard

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/10/2006 8:21 PM  

    • the greatest day in my country clubs history was the day jim bowden quit and left for one in a neighboring town. not that we dont see him anymore, but we don't have to directly deal with him. ask anyone who lives in any town near him and they will all almost always reply that he is an a one jerk. the count is not 4-0 in his favor however 0-2, and there's some heat a commin down the middle.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/11/2006 7:17 AM  

    • By Blogger www.clothingol.com, at 11/11/2009 1:00 AM  

    Post a Comment

    << Home