Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Monday, February 18, 2008

Surely He Can't Be Serious

ESPN's Jayson Stark celebrated the arrival of spring with his traditional "best of" column last week.

Pretty standard stuff. At least until I reached this point, under "Best free agents $2 million and under:"

The Cardinals shelled out just $1.5 million to roll the dice on Matt Clement, a pitcher whose career strikeout ratio (7.75 per 9 IP) and opponent batting average (.248) are actually better than Roy Oswalt's (7.45 and .256). Who knew?

Good points. Here are some more: Oswalt has a better opponents' OPS (.682 to .721) and K/BB ratio (3.62 to 1.87) And he's three years younger than Clement.

Hey, a flier on Clement for $1.5 mil is a reasonable gamble. As long as the Cardinals aren't expecting Clement to pitch like an ace (someone like, say, Roy Oswalt), that is.

Then there was this nugget of joy, under "Best free agents signed to minor league contracts:"

Mike Sweeney, A's: Granted, you have to go back six years to find the last time Sweeney played more than 126 games in a season. But we're still talking about a fellow with a higher career OPS (.861) than Carlos Beltran, Carlos Lee, Andruw Jones or Aramis Ramirez. Let's just say none of those guys is working on minor league contracts.

Stark fails to add that we're talking about a thirty-four year old first baseman who slugged .404 last year. Andruw Jones is slowing down, but he's still an acceptable defender at a slightly more demanding position. Carlos Lee isn't any great shakes as a fielder, but his OPS is about 100 points higher than Sweeney's over the last two years. And he's played 485 games over the last three years, so he's just a bit more durable. Aramis Ramirez hasn't been as healthy as Lee, but he's five years younger than Sweeney and his lowest OPS over the last four years is .912.

And Carlos Beltran? Are you serious, Jayson? Do you really want to compare Mike Sweeney to Carlos Beltran?

Finally, capping off this triumverate of Starkian goodness, is this:

Morgan Ensberg, Yankees: Bet you didn't know Ensberg has hit more home runs over the past three years (71) than Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield or Bobby Abreu.

Let's play a game...if you can get guess which one of those four guys has home run totals over the last three years of 36, 23, and 12, you can have a cookie.

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