Wednesday, November 17, 2004

AL MVP Analysis/Looking at Transactions

The AL MVP was the last award to be given, and Vladdy won the prize. I can't get too worked up about it. It was a perfectly reasonable decision. He deserved to win.

Here are the lines of the top finishers.
Vlad .337/.391/.598, 39 2B, 39 HR, 52 BB, 74 K, 612 AB
Sheff .290/.393/.534, 30 2B, 36 HR, 92 BB, 83 K, 573 AB
Manny .308/.397/.613, 44 2B, 43 HR, 82 BB, 124 K, 568 AB
Ortiz .301/.380/.603, 47 2B, 41 HR, 75 BB, 133 K, 582 AB
Tejada .311/.360/.534, 40 2B, 34 HR, 48 BB, 73 K, 653 AB

Manny Ramirez was the best hitter of the group, but I can accept the notion that the small gap at the plate was overcome by Vlad's better defense in right field.

The only outrage was in the almost complete omission of Travis Hafner. I wouldn't have given Hafner my first place vote, but with a .311/.410/.583 season, he was at least worth a top 10 selection on most ballots. But one voter gave him the nod (a #10 choice), with the rest instead giving down the ballot votes to players like Torii Hunter, Francisco Cordero, and Johnny Damon.

In other news, the team formerly known as the Expos signed Vinny Castilla and Christian Guzman to be the left side of their 2005 and 2006 infields. It is an indefensible move. When I heard about it, I just shook my head and said "That's awful." That really says it all. They committed 23 million dollars to two players who are roughly replacement level talent. I honestly can't come up with a rational reason why Jim Bowden would saddle his team with this kind of high priced mediocrity. It is making a move just to make a move. This isn't the kind of bold decision making that helped turn the Tigers into a surprisingly watchable team this season. It is signing free agents whose names will be familiar to fans in hopes that the team pretending to take contending seriously is enough to make fans believe that the team is taking contending seriously. I hoped that we were done with this kind of idle, expensive milling about. If this is what we can expect from the new Washington franchise, we're likely to see the script look strikingly similar to old script(s).

Another ugly part of the deal is that the Expos give up their second and third round draft picks in the process. So this team that is rebuilding its farm system is giving up good draft picks to sign free agents that have more PR value than actual value.

On a happier note, it reminds me of my greatest series of fantasy baseball moves. A couple seasons ago, I traded Christian Guzman away for a fifth round pick in a keeper league, then turned around and traded the pick to another team for Hank Blalock, who had struggled in his first exposure to major league pitching. If I had half a dozen more stories like that, I might have actually won something with one of my 2 keeper league teams this season.

Finally, I'll give a status report on compensation picks for next season's draft.

The Rockies have a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds, and the Nationals/Greys/Senators second round selection.

The Indians have the Giants first round pick and a sandwich pick for Vizquel.

The Orioles have a sandwich pick for not signing Wade Townsend.

The Twins get Washington's third round pick for Christian Guzman.

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