lukewarm stoveWe’re almost a week into February and there are still so many free agents out there. CBA changes + Tanaka + ideological shifts within the game = seriously protracted free agency. I wonder if the influx of TV dollars and the explosion of contracts for top free agents is actually playing a role, too, by artificially driving up the demands of middle tier free agents to levels teams simply aren’t going to meet.

  • The prices on free agent pitchers tied to draft pick compensation keeps cratering, with Buster Olney reporting that Ervin Santana may now be down to asking for a three-year deal. I don’t see the Cubs in on Santana (or Ubaldo Jimenez) at this point, but following their story is still pretty important, as it could impact the near-term market for Jeff Samardzija. Moreover, the further their prices fall, the less attractive Samardzija looks, given the hefty acquisition cost.
  • Relatedly, Bob Nightengale reports that Bronson Arroyo is down to three finalists for his services (probably on a two-year deal): the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers, and the Orioles. The bookends are reasonable trade possibilities in a Samardzija deal, and the Diamondbacks are viewed by Nightengale as the leader.
  • So, the Braves dropped $135 million on first baseman Freddie Freeman yesterday, locking up the 24-year-old’s next eight years (they already had him under control for three), and sending most of the ‘net to its calculators to determine whether the Braves just made a big mistake. While the Cubs got seven years of Anthony Rizzo (a probably lesser overall player, but in the ballpark) for just $41 million, the Braves are paying three times that amount for one more (post-30) year of Freeman. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, because Freeman was already entering his first year of arbitration (whereas Rizzo still had a couple years to go before he reached arbitration). Still, that’s a huge difference, and I imagine every young pre-arb star was very happy to see that deal come down.
  • Apropos of a number of discussions around here about the quality pitching in the free agent class next year, here’s FanGraphs on just that. All of Max Scherzer, James Shields, Jon Lester, Homer Bailey and Justin Masterson figure to be pricey if they reach free agency, but two or three of them might be picked off by extensions in the next month or so. Given the Cubs’ need for impact pitching, and the desirability of, like, trying to be decent in 2015, you’re obviously rooting for the majority of these guys to hit free agency.
  • Jim Bowden writes about, among other things, the market for David Price next offseason when he believe Price will actually be traded. I still think Price is probably moved before next offseason (maybe the Jeremy Hellickson injury changes that?), but, should he remain a Ray for one more year, Bowden says the Cubs are one of the early (mega-early) favorites to land Price, along with the Braves, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers. I won’t pass judgment on the inclusion of the other four teams, but the Cubs are certainly interesting. On the one hand, are the Cubs really going to give up a huge prospect haul for one year of Price, when he’s likely to have a salary very close to market rate (it will be his fourth arbitration year)? On the other hand, I could see a scenario where the Cubs’ top offensive prospects have broken through, and the team projects to be minimally competitive in 2015. If the depth in the system has also taken a step forward (such that there are suddenly even more big time prospects, and more redundancies), I suppose I could see the Cubs going for Price to improve the overall quality of that 2015 roster – the first year the Cubs might be able to compete/re-capture the attention of casual fans. I still don’t think this is likely, and it’s also just way too early to seriously discuss.
  • You may or may not recall that, around this time last year, the Cubs were rumored to be the front-runners to get David Price after the 2013 season, too. And, over the course of that season, trading for Price went from “makes total sense” to “makes no sense.” We’ll see how we feel after 2014.
  • Everyone is waiting to see what will happen with recently-DFA’d infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and, as Mike Petriello writes, just about every team’s blogosphere is all, “hey, maybe we should grab Bonifacio!” The 28-year-old is set to make $3.5 million this year (if a team takes on his contract), and is two full years removed from being a particularly useful player. He’s a decent utility guy who runs the bases well, but if you’re wondering whether the Cubs should swap him out at second base for Darwin Barney, it feels a little like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
  • Jonah Keri wrote a fantastic piece for Grantland that starts as a history lesson on the TV rights situation in Baltimore and DC, and morphs into a discussion of the Orioles’ lack of spending to help sustain their current wave of success. While it looks right now like the Orioles have inexplicably done nothing this offseason, several of their most prominent needs – pitching and a power bat – could be filled late in free agency, maybe even with some bargains because of the wait.
  • DarthHater

    “While it looks right now like the Orioles have inexplicably done nothing this offseason, several of their most prominent needs – pitching and a power bat – could be filled late in free agency, maybe even with some bargains because of the wait.”

    It never ceases to astonish me how this site, including its proprietor can be such delusional drinkers of the Orioles koolaid… 😉

    • mjhurdle

      it is obvious that Brett is on the Orioles payroll

    • hansman

      Just don’t drink the Oriole Brown kool-aid

      • miggy80

        Sochi Russia home of the Oriole Brown Kool-Aid

      • DarthHater

        Chocolate kool-aid, mmmmmmmmmmmm…


    • Brett

      Heh. Yay for humor.

  • Jon

    Anthony Rizzo is also about 1/3 the player Freddie Freeman is.

    • Patrick W.

      Lets pick an acceptable measurement for your liking to track that over the course of an acceptable amount of time for you. We’ll then check back.

    • Brett

      I’d take Freeman, but I’d do it noting that his BABIP in 2013 (.371) was almost 80 points higher than the year before; and I’d note that ZiPS, for one, sees Rizzo as a .343 wOBA guy in 2014 (plus Gold Glove defense), with Freeman at .361. PECOTA projects Rizzo at 2.9 WAR in 2014; Freeman at 2.3.

      Freeman’s the guy you take. Your 1/3 comment is silly.

      • Patrick W.

        If I had to guess, when we look back over their first 10 years, Freeman will produce 150% of the value of Rizzo. So if we could, using WAR as an example, project an average 5.2 WAR per season for Freeman (All-Star caliber) we would project an average 3.5 WAR per season for Rizzo. Seems reasonable, but both could do better than that.

        If you project a 5.2 WAR per season for Freeman for Rizzo to be 1/3 the player Freeman is he’d have to be 1.5 WAR per season player, which means he doesn’t make 10 seasons, probably.

      • Baseball_Writes

        That’s better.

    • Jay

      Freeman’s BABIP was .371 in 2013. Rizzo’s was .258. They had nearly identical strikeout rates, walk rates, and ISO numbers, and the same number of home runs. I’m not sure how you’re coming to your conclusion there. Before 2013, Law ranked Rizzo one spot ahead of Freeman on his 25 top players under 25 list; that’s not gospel, of course, just meant to illustrate that any perceived talent gap has to be based solely on just one season, and I’m not so sure that’s a great way to evaluate talent. Especially when handing out nine-figure contracts.

    • Jon

      Freeman also had a LD% about 10 points higher than Rizzo last year, so before you blame it all on BABIP, I think much of it is explainable.

      • DarthHater

        Rizzo: LD% = 24 and BABIP = .310
        Freeman: LD% = 23 and BABIP = .295

        Rizzo: LD% = 24 and BABIP = .258
        Freeman: LD% = 30 and BABIP = .371

        There’s more going on there than can be explained by LD% alone.

        • Jon

          Where are you getting those numbers?

          • DarthHater


            • hansman


              • Wilburthefirst

                … does he sink when thrown into water?

            • Jon

              Well, IMO, I like FG better for batted ball data and they have

              Freeman LD% 26
              Rizzo LD% 24.4

              Freeman LD% 26.7
              Rizzo LD% 19.6

              I know everyone’s natural reflex is to blame the “BABIP fairy” but sometimes you have to look at how a player got to those numbers. Is Freeman going to hit a 371 BABIP again, no but his sustained LD% which puts him top 10 in baseball over the past few years suggests he’s going to always have a nice average.

              • Norm

                He had the same 26% LD rate in both 2012 and 2013, yes his BABIP was still 75 points different.

                Regardless of the reasons, his BABIP will not maintain at .370 and probably won’t maintain above .340.

                He’s still a 4 war guy, but I don’t think Rizzo is anywhere near 1/3 the player Freeman is and the Braves made the mistake on extending him after a high BABIP rather than last years low BABIP.

              • terencemann

                Line drive rate is not a skill.

                • terencemann

                  Hitting the ball hard is a skill but LD% doesn’t have a high correlation from year-to-year.

    • ari gold

      Of course Rizzo is 1/3 the player Freeman is. We have the absolute worst players, worst coaches, worst farm sytem, worst front office, and worst owners in the history of baseball. Did I get everything Jon?

      • cubsfan08

        Whoa – don’t forget about the newest addition – WORST PIZZA!!!!

      • DarthHater

        Most delusional fanbase.

      • Patrick W.

        You missed: fans, ballpark, announcers …

        • DarthHater


        • Jon

          I think I’m one of the few year that loves Len/Jim in the booth. I know it seems alot of folks don’t like DeSeais, it seams.

      • Lou Brown

        Worst pee-troughs

        • aaronb

          Best air conditioned parking lot trailers though.

        • terencemann

          The troughs are great. Leave them alone.

  • Aaron

    It’s not reasonable to suggest that Freeman is a superior player to Rizzo. Their 2012s were very similar statistically, and in 2013 each had unsustainable BABIPs that skewed their numbers (Freeman with .371 and Rizzo with .258. In ’12 they registered .295 and .310, respectively). I would guess moving forward that Freeman will be a slightly better hitter based on his small advantage in batted ball stats, but Rizzo should make up for that with superior fielding. Overall, it seems the two are exceedingly similar players, and the Cubs got Rizzo for just over half the cost for two more years. The Braves overpaid wildly.

    • Brett

      Paired with Jon’s comment, this makes me love the Internet. It is neither reasonable to suggest Rizzo and Freeman are similar (Jon), nor that Freeman is better (you).

      They’re similar, but Freeman is probably the net better player overall.

  • BD

    Price could be heading to a market value contract, but don’t leave out that trading for him gives you the possibility of signing him to an extension before he can talk to anybody, even if it is for mega dollars (which is what you might be trying to spend on him in the offseason anyway, except at that point you would have competition).

    • Brett

      I agree that it has value to get him in-house first. Not a ton of value, given how much Price is going to cost in those post-30 years, but definitely some.

      • WGNstatic

        Price’s trade value next offseason, it would seem, will be heavily tied to the number of good pitchers that make it to free agency,and secondarily, how many of that group are traded midseason (Shields and Masterson seem like they could bring in a nice haul if the Royals and Indians fall out of contention by the trade deadline).

  • V23

    I wish Jon’s comments were 1/3 less annoying (actually 3/3)

  • mjhurdle

    Indians signed Bryan LaHair to a minor league contract with invite to ST.

    *Insert ‘Cubs came in second’ totally original quip here*

    *Insert ‘Cubs management too cheap to even sign LaHair back’ totally original quip here*

    *Insert ‘Print the Indians World Series tickets’ totally original quip here*

    • hansman

      *Insert ‘Cubs aren’t loyal to their players and the world is worse off for it’ quip here*

    • aaronb

      He’s probably a good midseason flip for prospects guy.

      • terencemann

        LaHair could barely hack it in the NPB last season. That’s not a good sign for him.

        • mjhurdle

          maybe we could flip him back to the NPB if he does well in AAA? :)

    • When The Musics Over

      Nice reverse trolling. Still trolling nevertheless, so no better.

      • mjhurdle

        Pointing out that, after every Cubs small signing, there was a rash of those types of statements is trolling?

        very interesting…

        • When The Musics Over

          Maybe we have different definitions of trolling, but mine is making comments for the sole purpose of drawing a conflictive action in return. There was zero actual content in your post. I get the snarky / playful (yes, you can be both) tone, but you’re just lowering yourself down to exactly what you don’t like.

          • mjhurdle

            “mine is making comments for the sole purpose of drawing a conflictive action in return.”

            If true, how is your response to my post any different?

            To me it would have been trolling to say “Cue the idiots making stupid jokes about the Cubs coming in second again” or something of that nature.
            My post merely pointed at the (i think most everyone agrees) over-used jokes that follow every minor signing.
            I wasn’t demeaning any person, if anything you could say that I am demeaning the jokes themselves. I trolled the jokes :)

            • When The Musics Over

              None of it really matters. May as well ignore my first comment. I’m worn out.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Huh, usually we could have expected the choruses of “we’ll never know if LaHair could hit lefties or not because Dale didn’t give him a chance” and/or “platooning makes players get worse” by now.

  • woody

    I can’t realistically think the Cubs are favorites to land any top tier player any time soon. This off season was methodical and deliberate in the manner they went about business. In the end they made a run of the mill offer to Tanaka which leads me to believe that they were never really in on him at all and were just kicking the tires to placate those fans that didn’t have the stomach to endure the rebuild. Unless this teams catches fire and plays .500 or better ball we will see year three of flipping for prospects and chasing the top 5 draft pick in 2015. As they say actions speak louder than words, so we should take that to heart. There will be more interest in the Wrigley field drama and the minor leagues than what happens with this club.

    • WGNstatic

      I won’t criticize anyone for expressing the sentiment you are expressing here (disdain for the slow rebuild and the passive offseason).

      That said, it will actually take a pretty disappointing turn of events for the Cubs to not be major players on the trade market in the next year.

      Consider that at this point, the Cubs have 7 infielders who are highly thought of as either young ML talent (Rizzo and Castro) or highly regarded prospects (Baez, Alcantara, Bryant, Olt, Villanueva). That is a boatload of talent. I begrudgingly accept that not all of them will pan out, and that some might move to the outfield, but… that is a lot of talent for not a lot of positions. In other words, if the Cubs are not in a position to sell high on at least one of those guys in the next year, that will be a real disappointment.

      • aaronb

        The Cubs will certainly be major players on the trade market…as sellers.

      • woody

        I don’t know that it would be correct to use the word “distain” to describe my post. I am not here to be controversial or to engage in pissing matches with anyone. If I didn’t love the cubs then I wouldn’t be here day after day reading this blog among many others. I don’t know who is at fault, but we had a bunch of writers who seemed to imply that they had “sources” that were at many times conflicting and at no time accurate in the buildup for the Tanaka bidding. I’m not privy to Theo’s inner circle so I can’t say for sure where these writers were getting their information. But the implication was that we were holding back during the winter meetings to take our big shot at Tanaka. And it was not a big shot at all. I am as exited as anyone by the prospects we have in the pipeline. Even if all of them started on opening day next year it would be unrealistic to believe that they wouldn’t need at least two years to begin to reach their true potential. But if somebody associated with the FO is indeed spoon feeding information to these writers that is inaccurate then that is messed up. There is an appearance of raising fans expectations in all of these negociations when in reality there is nothing but tire kicking going on. That is my gripe. I don’t have the time or resources to know what the truth is. But I would say that if those writers who were beating the Cubs/Tanaka drum can’t vett their sources better than that, then they should hang it up. And if Shark was hoping for Tanaka to be signed as evidence that the FO/Ownership were serious about being competative, then we can pretty much deduce that Shark will be on his merry way in July. This is reality! The business plan is in a quagmire at the moment and major league operations are in a holding pattern. Sorry my rosy colored glasses are broken.

        • aaronb

          Excellent post Woody!

          I’ve suspected that those same writers were getting their “The Cubs finished 2nd on” Darvish, Cepedes, Sanchez, Ryu,Tanaka, Puig, etc. From those same team “sources”.

          It’s a really cynical corporate way to garner fan goodwill without actually outlaying actual financial capital.

          Either that…or Theo can’t close any free agent who isn’t on the trash heap.

      • Brocktoon

        Neither Olt or Villanueva are even in consideration for top 100 prospect lists. And I like Villanueva, but he’s a 3rd piece in a trade for somebody of worth barring a breakout.

        Mike Olt was just the 2nd piece in a trade for 2 months of Matt Garza, and following the trade he continued to be blind and awful.

        • Orval Overall

          Just don’t forget, a year ago he was BA’s # 23 prospect in all of baseball, i.e., more highly ranked in Spring 2013 than anyone in our system is ranked today outside of Baez, Bryant and maybe Almora.

          This year, as you say, he’s not in anyone’s top 100.

          This team probably needs to gamble that its top tier guys will pan out, and keep them in the organization. But there are a lot of players that others are dreaming on that can and should be used to acquire established ML talent.

    • Jon

      Cue angry “Cub Fan Bob” telling you to go cheer for the White Sox

      • CubFanBob

        Jon you really need a hug.

  • bonger0493

    Is there a replacement for Moreland yet?

    • TWC

      Yes. Ron Coomer.

  • Blackhawks1963

    David Price is doubtful to get traded at this point. Tampa has as good a shot as any contender to win a World Series in 2014. So I strongly suspect he stays in Tampa and is part of a formidable starting rotation. If they can win a World Series but lose Price as a free agent, then at this point that is sacrifice I bet they are willing to make.

    The thing about Price is that it will likely be the Tanaka derby all over again. Unless the fortunes of the Cubs look dramatically improved a year from now then I think its going to be very difficult to get Price interested in the Cubs. Especially when the usual suspects like the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels and Rangers will be drooling over the chance to sign him. Price probably commands Clayton Kershaw money on the open market too, unless his arm shows signs of high mileage impacting things.

    • Jon

      Are you ready to put your odds on it? Or still working on those?

    • Brocktoon

      Again, Price isn’t a free agent until after the 2015 season.

  • David

    Off the subject…. any suggestions for places to stay in Tennessee??? Looking to head down for a weekend in May to watch the Smokies. Any waterparks nearby for the kids?

    • aaronb

      Some good whitewater rafting down the Alcoa near Pigeon Forge.

    • ObsessiveCubDisorder

      I went last summer to watch Baez. Gatlinburg isn’t very far away. I believe they have a nice waterpark/hotel there…along with plenty of other things to keep the family busy.

    • davidc

      Dollywood is right down the road.

  • Kyle

    Not nearly as convinced that the Cubs will be *that* active next offseason. One decent-sized pitching acquisition? Probably, something similar to Edwin Jackson, maybe a bit better.

    But given their philosophies shown to date, the next offseason could easily be another wait-and-see.

    • Brett

      And it depends on what happens this year.

      What I’d like to see? If they’ve got a protected pick again, and if certain financial issues are squared away, I want to see them stack free agent signings – saves on the signing “price,” and it could be the Cubs’ last chance to get top-tier free agents without giving up a first round pick (hopefully). Oh, and it could also help the team be good in 2015 …

      • Kyle

        I can’t see it. I mean, I won’t say anything’s impossible. But I think they’ve proven this year once and for all that they would rather leave money on the table than compromise on the type of player they are signing.

        While it may seem like there’s a lot of pitchers, I don’t think they’ll give more than a glance at the guys who will be 30+, and that doesn’t leave much left.

  • ramy16

    I’d still take Bonifacio over Barney

  • Dustin S

    Heading into the season it seems like there’s always a tendency to over-factor offseason moves and last year’s performance in predicting how the next season will go. I don’t have any unrealistic optimism, and I know the concerts might be the highlight of Wrigley in 2014. But just for giggles it’s worth a quick glance at early 2013 MLB predictions by the pros…most had penciled-in NL East – Nats, NL Central – Reds, AL East – Blue Jays, AL West – Angels, etc. It’s that way every year. Just something to ponder.

  • brainiac

    the only big mistake in life is not trying. that’s not a platitude, it’s a cutting criticism of “the plan”.

    • mjhurdle

      nope, still a platitude

      • brainiac


  • CubsfaninAZ

    Everyone here seems to forget who Freddie Freeman had surrounding him, Heyward and Justin Upton and McCann, even a terrible BJ Upton can pose as a power threat, dont believe me what this lineup can do ask Chris Johnson and his huge uptick to a .321 BA last year.Braves had 5 players with over 20 plus homers in the lineup and Heyward mightve if he coulda been in the lineup for 150+ games like his 27 in ’12.(Cubs had 2 players hit over 20 HR’s, make it 3 if Soriano was still a Cub for the whole season) If Rizzo had any power threat around him at all his numbers would climb back up into the Freeman type crowd. Still don’t believe me look at the numbers after Soriano left, Rizzo dropped. He had no protection last year and pitchers could focus on him solely , and the fact that no one was getting on base in front of him it made it a breeze to focus on getting him out all the more magnified. Sorry but your going to do a lot better with Heyward, McCann and Upton around you than , Castro’s terrible year and the Barneys and Scheirholtz’s of the world. Only thing that will help Rizzo breakout is if someone else with power does as well, like Olt or Bryant or Baez. Till then Rizzo is going to sturggle to carry the whole power load himself. If the Cubs ever had the chance to land a bat like Stanton, Rizzo would become an All Star caliber player and it would be a huge bargain that they signed him for 41 mil. So thats why people who think Rizzo is only a 1/3 of the player Freeman is, are basicly reading the back cover instead of reading the whole story.

    • JCubs79

      This is some of the worst logic I have ever read.

      • CubsfaninAZ

        Then obviously you were never a pitcher.

        • hansman

          Then obviously you were never a pitcher in MLB.

          There is zero statistical proof that lineup protection exists outside of extreme examples. (As in Barry Bonds or a good hitter before a pitcher)

          • CubsfaninAZ

            Are you kidding? As a pitcher facing the Cubs at the end of last season, I would never give Rizzo anything to hit, because there wasn’t anyone else in the lineup who was a threat to beat me with one swing of the bat. Plus if you walk Rizzo, him on the base paths its hardly a scary thing. He’s not gonna swipe bases on you unless you completely ignore him. Even though writers like Jesse Rogers have written articles about the Cubs need to surround Rizzo with better hitters to maximize his potential and numbers. Its all imaginary without “statistical proof”. lol

            Now sure there isn’t any “statistical proof”. Just because they haven’t invented some stat for all you yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And i’m sure GM’s and commentators are all blowing smoke up everyones but when they talk about getting more protection in the lineup for a power hitter. Or the value of shoo and ellsbury were way out of proportion for their value to get on ahead of the power hitters. Or all the talk of Seattle needing to pickup another power bat like Morales or Cruz to protect Cano.That must be all non statistical crazy talk! Lol

            Rizzo was in a slump,then came out of it when Soriano got hot, then Sori got traded and Rizzo dropped again. You need a Right Handed power bat to protect him in the lineup, this will make Rizzo’s life easier against lefties, hence giving him more oppurtunity to see pitches he can drive. Because that lefty doesnt want anyone on base when the Big righty comes to bat. Rizzo only scored 48 times while on base 194 times. No body was driving him in especially after Sori left.

            I understand your Barry Bonds argument, yes he is a player who didnt need to be protected because he was just that AWESOME. But Jeff Kent would admit to you that he saw alot of good pitches hitting in front of him, so much that he took the MVP away from him one year. Now there is some hitters who no matter what will hit. Mark Grace was one of them. Hence why from 93-00 him and Sammy Sosa went back and fourth between the 3 and 4 spots. Most of the time with Gracie in the 4 hole. Why because if the 1-2 hole hitters got on and Sammy whiffed, Grace was a good bet to drive them in. Throw in years 98 and 99 when they put in a power hitting lefty by the name of Henry Rodriguez behind him and Sammy chasing history in front, Grace all of a sudden hits career highs in HR’s, bats .309, scores 92 and 107 runs, has career highs in SLG, OBP, plus more all because he got sandwhiched between 2 thumpers who were raking at the time. So yes, Grace was always a good hitter, but you add more protection in a lineup and everything jumped up. That can be tracked just by looking at the stats!

            • hansman

              Oooo, I get to fisk a post:

              “As a pitcher facing the Cubs at the end of last season, I would never give Rizzo anything to hit, because there wasn’t anyone else in the lineup who was a threat to beat me with one swing of the bat.”

              But pitchers have detailed information in what pitches are most likely to get the batter out. One of the most valuable things a pitcher has is his pitch count. No sense in wasting 6-8 pitches in trying to not-allow-Rizzo-to-hit-while-not-intentionally-walking-him.

              “Plus if you walk Rizzo, him on the base paths its hardly a scary thing.”

              Studying situations with a batter on first, there is no statistical difference between Yadier Molina standing there or Rickey Henderson in terms of batter production. Remember, for every pitch that the pitcher is distracted, there is another pitch where the pitcher is clear minded and just letting his training take over.

              “Even though writers like Jesse Rogers have written articles about the Cubs need to surround Rizzo with better hitters to maximize his potential and numbers.”

              And for every article where the writer says “MOAR LINEUP PROTECTION” there is a study of things that actually happened in baseball to prove the opposite ( Even this year on the Cubs, Rizzo hit no different (even better) without Soriano in the lineup.

              ” Its all imaginary without “statistical proof”. lol”

              Ya, because in the millions of ABs that have happened in MLB history, there is no difference in OPS (a fairly good judgement of batter production) between protected and non-protected batters.

              “Rizzo was in a slump,then came out of it when Soriano got hot, then Sori got traded and Rizzo dropped again.”

              Well, in April Soriano OPS’d .635 and Rizzo OPS’d .846
              In May: Soriano: .841 – Rizzo: .807
              June: S: .673 – Rizzo: .745
              July: S: .927 – Rizzo: ..701 (uh-oh your theory goes out the window)

              The only problem is that 1 month’s worth of PA isn’t enough to get a sample size that is significant enough to tease out just random fluctuations.

              “And i’m sure GM’s and commentators are all blowing smoke up everyones but when they talk about getting more protection in the lineup for a power hitter.”

              What those GM’s are really saying is “We want to get another really good hitter in the lineup because we like having a lot of really good hitters and the lineup protection thing makes the guy we are getting feel good and the guy hitting in front of him feel good. We are, after all, dealing with humans.”

              “Now sure there isn’t any “statistical proof”. Just because they haven’t invented some stat for all you yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

              I am guessing that this is some broad swipe at sabermetrics (which is an even broader swipe at statistical analysis of real events which calls into question much of what governs the stock market (i.e. Statistical evaluation is a thing that is here and won’t go away, deal with it)).

              Now, what you are debating is, really, a whole different discussion than lineup protection. This is the classical “MY EYES!!!!!” vs. “Ya, but the actual things that happened says this”. I could easily link to 100 different studies that can repeatedly prove that lineup protection is bunk. Can you do the same for the idea that lineup protection is a real thing?

              “Rizzo only scored 48 times while on base 194 times. No body was driving him in especially after Sori left.”

              Ummm…I have no clue where you are getting any of these numbers. His season numbers aren’t that, his numbers while Sori was playing games for the Cubs aren’t that (Rizzo had 47 through July 23, when Sori stopped playing for the Cubs). You pulled something out of somewhere. Which, based on the rest of your post, is understandable. Maybe that’s what your eyes said happened.

              “I understand your Barry Bonds argument, yes he is a player who didnt need to be protected because he was just that AWESOME.”

              No, Bonds needed extra protection, like prime-years Pujols protection.

              “But Jeff Kent would admit to you that he saw alot of good pitches hitting in front of him”

              The worst person to tell you what happened is the eye witness. Even if we accept what Kent is saying is indisputable proof, he had the greatest hitter since Ted Williams hitting behind him.

              “. Now there is some hitters who no matter what will hit. Mark Grace …blah blah blah…everything jumped up.”

              So lineup protection is a thing until it is no longer a thing.

              “…you add more protection in a lineup and everything jumped up. That can be tracked just by looking at the stats!”

              Except that no study has found this. But I guess they just haven’t invented that stat yet because stat heads only care about (and all of them together, because it’s a conspiracy) proving old adages wrong.

  • CubsfaninAZ

    Fact of the matter is to get back on point, Freeman will always have better stats just because he has a stacked lineup around him. Rizzo wont until he gets a stacked lineup around him as well. Dont need stats, thats just baseball 101.