I'm spending most of September in Germany, so updates won't be frequent for awhile.
Is it me, or is there a ton of terrible baseball writing out there right now? Let's look at a few highlights:
Of the players Arizona received in return, Qualls has been fine, but no Valverde
Qualls in 2008: 3.09 xFIP, 3.12 ERA
Valverde in 2008: 3.27 xFIP, 3.49 ERA
Think this is a one-season fluke? Qualls has a 3.34 career ERA, Valverde 3.33.
"All of this is a long-winded way of opining that the Valverde deal has to be one of last winter's worst trades."
If I had to score this trade at the time it was made, I would have applauded the Diamondbacks for refusing to adhere to the "closer" label and acquiring the cheaper, arguably better player with less service time--they have Qualls for three years, the Astros get Valverde for two--and receiving throw-ins on top of that. Pretty much par for the course for Ed Wade, who would have been willing to trade Qualls for a handful of magic beans.
As I score the trade now, the throw-ins haven't panned out, but Qualls is still better than Valverde, he still costs less money, the D-backs still have him for an extra year, and Ken Davidoff is still an idiot.
I did like this article, however, because it highlighted how idiotic the trades for Erik Bedard and Edgar Renteria actually were. At the time, sportswriters talked about how each team had added "the last piece of the puzzle" at little immediate cost. Oops.
Rays earn top marks in chemistry
In a way, this is my favorite article of the year, because it illustrates the pure stupidity of "clubhouse chemistry". For those of you who are new here, there's a simple equation: Win games, and your chemistry is great; lose them, and lack of chemistry is the real reason you failed. Thus, good chemistry is nearly perfectly correlated with winning.
I'm a professional sports bettor; you'd think I would be happy to utilize this new surefire tactic in my handicapping; even massively outscoring your opponents isn't perfectly correlated with winning, but chemistry is. Sadly, it doesn't work that way, because real analysts only use forward-looking metrics.
Anyway, my favorite part:
"We always had guys that got along well," said Rocco Baldelli, one of the longest-tenured Rays.
I'm sure Baldelli was a huge fan of Elijah Dukes, who repeatedly threatened to kill his wife; Delmon Young, who threw a bat at an umpire; or Jorge Cantu, who's probably a nice guy, but has a creepy porn-star mustache. Either way, I've never read a story on Tampa's clubhouse chemistry until this year. Strange...