Sunday, January 21, 2007

Trotman's Sunday

As the dust has settled on the surprising Colonel Trotman (I know it’s Troutman in First Blood) signing, the question remains whether the move was truly necessary. That is, will Nixon taking over the LH portion of the RF platoon outperform Choo to the degree that it was worth $3M?

The good folks over at the Baseball Think Factory have produced what they call their ZIPS Projections for 2007, which includes all MLB players. Here’s how the BLC and the Colonel compare (someday I'll figure out how to make this look better):


Pretty similar comparing the disparity in projected AB of 125 with Trot coming in higher (slightly) in the Antonetti-favorite of OBP and MUCH lower in K’s. In fact, adjusting for the disparity, Choo clocks in at a higher only at R & SB. The 2nd last column contain figures refer to runs created, a stat created by Bill James designed to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to his team. The numbers, obviously, are very similar.

Before moving on, you may ask yourself, who comes up with these projections (ZIPS is just one of the projections out there)?
Remember NORAD in WarGames? While I’m sure it’s not like that, I like to think that there are a bunch of middle-aged men in short sleeve collared shirts and skinny ties with bad comb-overs and horn-rimmed glasses, chain smoking and pounding pots of coffee while sweating uncontrollably, staring desperately at giant computer screens in some secret location trying to figure out how many times Choo is going to be HBP in 2007.

In reality, it’s probably a program some 14-year-old developed that just needs raw data. I still hope the program has a name like WOPR or HAL, though.

Speaking of HAL, not to go all Cliff Clavin on you but…ah…it’s a little know fact that Stanley Kubrick gave the name of HAL to the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey because the letter H, A, and L precede the letters I, B, and M in the alphabet.

But I digress.
Back to the Choo/Nixon quandary and the fact that if Choo would have provided comparable production in the RF platoon, why sign Nixon? Would that $3M be better spent elsewhere at some point in the season or at the negotiating table with Jake, Pronk, and C.C?

Perhaps, but the idea of Choo adjusting to MLB on the fly, along with Marte doing the same, while Barfield learns the nuances of the pitchers in the AL, AND the idea that Jhonny Peralta’s regression in 2006 could be more than just an anomaly must have kept the Mylanta close enough to Shapiro’s lips to make the move. Having all of these young players go through these adjustment periods early in a season so dependent on getting a fast start in the Central more than likely proved to be too much uncertainty for Shapiro to stand pat.

In Nixon, the Indians get a player familiar with the American League who will play only against RHP, allowing his body the appropriate time to heal and stay healthy throughout the season. In the meantime, Choo will return to AAA (where he thrived last year at Tacoma) to improve his K rate and his ability to hit LHP.

Whether the move was a necessity is a point that can be debated ad nauseam, but the Dirt Dog (Nixon’s Boston nickname) is in Cleveland to provide some certainty and stability to a team that is, no question, making the push in 2007.

With Nixon in the fold, the lineup shakes out like this:
CF – Sizemore
RF – Nixon
DH – Hafner
C – Martinez
1B – Blake
LF – Dellucci
SS – Peralta
3B – Marte
2B – Barfield

CF – Sizemore
LF – Michaels
DH – Hafner
C – Martinez
RF – Blake
SS – Peralta
1B – Garko
3B – Marte
2B – Barfield
Every so often, Shoppach would see some time instead of Garko, with Victor shifting down to 1B to ease the wear and tear of catching on the Stick. So, all of you Garko-my-God-did-you-see-how-far-he-hit-that? fans out there, Gonnie Garko will play in about ½ of the Indians’ games this season and the addition of Nixon (another LH bat) virtually assures Garko a spot on the 25-man roster.
With that, let’s take a wide berth on a Lazy Sunday, catching up on the week that was:
SI’s John Donovan reports on the different approaches to building a bullpen, employed this off-season by the Braves, O’s, and Tribe.’s Dayn Perry marks the Tribe as the team to beat in the Central. Who’s Dayn Perry? The ONLY guy who said, prior to 2006, that the Tigers were a vastly improved team poised for a breakout. Something for which he was mocked unmercifully by some guy…ahem.’s Jon Heymann gives the Indians a nice off-season grade as he examined the moves made by AL teams.

Terry Pluto weighs in with his usual dose of logic and optimism on the Trotter.

Paul Hoynes reports that the search for Jhonny v.2005 is in full swing and that Peralta wears shirts with inspirational messages. Hoynesie also reports that Johnny Mac is working out at Jacobs Field, though there’s no chance the Blue Jays will give him up to fill the hole in the Tribe MI. If you’re the Blue Jays, doesn’t that strike you as odd and….um…not a good sign for team chemistry that one of your players is working out with ANOTHER big-league club?

Finally, for that Christmas gift that you forgot, or realized while in line at the Team Shop that you were about to purchase the IDENTICAL shirt that you had given the SAME person on your list last year (I know someone who was at the register when the realization was made), here are the jerseys that promise to be big hits down at the Jake this year.

Following the premise of the famous
Benuardo platoon and adding the uniform numbers of the participants of the 2007 platoon, these jerseys are sure to turn some heads.


t-bone said...

how about the fact that jhonny grew an inch and a half in the offseason???

Cy Slapnicka said...

wait, i thought jhonny bats righty?

but now you're telling both he and you are switch hitters?

Paul Cousineau said...

I'm not sure where I said Jhonny is LH or is a switch hitter.

As for his growth spurt, maybe Peralta is the only Latin American player whose birth certificate was doctored to make him OLDER and he is, in fact, 17 years old.

Cy Slapnicka said...

i was referring to tim's comment and suggesting that the comment indicated both he and jhonny were switch hitters.

cue brokeback guitar strum....