Facing uncertain future, Dye open to move to first base

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dye fielding.jpgWe still have so much to learn about defense, but one thing just about everybody can agree on now is that free agent Jermaine Dye isn’t any good in right field at this stage of his career.
Given the nature of the concepts used to measure defense and the smaller sample sizes being dealt with, stats rarely show a great deal of consistency from year to year. Dye is one extremely notable exception:
UZR
2006: -22.5
2007: -21.6
2008: -19.4
2009: -20.0
According to UZR, Dye has cost his team almost exactly 20 runs per year for four seasons running. There’s little doubt that he started his career as a fine defensive outfielder, but he had already declined considerably even before suffering a broken leg in the 2001 postseason. UZR says he was still acceptable until 2005, but that he’s been such a liability since that he was actually a sub-replacement player in 2007 and 2009.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old Dye can likely still contribute with the bat. While he finished last season in a brutal slump that dropped his OPS to 793, he came in at .302/.375/.567 with 20 homers in the first half. He hit .292/.344/.541 with 34 homers in 2008.
He’s also probably capable of making the switch to first base. He lacks an outfielder’s range, but he still moves around OK. Standing 6-foot-5, he’d certainly present a nice target for infielders.
That Dye is clearly open to the idea now makes him a far more attractive free agent target than he was a week ago. It should also help his case that every other notable free agent first baseman hits left-handed. It’d make him a better fit with the Braves or Orioles, two teams relying a great deal on left-handed power. The Mets, Giants and Mariners are others that could consider him at first base.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

att park getty
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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.