Scott Boras is right to compare Prince Fielder to Mark Teixeira


Yesterday agent Scott Boras compared impending free agent Prince Fielder to Mark Teixeira, a fellow client and slugging first baseman who got an eight-year, $180 million contract from the Yankees as a free agent two offseasons ago.
Boras did his usual hyperbolic thing, talking up Fielder as a future Hall of Famer and suggesting 20 teams would be willing to take Teixeira’s contract off the Yankees’ hands. He also once compared Oliver Perez to Sandy Koufax, so clearly anything he says should be taken with Fielder-sized grains of salt.
However, the Teixeira-Fielder comparison is actually a pretty reasonable one. First, here’s a look at how Fielder’s career numbers right now compare to Teixeira’s career numbers at the time of his free agency:

CAREER           G       PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     OPS+
Teixeira       904     3931     .290     .378     .541     134
Fielder        764     3201     .281     .383     .544     141

Fielder has played fewer games, but he’ll close that gap somewhat during the second half and in terms of all-around offensive production he has a slight edge over Teixeira in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and adjusted OPS+. Also of note is that Fielder will be 27 years old when he hits the open market, whereas Teixeira was 29.
Of course, career numbers don’t necessarily tell an accurate story, so let’s focus on what Fielder has done in the past three seasons compared to what Teixeira did in the three seasons before his free agency:

THREE YEARS      G       PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     OPS+
Teixeira       451     1987     .298     .393     .541     141
Fielder        410     1810     .283     .394     .542     148

Basically identical numbers, with Fielder holding a very slight edge. And finally, here’s a look at what Fielder has done this season compared to what Teixeira did in the season before his free agency:

PAST YEAR        G       PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     OPS+
Teixeira       157      685     .308     .410     .552     152
Fielder         89      397     .265     .401     .494     142

Teixeira finally tops Fielder here, although it’s worth noting that since getting off to a very slow start Fielder has hit .278/.413/.557 with 18 homers in the past 64 games.
Based strictly on their hitting Fielder has been slightly better than Teixeira was prior to his free agency and he’s also two years younger, which is significant. On the other hand, the scale tips back in Teixeira’s favor when it comes to defense and body type. Teixeira’s edge defensively is at least as big as Fielder’s edge offensively, and obviously there are all kinds of questions about how well Fielder will age at his weight.
I don’t think Fielder will come close to getting $180 million on the open market, in part because the baseball economy has changed since Teixeira signed his deal and in part because he likely won’t have the Yankees bidding for his services. With that said, for once a Boras comparison is actually pretty reasonable.

Veteran’s Committee candidates for the Hall of Fame announced

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the candidates for Veterans Committee consideration for the 2016 Hall induction class. The VC sorts its ballot by era, with each year’s candidates representing a different part of baseball history. Up for consideration: Pre-Integration Era candidates.

Here are the candidates, with short bios paraphrased from the Hall of Fame’s actual press release because, really, who alive who is not a baseball historian is super-familiar with many of these guys?

Doc Adams: a member of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845 who helped standardize the game’s tools and contributed to the establishment of the shortstop position. May actually be the inventor of “grit.” I mean, I don’t know this for sure, but he is a white shortstop, so . . .

Sam Breadon: Owned the Cardinals from 1920 until 1947. Hired Branch Rickey and helped create the blueprint for the modern farm system with minor league clubs owned or controlled by the parent club. Which, to be fair, wasn’t necessarily the best deal for a lot of folks, even if it was a good deal for baseball owners.

Bill Dahlen: Shortstop from 1891-1911 for the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. He was a power hitter for his era. Not that his era was known for power. When he retired he was the All-Time Home Run King. With . . . 84.

Wes Ferrell: Pitched for 15 seasons from 1927-1941, compiling a 193-128 record for a lot of teams, though doing his best work for Boston. A six-time 20-game winner, including winning 25 games twice. As far as wins/ERA politics go, he was Jack Morris before Jack Morris and was probably a good bit better than Jack Morris.

Garry Herrmann: President of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927 and chairman of baseball’s ruling National Commission from 1903 to 1920. Gets credit for helping bring the AL and NL together and starting the World Series. Demerits for running a conflict-of-interest-riddled National Commission which was disbanded in favor of the Commissioner system following the Black Sox Scandal, maybe?

Marty Marion: Thirteen seasons in the majors, 1940-50, 1952-53, batting .263 with 36 home runs and 624 RBI at shortstop. Mostly with the Cardinals. Was named the 1944 N.L. MVP Award winner, twice also finishing in the top 10. Considered one of the best fielding shortstops of his era. His prime almost perfectly coincided with the war years, which may have taken the shine off of some of his offensive numbers during that stretch, but he was considered a top shortstop, at least with the glove, for a long time after the war too.

Frank McCormick: Eight-time All-Star and the 1940 National League Most Valuable Player with the Reds. A first baseman, his comps are Sean Casey-types.

Harry Stovey: An outfielder in the National League and the American Association in the 1880s and 1890s, leading his league in home runs five times and runs scored four times. His pic at the Hall of Fame site is of a wood engraving. Baseball is old, you guys.

Chris von der Ahe: Owned the original St. Louis Browns franchise – now the Cardinals – from 1881 through 1899 “and demonstrated his visionary qualities with entertainment options at games.” No word on whether he invented The Cardinal Way.

Bucky Walters: Pitched 19 seasons in the major leagues, from 1934-1950, compiling a 198-160 lifetime record. Mostly with the Reds. Won 27 games once. Was the MVP as a pitcher in 1939, which is pretty sweet.

As the Hall notes, Dahlen, Ferrell, Marion, McCormick, Stovey and Walters are included for their contributions as players, the other four are inclusions for their off-field careers.

The Pre-Integration Era ballot is determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee of the Hall of Fame, which is comprised of several historians and journalists. They are: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerlyBaltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (; Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

The results of the voting will be announced at the Winter Meetings in early December.

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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