Author: Craig Calcaterra

Division Series - Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

The Orioles will give Nelson Cruz a qualifying offer


The Orioles have been talking to — or at least trying to talk to — Nelson Cruz about a long term deal. That hasn’t borne fruit yet, so now a little pressure: Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles plan to make a qualifying offer to Cruz.

The qualifying offer this year is $15.3 million, and if he is given such an offer, anyone who signs Cruz would owe the O’s a pick. Last year Cruz had a hard time finding work, partially because he was tainted with the Biogenesis stuff, partially because had a qualifying offer attached to him. He ended up signing with the O’s for a bargain basement $8 million.

The question now is whether anyone would be willing to offer him any sort of deal that would pay him $15.3 million+ in 2015 if it means having to give up a draft pick for him. Yes, he had a big year — 40 homers and a .525 slugging percentage — but it was also only the second season in his career where he played as many as 130 games, it was by far his most productive year and it came at age 34.

A lot of people gambled wrong on Nelson Cruz last winter. But would you gamble on that happening again, in a season in which he’ll turn 35? And would you gamble twice as much plus a draft pick that it’ll happen?

David Eckstein responds to the baseball blogosphere which has hated on him so

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David Eckstein is an odd case. People forget this, but when he was a prospect he was much-loved by the stat-boy set. And throughout his career, he got on base at a healthy clip. It was his playoff exploits that gained him the reputation as a “scrappy” guy — way more the fault of broadcasters and the media than anything he did himself — then people turned on him because, well, I was never really clear on that. I’m pretty sure he was merely a pawn in media/analysis pissing match.

But Eckstein was a fine player. He just didn’t have much power in a power-happy era and no one in the sabermetric world gave credit for durability and defense like they should have back then. It happened a lot back then and it resulted in people heaping hate on Eckstein.

Good thing he’s a good sport about it. Like here, via the MLB Fan Cave, where Eckstein reads some of the hate that was thrown on him by the baseball blogosphere over the years.

*Craig checks to make sure nothing he wrote about Eckstein made the list; sees none did; exhales*

Royals shirt of the day

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I don’t much go in for “WE’RE NUMBER ONE!” fandom. Even when the Braves won the World Series in 1995, the merch I bought was decidedly modest. One “World Series Champs” shirt and then just more logo stuff. Being a sports fan — at least one with a modicum of dignity — requires self-awareness. Your team likely sucked once. It will certainly suck again in the future. Enjoy your moment, but don’t overdo it.

Which is why I love this so much. It’s absolutely perfect:

If they have back-to-back good seasons they can print some up that say “my word, once again we, shockingly, do not suck.”

Who’s for a 269-game World Series? Anyone? Anyone?

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This morning and yesterday we talked about anomalies and random chance and how someone who wins four out of seven games may not be the “best” even if they are wonderful and worthy of celebration.

In the comments to this morning’s post our friend Indaburg, with help from Leonard Mlodinow, noted just how many games we’d truly need in order to determine the better team, statistically speaking:

Leonard Mlodinow who wrote The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives makes an interesting case whether or not a best of 7 series is sufficient to determine which is the better team. He says no.

“…if one team is good enough to warrant beating another in 55% of its games, the weaker team will nevertheless win a 7-game series about 4 times out of 10. And if the superior team could beat its opponent, on average, 2 out of 3 times they meet, the inferior team will still win a 7-game series about once every 5 match-ups. There is really no way for a sports league to change this. In the lopsided 2/3-probability case, for example, you’d have to play a series consisting of at minimum the best of 23 games to determine the winner with what is called statistical significance, meaning the weaker team would be crowned champion 5 percent or less of the time. And in the case of one team’s having only a 55-45 edge, the shortest significant “world series” would be the best of 269 games, a tedious endeavor indeed! So sports playoff series can be fun and exciting, but being crowned “world champion” is not a reliable indication that a team is actually the best one. (p. 70-71)”

Anyone for a best of 269 World Series? How about best of 23? Anyone? Anyone?

I’d be cool with a 269-game series. I’d prefer we not have Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci doing the color commentary and, for the sake of my sleep schedule, I’d want some day games mixed in. But really, let’s do this thing.

VIdeo: Mike Moustakas was ridiculous last night

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In the event you didn’t get to see last night’s Orioles-Royals game, this is what you missed.

Small ball? Homers? Who gives a crap when you can pick it like that?