July 24, 2006

If This Doesn't Convince Brian Cashman to Make the Trade, Nothing Will

According to ESPN, the White Sox are close to a trade for Alfonso Soriano. I'm sorry to hear it, because I've always liked Soriano and was hoping he'd end up back in New York - he loves it here and he's a terrific hitter, skinny, 'roid-free, and full of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, as many people have pointed out recently, his few walks are a rare and mystical occasion, apparently depending on the cycles of the moon and the alignment of the planets, whereas his strikeouts are reliably frequent. But I have another reason to want him back, namely that I still have a Soriano t-shirt from 2001, and I'd really like to be able to wear it to the Stadium again without feeling like a tool. My other Yankee shirts are Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez, so I say fuck the on-base percentage and bring back Sori, before I'm forced to shell out another $25 for a Posada shirt and jinx him into retirement.

The YES broadcasters just reminded me that Kevin Mench's name is also coming up in trade rumors. I don't think he's actually Jewish, but nevertheless, a guy named Mench should probably be playing in New York.


jerseygirl said...

Only if broadcaster John Sterling, whenever the new guy homers (not an everyday occurrence, I grant you), yells, "Menschlichkeit!" Instead of something lame like, "The Mighty Mench!" which is far more likely.

Emma said...

I admit I had to look that one up ("humanity" if anyone else was wondering), but I completely agree. That seems like a lot to ask for from John "Absolutely Damon-ic!" Sterling... but I bet we could get Michael Kay to say it.

Devine said...

Psssst...Soriano has 43 walks this year so far. His previous SEASON-high...38. OBP still not great, but you know, pretty good.

Also...31 homers so far this year, 39 in his best year (as I recall, that was the year he almost went 40/40 but seemed to push too hard the last week or two for that 40th homer). Unsurprisingly, his slugging this season is also a good distance above anything he's ever had so far.

So...uh...go White Sox?

I think both the top two teams in the AL East oughta be looking for pitching arms, though, and both probably starters. I mean, who the fuck is Kason Gabbard (a Sox prospect)? And that Ponson thing? There's clearly some desperation from both teams to get some effective pitching in there.

Emma said...

43 walks, yes... and 88 strikeouts. That's still not pretty (11th in the NL, in fact). But I'm not saying he isn't an excellent hitter despite that--I'd be happy to have him.

I agree about pitching being the priority, too, but there just don't seem to be many decent pitchers available. The A's would demand Theo Epstein's firstborn son for Barry Zito.

By the way, when I saw the name "Kason Gabbard" I assumed it was a typo. But no. It's been a strange season.

Devine said...

But I think strikeouts are pretty tremendously overrated as bad things compared with other outs. When are they bad?

Runner at 2nd with 0 outs, no advance on the strikeout when an advance would put them in position for a sac fly. (If it's 1 out, dude on second, who cares if you move him to 3rd on a deep flyout for the second out? Still takes a hit to score him after all...except for wild pitches and whatnot, but I'd call those exceptions relatively negligible.)

Runner at 3rd with 1 out or less, no score on the strikeout. After that, it gets iffy on how bad a strikeout is. They're certainly better than a ground ball at a fielder with a man on 1st and 1 out or less. And with 2 outs, an out is an out is the end of the (half-)inning and what does it matter if he struck out or flew to the warning track?

But I've never read Moneyball or anything like that, so it's only my "instinct" that speaks to this. Care to enlighten me?

Emma said...

Well, I believe the conventional (neo-conventional?) wisdom here is that other kinds of outs give a runner the chance to advance, or fielders the chance to make an error -- that is, when you put the ball in play, you have more opportunities to make things happen, whereas when you strike out no one's going anywhere. But of course some of that is offset by double plays, and how much difference exactly, in concrete terms, any of this makes over the course of a full season is a question for someone who's better at statistical analysis than me. I'll consult Baseball Prospectus and get back to you...

Devine said...

Yeah, it's true that strikeouts do eliminate the chance the fielder will miss the ball. Had not considered that part of it.

All this yammering from me aside, I certainly FEEL better or worse (depending on whether it's the pitcher or batter I'm rooting for) when the batter strikes out.

pops said...

Besides, Soriano is older than most of us think. He's in his early 30's. He's anothe Yankee who evokes that sweet time long ago (two years) when watching a game did not provoke so much anxiety. Time to look ahead, think differently, bring in new people.