Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Indefensible If True

  • J.J. Putz unloads on the Mets:

Former Mets reliever J.J. Putz went off on a rant against his former club in an interview with a Chicago website----NY Times Story----in which he called the entire season a "mess from the very beginning" and claimed to have never even had a physical before the trade was completed. He also says that the Mets convinced him to pitch through the pain of a bone spur in his elbow.

There are several levels to consider with this newest attack on the Mets.

If Putz didn't require surgery following the 2008 season, the injury couldn't have been that severe; but if he indeed went to the club with discomfort and the allusion by Putz is accurate, then there's no defense for that. In fact, it's inexplicable.

According to the linked article, players generally don't have physicals before trades are completed and even if Putz had taken a physical afterwards, what difference would it have made? The trade was completed; and if he said he was able to pitch through the bone spurs, then what was the club supposed to do? He was cleared to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, so one would have to assume he was healthy enough to pitch.

The Mets truly need to take a look at their injury/medical protocol and reconsider how things are done. My question is why were there never these repeated allegations of cluelessness in 2006-2008 when the club was in contention and was one of the healthier rosters in baseball? But even with that, there's no way of defending the Mets if things were truly as disconnected as Putz says and it must be addressed.

As for Putz, he was never happy as a Met from minute one. Had the club contended, stayed healthy and he was able to do the job he was acquired to do, it all would've been fine; but Putz wanted to close. All he did was whine privately about how he couldn't get the same buzz as a set-up man that he did as a closer. This would've been fine had he not been receiving and collecting his paycheck to do a job. If he was so badly injured that his bone spur was diminishing his velocity and control, how effective would he have been as a closer with that "buzz"?

Regardless of the contretemps with the club continuing like a hailstorm and the lukewarm defenses the Mets are providing for this latest media dissection of their operation, they had to perform their due diligence in acquiring a pitcher with a known medical issue, and they didn't.

One question I have is why so many people are still ravaging the club for taking a more cautious approach toward players of questionable health after what happened last year? Did anyone really want them to outbid the Athletics for Ben Sheets with his injury rap sheet? Or make a move on Erik Bedard, who no one else wants either? Or Chien-Ming Wang, who's a worthwhile risk, but may not be ready to pitch in the majors until June?

What do they want? It's either/or. Roll the dice on an injured player and hope he's healthy; or play it safe, bide their time and see what happens as the season moves along. It's open season and there are few stories to write about. Nothing to write about? Let's dig for some more stuff on the Mets.

  • Viewer Mail 2.2.2010:

Onix writes RE PECOTA/Projection Systems and me:

2009 projections report:

PECOTA - avg. difference of 6 wins per team, 6 of 30 predictions off by 10+ wins

Prince - avg. difference of 8 wins per team, 12 of 30 predictions off by 10+ wins

Do you really want to hammer on PECOTA for its lack of accuracy?

I enjoy this site. It's like FoxNews of baseball sites. You keep harping on the one thing you get right (Marlins) and ignoring the many many many things you do not.

I was prepared to fire back myself, but my troops beat me to the punch. Here they come. Duck.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes:

The Fox News of blogs. Hmm. I was going to say something about Ian Kennedy, but I need to ponder Onix's comment first.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes:

Doesn't PECOTA harp on their big win too (the 2008 Rays)?

If this site is like Fox News then can I be Sarah Palin? In my rendition, she will not only be attractive, but SMART too!

Beeeebzy at Pretty In Pinstripes writes:

This Onix fella's a friggin' GENIUS. Using Stat Zombieism to counter an attack on Stat Zombies? Genius. It's like fighting fire with a TI-83 graphic calculator.
His argument blew my mind.

And comparing this site to Fox News? Genius. I bow down to him because I am not worthy. I guess that's why he felt the freedom to share his statistical expertise on this site. Since he likens it to Fox News:

"The Special Olympics is to winners as FOX News is to experts. If you show up, you are one." - Jon Stewart

Onix showed up, therefore he is an expert.

How dare you question his number-crunching skills? You infidels!
So what if the only wood he's handled in relation to baseball is the pencil he uses to punch in numbers on his calculator. SO WHAT? Does that make him less knowledgeable about the sport than those who have had years of experience playing it? NO! Logically, according to an algorithm created by Baseball Prospectus, never having played baseball makes you more knowledgeable than former baseball players by a ratio of Infinity to 1.

While you all are busy following baseball games and gaining a deeper understanding of the nature of the sport, he's in a basement somewhere figuring out the 756208525072057th digit of Pi. So how dare you question his baseball knowledge?

We should all thank God for baseball experts like Onix. Without them, we wouldn't have ESPN.

Having said all of that, I doubt that Onix will appreciate the admiration for his analysis in my comment because, sadly, sarcasm is wasted on the stupid.

I think the message is becoming clearer that if you wanna get at me, you're gonna have to climb over a lot of people.

I am, of course, duty bound to retort as well.

The Fox News of blogs?

Since Fox News is essentially an infomerical for the radical right of the Republican Party and I'm an entity unto myself (or a natural disaster, whichever you prefer), it's barely worthy of effort to answer such an absurd allegation. If nothing else, the fact that so many people are still under the impression that I'm a Yankee fan should be a clear testimony to my objectivity; that I've defended people for whom I have little affinity the likes of Keith Law and Rob Neyer; and that I do use statistics in coming to my own conclusions.

Since Onix is such an avid fan of my work, one would think they he'd know that I spent a week in November on a series called "20/20 Hindsight"----here's an example----looking back on the entirety of my predictions with more in mind than simply "right" or "wrong" when it came to the club's records. Is that in the Stalin-style that is a hallmark of Fox News?

If anything exemplified that which is Fox News, it was during Election Night coverage in 2008 when Karl Rove was still trying to twist his numbers to find a path for John McCain to win and looked crestfallen and bewildered as if he'd just been rejected for a date by a blow up doll when Brit Hume interrupted Rove's mathematical creativity by informing him that Barack Obama had just been called as the winner in Ohio, essentially ending the story.

Rove reverted to that friendless high school loser who parlayed his alienation and inability to connect with other human beings into a lucrative and powerful career manipulating people regardless of truth or convictions. His gaping mouth, flopping comb-over and head recoiling into his neck in humiliation was reminiscent of a turtle who was searching for a place to hide.

Keen student of my work that you are, have I ever backtracked on any prediction? Explained away a wrong conclusion by blaming someone other than myself? Offering a specious caveat to defend myself or a fellow believer of my way of thinking? Can the stat zombies say the same?

It's also interesting to note that PECOTA changed their projections again!!!!

Is this going to be an everyday occurrence? Without any acknowledgement of their vacillation and self-serving alterations aside from the wimpy, "well, the numbers are floating and not static"?


Thanks for that.

What you and the other stat zombies fail to realize, understand or accept is that these are human beings you're dealing with. One of the reasons that the Padres degenerated into such a train wreck as they took Moneyball to its logical conclusion; why the Dodgers were demolished under Paul DePodesta is that you have no comprehension of anything other than what pops out of your calculators; that when you send the message that the players are merely chattel to be shuttled around and dispatched as soon as one whose OBP is a shade higher; whose number of "pitches seen" is slightly higher than his predecessor, they'll be gone.

This is just as faulty a way to build an organization as teams like the Royals who ignore statistics entirely.

If you want to take a look at little more than the bottom line of a number of predicted wins as PECOTA does; if you want to focus on computerized projections to "prove" or "disprove" someone's accuracy, there's no way I can argue with you. It's similar to the repeated statement that I was "lucky" in my picks of the Marlins, Rays and Giants last year to win the number of games that they did and being close to right. There's no response if you haven't actually read my book. (And that's not a sales pitch----read it or don't, I don't care.)

Did PECOTA mention that Roy Haladay would quietly ask to be traded, for example?

If you want analysis based on little more than what the numbers say, then you have no use for me to begin with, so it makes little sense to read what I write unless you're looking for a reason to attack me. That's fine. I'll print the comments, respond to, and debate with anyone at any time; and most likely win on my own merits rather than with some partisan-fueled, pompous, arrogant and condescending dismissal; or a simple ignoring of reality to push forth my agenda----sort of like the way Fox News does on their "news" network.


Jeff said...

Ya know, Putz looks like the type of guy who'd stab me in the back. I'm not surprised by his comments at all -- true or false.

As for the FoxNews/StatZombie retort... I think the line about Halladay sums it up nicely. Now, if you will excuse me, much maniacal cackling is required.

Gabriel said...

I'm sorry about my abscense, Boss.

The comments made by Putz remind me of a situation here in the Mexican Football League. Some guy by the name of Carmona was caught doping while he was playing on the National team, got suspended, then caught again in a local major league team. He was suspended for life, and now he sued the Mexican Football Federation, threating to talk about all the dirt inside the national team. I believe Putz it's just angry at the Mets because he does not have a big contract to close, and it's february already.

Gabriel said...

I'm sorry, I meant threatening.

She-Fan said...

The other day a guy called me the Sarah Palin of bloggers because my posts were so clueless. I was going to take it as an insult, but maybe he meant I should run for President. Hmm.

Joe said...


Pecota beat you. It wouldn't be such a big deal if you didn't thrash it every chance you get. But when you are defeated, you instead attack "stat zombies" rather than admit that you were wrong. You made a few good predictions, it made a few good predictions. It won in the end.

And sure, It didn't know that Halladay might asked to be traded. But that isn't what it is trying to do. You think anyone solely uses Pecota? Anywhere? They would be so far behind if they relied on nothing else but a computer projection system. And to rely on only one? That would be even dumber.