Archive for June, 2006

Tuesday: 06.20.2006

Radio Show Debut: Tonight

The Baseball At Night radio show that I’m a co-host on debuts tonight from 7pm-8pm CST on 91.7 FM in Austin, or for those on the web. The number to call in is 512-495-5879.

Monday: 06.19.2006

Brew Crew Preview


After demolishing the Rays and Cubs, the Tigers head to Milwaukee for a 3-game set before a day off on Thursday. Coming into the season, the Brewers were kind of like the Tigers of the National League in that they had some legitimate expectations for success and could exceed even those if things broke right. So far, Detroit is having things break quite right, but the Brewers have been up and down. Currently, they are on an upswing winning 7 of their last 10 to claw back to even at 35-35. They can’t seem to get their full compliment of starting pitchers as Ben Sheets just can’t stay healthy. Tomo Ohka has also made just six starts this season. All together, the Brewers have had 10 pitchers made starts. They will make it 11 when Rick Helling goes against Zach Miner tomorrow.

Three pitchers have started 15 times including tonight’s starter, Doug Davis. He has struggled this year due in large part to 49 walks and 90 hits allowed in 87 inning (1.60 WHIP). His ERA has been below 5.00 just once since April 18th and currently sits at 5.07. His strikeouts per nine rated has dropped 2.1 this season to 6.4, but he still has the ability to rack them up if the Tigers aren’t patient. Helling is coming off of the 60-day disabled list having pitched just twice this year. The 35-year old had a fine season switching between starting and relieving last year. In 49 innings, he was 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 2.3 K:BB. He has never been very good against Detroit, but this team is much different than any of the previous ones he’s faced. Brewers ace Chris Capuano toes the rubber Wednesday afternoon in a lefty vs. lefty showdown against Nate Robertson. Capuano has really come into his own this season. Though good in 2005, he still had 91 walks (3.7/9) leading to a 1.38 WHIP. In 15 starts this season, he has just 23 walks (2.1/9) and 93 strikeouts (8.3/9). He hasn’t gone fewer than six innings in any start and he has given up more than three runs just once (six on May 31st). Capuano has a devastating pickoff move, but for a team that runs as little as Detroit, that isn’t a great concern.

The bullpen has not been a strength for the Brewers allowing a National League-worst 135 runs. Only Kansas City (170) and Tampa Bay (137) have been worse. With a 1.43 WHIP and 5.00 earned run average, the Tigers need to focus on getting to that pen as soon as possible, especially against Capuano. Closer Derrick Turnbow has already matched his 2005 total of four blown saves this year. He hasn’t given up a run since June 3rd, a span covering seven appearances. Jose Capelllan, Dan Kolb, and Matt Wise are used most frequently, but all have been susceptible to blow ups with a combined earned run average of 4.05.

The hitters for Milwaukee have some of the best young talent in all of baseball. Anchored by Carlos Lee, who turns 30 tomorrow, this lineup can go on home run stretches that the Tigers are used to seeing from their lineup. Adding to Lee’s power are Prince Fielder and Bill Hall. Geoff Jenkins has been a 25+ HR hitter in the past, but this year is on pace for just 16. He followed a blazing April with a horrible May and appears to be evening out in June since moving out of third in the lineup. He has managed seven hits in 14 at-bats since the move. Rickie Weeks and Brady Clark are the catalysts at the top both boasting on-base percentages right near .380. Weeks will keep Pudge and Vance Wilson alert with his quality base-stealing ability, but Clark continues his 2005 troubles with two steals in five tries. Last year, he was just 10-for-23 (44%). Corey Koskie has hit .296 over the past week and has always been good against Detroit from his days with Minnesota and Toronto. In 91 games, he has a .300/.384/.498 batting line with 13 home runs and 13 steals. Gabe Gross is their go-to man for power off the bench with three pinch-hit home runs.

Wrap Up
The Tigers have won eight of 10 and have a chance to continue their roll against the Brewers. They are a formidable opponent, especially with Capuano on the mound, but there is a great opportunity to take at least two out of three for the series victory. Only the White Sox have scored more than Detroit’s 44 runs in the last week. Their 10 home runs, all against the Cubs this weekend, is American League’s highest seven-day total. I think a series win is in order and I’d love to see them beat an ace like Capuano on Wednesday.

Monday: 06.19.2006

Jeremy Piven Does the 7th Inning.

During the hammering of the Cubs yesterday, Entourage’s Jeremy Piven did the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley. If you’ve been coming here for any stretch of time, you probably know how much I love Entourage, so I was pleased to listen to him in the press box for an inning or so. He comes across very well as he appears to be having the time of his life with all the fame associated with his role as Ari Gold. He talked about some upcoming projects including Smokin’ Aces and Keeping Up with the Steins. Piven has become someone whose projects I’ll see just because he is in it, so I’ll definitely watch both of those movies at some point. He seemed to have a nervous energy in the booth. It wasn’t that he was in awe of being there, but you could tell it was something that he never really thought he’d be popular enough to do and now with the chance, he truly embraced it. Basically, Jeremy Piven is the man!

Sunday: 06.18.2006

Father’s Day

I’d like to take a quick second to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day. He is easily the best father ever with some of the finest offspring around. Without my dad’s love of baseball, I doubt that I would have developed my passion for the game. I remember going through his older baseball cards on more than one occasion as I strived to build a collection rivaling his. I remember one summer in particular that we collected the 1987 Topps set together. It’s the set with the wood bordering, the prize of the set being on the far right:

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My dad showed me his 20+ Darryl Strawberry rookies that contain more worth being sold as bicycle spokes noise makers than they do at a trade show these days, he showed me his 1961 Roger Maris, his Cal Ripken Jr. rookie, and this Eddie Matthews card from 1959 among many others.

My dad also taught me how to own my future opponents at Around the World after beating me hundreds of times in our backyard back in Michigan. It was during those games that I learned that you better call board if you’re going to use the backboard, otherwise you will be denied credit! He, of course, also took me to my first ballgame at Tiger Stadium. Thanks to the wonders of, I was able to find the boxscore and play-by-play of the first game that I remember attending. At age 5, this wasn’t the first game that I ever went to, just the first one I remember.

For my dad and I, sports are a great landscape upon which our relationship flourishes. Consider that we both more or less hate talking on the phone with people, yet we’ll have regular hourlong conversations about our teams and the goings-on in sports. Living almost 400 miles away means I don’t go home much (or as often as I should my mom would say), and my dad isn’t exactly an email kind of guy so we have to use the phone.

That isn’t to say he’s computer illiterate, not by a longshot, or else he wouldn’t be able to (fiercely) compete in our fantasy baseball league. I remember when I first started getting involved in the league, usually just watching the live draft in our living room until I finally joined as a teenager. Each summer I followed the players of both my mom’s and dad’s teams eagerly awaiting the weekly update my dad would bring home from work after he and his co-workers pulled the numbers from USA Today and plugged them into Lotus 1-2-3. Could you imagine having to wait a week at a time for standings updates?

My first solo draft is still referenced at least five times a year by my parents. Finally free to choose who I wanted, when I wanted I selected Mike MacFarlane in the fifth round. I won’t bore you with full details of the league setup and keepers, let’s just say it was a bit of a reach. I believe the error in judgement occured in 1994 and MacFarlane was on the heels of a 20-HR season at catcher, so I snapped him up. In the strike-shortened season, he hit 14 home runs with 47 runs batted in and a .255 average, in other words not a fifth round pick.

Ok, enough of the nostalgia, I could tell a hundred more stories about memories I have related to my father and sports, but the point is, I love him and he’s a great, great man.

Saturday: 06.17.2006

Cubs Shmubs!

Take that Carlos Marmol (henceforth referred to as Carmel in this space)! Justin Verlander was far from flawless (putting on 12 in five and two-thirds), but he was plenty good enough against the hapless North Siders. Half of Detroit’s 14 hits went for extra bases including two triples. Let’s hope the Tigers welcome Mark Prior to the 2006 season with 14 more hits. By the way, tomorrow is Father’s Day and the Tigers enter it at 45-24!!! Happy Hour awaits.

Saturday: 06.17.2006

Selig Writes Us.

In case you missed, here’s Commissioner Bud Selig’s letter to the fans:

An Open Letter to Baseball Fans
From Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Office of the Commissioner

Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Commissioner of Baseball

Dear Baseball Fans:

Major League Baseball has had record attendance for two years running and may set another record this year. It’s early, but pennant and wild-card races are competitive throughout our divisions. Baseball is enjoying a golden age of fan support and excitement. Our great game has never been more popular.

Yet, despite the good news in Baseball, there are problems. I was disappointed and angered by revelations that a Major League player had acknowledged using human growth hormone (HGH), a performance-enhancing substance banned by Major League Baseball, and had said that others were using HGH as well.

Seven-hundred-fifty great athletes play Major League Baseball. The overwhelming majority are hard-working, honorable individuals who play to win the right way. But among the seven-hundred-fifty, there have been and still are those who would cheat the game to gain an advantage. They hurt not only themselves, but they unfairly raise questions about the integrity of their teammates who play by the rules and they violate the trust placed in them by you, the fans. These players who use performing-enhancing substances offend all of us who care for the game and I will not tolerate their actions.

These individuals break the rules of baseball. But the use of steroids, human growth hormone, and other performance-enhancing drugs in this manner is also against the law. The investigative abilities of the F.B.I. are powerful and baseball players are no different than anyone else in our society. If you break the law, you put yourself at risk.

I am committed to protecting our game. The Office of Commissioner of Baseball was created nearly 86 years ago to ensure the integrity of America’s pastime. I know my duty is to uphold that great tradition.

Last year Major League Baseball and its players agreed to the toughest drug testing and penalty program for steroids in all of professional sports. We are proud of what we have accomplished. We ban and test for amphetamines. And, human growth hormone is banned as well. We have cracked down and will continue to crack down on steroid users, but the use of HGH represents a threat to all sports everywhere.

Christiane Ayotte, the head of the Montreal Olympic testing lab, acknowledged this in an interview with “USA Today” last week. She said: “We know growth hormone is a problem. No sport is testing currently for HGH because (the test) is not available. If the test kit was available, it would only be effective for out-of-competition testing.”

The writers of the “USA Today” story added that while there is a blood test for HGH, “…because antibodies necessary for the process are in such short supply, virtually no HGH testing is conducted. In addition, the test only detects HGH right after injection so it’s impractical for in-competition testing. As a result, there never has been an HGH positive.”

As Commissioner, I won’t be deterred and will do everything I can to try to keep up with or even stay ahead of those who break the law and break our rules. But I suspect there will always be a few players who seek new ways to violate the rules, no matter how many we have and how often we toughen them. I also know that science can provide new ways to combat them and I will rely on our experts to keep on top of the science as it develops.

In the meantime, I want you to know that Major League Baseball is taking steps to address the issue. We are committed to funding a study of HGH and how to detect it. The study will be conducted by Dr. Don Catlin, a leading expert in the medical testing field. Also, we are willing to make additional contributions to fund other studies to determine how to detect HGH and are currently reaching out to experts in the field to ascertain what other studies can immediately begin. We invite other foundations, unions, sports and the Congress of the United States to join us in pursuing the detection and deterrence of HGH use.

The goal of Baseball is simple. It’s a game that is to be won or lost on the field as a result of the natural talents of the game’s remarkable athletes. I will do everything possible to make sure that this one goal can always be met.

Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Commissioner of Baseball

Link to the USA Today article that Selig referenced.

As for the actual content, it doesn’t stir me one way or the other. I’m not a huge fan of Selig, but I also feel he takes a lot more heat than he deserves. The only thing I glean from this letter is that he wanted to make it publicly known that he is aware of the Jason Grimsely-HGH mess thereby confirming that he doesn’t live under a rock. When I first saw the letter, I was immediately reminded of something I recently read regarding open letters.

Friday: 06.16.2006

Ian Snell is Black.

Are you ever surprised when you finally see a player and your mental image is completely different? There’s nothing wrong with him not being the white guy I pictured, just something that strikes you once you find out. I remember someone once said that they were surprised when they discovered Garret Anderson wasn’t white. More to the point, Snell and Francisco Liriano are engaged in a helluva battle in PNC Park. Liriano battled Jack Wilson in a great at-bat, but eventually Wilson won out and hit a 2-run homer on Liriano’s 10th offering of the at-bat after five straight foul balls. Liriano just struck out the side giving him eight for the night. With one of the best 1-2 combos leading their staff and finally a major league lineup in place, the Twins may end up spending the second half as spoilers just on the cusp contention. Regardless, with Liriano and Johan Santana atop their rotation, they aren’t long for the cellar.

Thursday: 06.15.2006

Miner Declares Major.

And it’s pitching! How did no one use that headline when he was promoted? It seems so easy. At any rate, Zach Miner went seven strong giving the Tigers three of four from the Devil Rays as they get set for interleague play. With their 43rd win, the team matched their 2003 season total! There was some talk over at DTW regarding the big record against inferior teams and middling record against the elite.

While I have been at the forefront of those (whiners?) suggesting the team needs to win against the big boys, I am plenty ok with this trend moving forward. My biggest gripe with the losses to the upper echelon of teams was the way some were lost late. If Tigers can hang at or above .500 against the best of the best and crush the garbage, then they will contend all year. Three of four from Tampa Bay is nice, the only reason I could see being at all upset is that all four were there on our plate.

Here are a few pieces on the Tigers, specifically Justin Verlander:

Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus breaks down Verlander (subscription required).

Steve DiMeglio of USAToday discusses Verlander’s rise prominence this season.

Thursday: 06.15.2006

Why Are You Here?

Who’s your Tiger?
Is it the homophobic gascan that can’t close a door much less a ball game?
Is it the overpaid pile of a crap that was inexplicably signed in the off-season?
Is it the stupid jackass paying more attention to non-creative hecklers than he is getting out of an inning?
My Tiger isn’t, nor will ever be, Todd Jones.

Wednesday: 06.14.2006

Trade Redux: 2004

Two days after moving ace Tim Hudson, the Oakland Athletics management team made sure the entire league knew they were serious about re-tooling by trading Mark Mulder. Both pitchers were pieces of the heralded Big Three, completed by current Athletics pitcher Barry Zito. I think it’s inappropriately categorized as rebuilding, as the team remained competitive, but they did experience their third straight drop in wins in 2005. For Hudson, the Athletics received Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas from the Atlanta Braves, meanwhile Mulder netted them Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton from the St. Louis Cardinals. Five of the six remain in the organization, with Cruz having been traded for Brad Halsey in late March of this year. First, I’ll look at how to the two departing pitchers have fared since leaving the A’s, then a deeper look at the five they acquired that they still have as well as Halsey contribution so far this season.

Tim Hudson
The trade was a homecoming party for Hudson, who was born in Columbus, GA and grew up a Braves fan. At 29, he had put together six sparkling seasons as the Oakland ace, including a 20-win season and two sub-3.00 ERA campaigns. More importantly, Hudson racked up 1240 and 2/3 innings with a 1.22 WHIP, 2.4 K:BB ratio, and allowed 0.68 HR/9. So you can understand the Braves’ frustration when Hudson came over and shaved a mere 0.01 of off his ERA, added 0.09 to his WHIP, and packed on 21 more walks from his 2004 totals. Things haven’t gotten much better in terms of Hudson pitching like he did in Oakland for the Braves. A look at Hudson’s overall numbers through his last start this season:

1999 Oak 21 21 1 0 136.3 121 56 49 8 62 132 11 2 3.24 1.34 8.72 4.09 0.53
2000 Oak 32 32 2 2 202.3 169 100 93 24 82 169 20 6 4.14 1.24 7.52 3.65 1.07
2001 Oak 35 35 3 0 235 216 100 88 20 71 181 18 9 3.37 1.22 6.93 2.72 0.77
2002 Oak 34 34 4 2 238.3 237 87 79 19 62 152 15 9 2.98 1.25 5.74 2.34 0.72
2003 Oak 34 34 3 2 240 197 84 72 15 61 162 16 7 2.70 1.08 6.08 2.29 0.56
2004 Oak 27 27 3 2 188.7 194 82 74 8 44 103 12 6 3.53 1.26 4.91 2.10 0.38
2005 Atl 29 29 2 0 192 194 79 75 20 65 115 14 9 3.52 1.35 5.39 3.05 0.94
2006 Atl 14 14 2 1 93.7 88 44 39 6 30 63 6 4 3.79 1.26 6.05 2.88 0.58
Total   226 226 20 9 1526.3 1416 632 569 120 477 1077 112 52 3.36 1.24 6.35 2.81 0.71

Mark Mulder
Like the Braves, the Cardinals are wondering what Billy Beane knew that they didn’t (A quick sidenote: the Detroit Tigers took the Michigan State product in the 55th round (1455th overall) of the 1995 draft. He passed, went to the Spartans and ended up the 2nd overall to the A’s in 1998. Tough to argue with that decision!). A look at Mulder’s peripherals from 2004 suggest that the Cardinals should’ve treaded more cautiously when inquiring about the southpaw and thus it is no surprise that Beane & Co. were willing to take a capable starter, solid reliever, and top-flight prospect for him. In addition to raising his earned run average by more than 1 run, Mulder saw increases in his walks per nine innings, hits per nine, home runs per nine, and also predictably, his WHIP. He saw a similarly sharp decline strikeouts per nine. During his first season with the Cardinals, he saw another rise in hits per nine innings leading to another slight gan in WHIP. The strikeouts became even more scarce, but the earned run average declined due not only to a switch from the American to National League, but also drops in home runs per nine and walks per nine. The bottom has fallen out completely for Mulder thus far in 2006 as he totes an earned run average over 5.00 and his worst WHIP (1.43) since his rookie season. Mulder’s totals through his last start:

2000 Oak 27 27 0 0 154 191 106 93 22 69 88 9 10 5.44 1.69 5.14 4.03 1.29
2001 Oak 34 34 6 4 229.3 214 92 88 16 51 153 21 8 3.45 1.16 6.01 2.00 0.63
2002 Oak 30 30 2 1 207.3 182 88 80 21 55 159 19 7 3.47 1.14 6.90 2.39 0.91
2003 Oak 26 26 9 2 187.7 180 66 65 15 40 128 15 9 3.13 1.17 6.14 1.92 0.72
2004 Oak 33 33 5 1 226.7 223 119 111 25 83 140 17 8 4.43 1.35 5.56 3.30 0.99
2005 StL 32 32 3 2 205 212 90 83 19 70 111 16 8 3.64 1.38 4.87 3.07 0.83
2006 StL 13 13 0 0 81.3 90 50 47 14 26 42 5 4 5.20 1.43 4.65 2.88 1.55
Total   195 195 25 10 1291.3 1292 611 567 132 394 821 102 54 3.96 1.31 5.72 2.75 0.92

Ranking the six components that Oakland received would be something like this in my estimation:
1. Haren
2. Calero
3. Barton
4. Cruz-Halsey
5. Thomas
6. Meyer

Dan Haren
With 119 and 2/3 innings under his belt, the A’s knew they were adding a fresh, yet seasoned pitcher to their stable. Ranked the #1 prospect of the Cardinals in 2003, Haren dominated the Class AA Southern League before moving up to the AAA club. There he struggled, but still earned a call-up and started 14 games for the Cardinals. He pitched rather miserably in 72 2/3 innings with a 5.08 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. He started the 2004 league back in AAA with the Memphis Redbirds. He was solid in 21 starts and earned another trip up to the bigs. He pitched in 14 games again, but only five were starts and showing dramatic improvement. The move to Oakland secured his placement in the major leagues as he started 34 games and enjoyed a sparkling debut season in an A’s uniform. At age 25, he is in his second season with the A’s and firmly entrenched in their rotation. With the continued injury problems of Rich Harden, Haren assumes the #2 slot behind Barry Zito. If Zito as traded as daily rumors suggest he may be, Haren would become their ace while Harden heals. Haren also has his own blog over at that I have had linked since this site’s launch. You can check it out right here, meanwhile, here are his career numbers:

2003 StL 14 14 0 0 73.7 84 44 41 9 22 43 3 7 5.08 1.44 5.25 2.69 1.10
2004 StL 14 5 0 0 46 45 23 23 4 17 32 3 3 4.50 1.35 6.26 3.33 0.78
2005 Oak 34 34 3 0 217 212 101 90 26 53 163 14 12 3.73 1.22 6.76 2.20 1.08
2006 Oak 13 13 1 0 90.7 85 37 36 11 15 70 5 5 3.61 1.10 6.95 1.49 1.09
Total   75 66 4 0 425.3 426 205 190 50 107 308 25 27 4.02 1.25 6.52 2.26 1.06

Kiko Calero
Calero, like Mulder, has a Tigers sidenote as he was also drafted by them. In 1994, he was taken in the 41st Round (1142nd overall), but instead opted to wait two years and go in the 27th Round (799th overall) to the Kansas City Royals. He should’ve entered a third time given the state of those two teams during the mid-90s. Calero labored through seven minor league seasons before starting the 2003 season with the Cardinals. For his patience, he was rewarded with 26 appearances including a spot start. He answered the bell striking out 12 batters per nine innings and posting a 2.28 earned run average in 38 1/3 innings. He was even more impressive in 41 games the following season. He fanned 9.3 per nine yielded just 0.82 baserunners per inning to go with a 2.78 earned run average. Moving to Oakland, he remained an integral bullpen piece appearing in 58 games with 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The 30-year old continues to be Oakland’s bullpen workhorse already pitching in 31 games this season. His results have not been as good as the previous three years, but he continues to be effective:

2003 StL 26 38.1 29 12 12 5 20 51 1 1 2.82 1.29 12.05 4.72 1.18 1 1 3
2004 StL 41 45.1 27 14 14 5 10 47 3 1 2.78 0.82 9.38 2.00 1.00 2 12 1
2005 Oak 58 56.2 45 20 20 6 18 52 4 1 3.23 1.12 8.33 2.88 0.96 1 12 1
2006 Oak 31 25.1 22 12 12 2 12 30 0 1 4.26 1.35 10.76 4.30 0.72 1 13 2
Total   156 165.2 123 58 58 18 60 180 8 4 3.17 1.11 9.81 3.27 0.98 5 38 7

Daric Barton
Barton hasn’t seen major league time like Thomas and the Cruz-Halsey combo, but he entered 2006 as the team’s top prospect according to Baseball America. At 20, he is one of the most dangerous left handed hitters in all of the minor leagues. Here is a piece of what BA had to say about him (subscriber portion, so only part it copied):

Strengths: Hitting comes easy for Barton, who has natural ability to go along with a mature approach. He has a short swing and picture-perfect mechanics, with a fluid load and quick explosion through the zone. His pitch recognition is off the charts. He draws a large number of walks while still being an aggressive hitter, equally comfortable turning on inside fastballs or slicing outside breaking balls the other way. Barton holds his own against lefthanders. He took well to first base in his first year there and shows the potential for improvement. He has good instincts, soft hands and decent range.

The A’s moved him from catcher to 1st base as they felt it was stunting his progress. Beane had high praise for Barton calling him the best pure hitter in the minors shortly after acquiring him. He exhibits unmatched plate patience, an Oakland hallmark, while his power potential remains a point of contention. Some place his ceiling in the low 30s, others feel as though he won’t be much of a power threat seeing him top out in the high teens, low 20s. In 43 games for Sacramento this season, he has just two home runs, but remains incredibly disciplined at the dish with 32 walks against 26 strike outs and a .259/.389/.395 line. His complete minor league numbers through 2005:

Year Team Name League Age Org. Level G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP IBB SF AVG OBP SLG OPS
2003 Johnson City App 18 Stl Rk 54 172 29 50 10 0 4 29 0 3 37 48 2 0 3 0.291 0.416 0.419 835
2004 Peoria Midw 19 Stl A 90 313 63 98 23 0 13 77 4 4 69 44 8 9 3 0.313 0.445 0.511 956
2005 Stockton Calif 20 Oak A+ 79 292 60 93 16 2 8 52 0 1 62 49 3 0 4 0.318 0.438 0.469 907
  Midland Tex 20 Oak AA 56 212 38 67 20 1 5 37 1 1 35 30 0 1 2 0.316 0.410 0.491 901
Total           279 989 190 308 69 3 30 195 5 9 203 171 13 10 12 0.311 0.431 0.478 909

Juan Cruz
Cruz has been seen as a premium talent, but a budding project dating all the way back to his days with the Chicago Cubs. Even now, still just 27 years old, with the Arizona Diamondbacks he is as capable of tossing a gem as he is allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings. He has yet to put it all together. He was awful in his one season with the A’s immediately making himself expendable this off-season. Here are his career numbers:

2001 ChC 8 8 45.7 40 16 16 4 17 39 3 1 0 0 0 3.22 7.68 3.35
2002 ChC 45 9 97.3 84 56 43 11 59 81 3 11 1 3 3 3.98 7.49 5.46
2003 ChC 25 6 61 66 44 41 7 28 65 2 7 0 1 1 6.05 9.59 4.13
2004 Atl 50 0 72 59 24 22 7 30 70 6 2 0 2 0 2.75 8.75 3.75
2005 Oak 28 0 33.7 38 33 27 5 22 34 0 3 0 0 0 7.44 9.08 5.88
2006 Ari 14 7 47.7 34 21 21 3 24 41 3 3 0 0 0 4.05 7.74 4.53
Total   170 30 354.3 321 194 170 37 180 330 17 27 1 6 4 4.32 8.38 4.57

Brad Halsey
Halsey was acquired for Cruz this off-season and is a bit of a similar story. His arm isn’t as electric, but he is also struggling to find his niche as he has been with three teams in three seasons. He’s performed admirably as a starter-reliever combo with a 4.10 earned run average in 53 and 2/3 innings. A glance at his career numbers:

2004 NYY 8 7 32 41 26 23 4 14 25 1 3 0 0 0 6.47 7.03 3.94
2005 Ari 28 26 160 191 101 82 20 39 82 8 12 0 0 0 4.61 4.61 2.19
2006 Oak 19 6 53.2 57 26 24 8 25 28 3 2 0 1 0 4.10 4.74 4.23
Total 55 39 245.2 289 153 129 32 78 135 12 17 0 1 0 4.75 4.96 2.86

Charles Thomas
After a solid 83 game debut for the Braves, many believed Thomas could end up as a useful piece of the trade for the A’s in their lineup. So far, that has not been the case. He wasn’t given much of a shot in 2005, but didn’t impress in limited time. He saw action in 30 games batting .109 in 46 at-bats. In that debut, he hit .288/.368/.445 with 19 extra base hits and 31 runs batted in over the course of 236 at-bats. His effectiveness has been limited in 51 games with AAA Sacramento this season. He has a .279/.327/.317 line in 183 at-bats.

Dan Meyer
Meyer has not panned out as expected thus far. He will turn 25 years old this July meaning there is still time, but he was on the fast track to a major league rotation in the Atlanta organization, but he has stagnated in his time with Oakland. Coming through the Atlanta system, he was an overpowering pitcher that limited walks, now those two figures have made a catastrophic bolt for the middle. From 2002-2004, Meyer held a commanding 4.4 K:BB ratio with 381 strikeouts in 352 innings. His 2005 season in Sacramento through 10 starts this year, that figure has plummeted to 1.5. He had never posted an earned run average above 2.87, but holds a bulky 5.26 earned run average in 138 and 2/3 innings with the Oakland organization.

Year Team Lg Age Org. Level W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WP H9 HR9 BB9 K9 WHIP
2002 Danville App 21 Atl Rk 3 3 2.74 13 13 1 0 65.2 47 22 20 4 18 77 4 6.44 0.55 2.47 10.55 0.99
2003 Rome SAL 22 Atl A 4 4 2.87 15 15 0 0 81.2 76 35 26 6 15 95 7 8.38 0.66 1.65 10.47 1.11
2003 Myrtle Beach Caro 22 Atl A+ 3 6 2.87 13 13 0 0 78.1 69 29 25 7 17 63 1 7.93 0.80 1.95 7.24 1.10
2004 Greenville Sou 23 Atl AA 6 3 2.22 14 13 0 0 65 50 17 16 1 12 86 2 6.92 0.14 1.66 11.91 0.95
2004 Richmond IL 23 Atl AAA 3 3 2.79 12 11 0 0 61.1 62 23 19 6 25 60 2 9.10 0.88 3.67 8.80 1.42
2004 Atlanta Braves MLB 23 Atl MLB 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 9.00 0.00 4.50 4.50 1.50
2005 Sacramento PCL 24 Oak AAA 2 8 5.36 19 17 0 0 89 101 64 53 15 43 63 2 10.21 1.52 4.35 6.37 1.62

Hindsight, as we all know, is 20/15, but the Oakland A’s have done quite well for themselves. Whether it is their advanced scouting, their numbers-crunching, or their hunches, they moved Hudson and Mulder at precisely the right time. Both moves had their critics seen merely as small-market dump deals. Beane no doubt moved more expensive players for less expensive and may again do so with Zito, but his team remains competitive year in and year out. The Kansas City Royals have dumped the likes of Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, and Carlos Beltran in a series of their own small-market dump deals, but they haven’t been nearly as effective as Oakland boasting just Angel Berroa and John Buck as the remnants of those moves. Meanwhile, all three players they have moved are among the best at their position either offensively, defensively, or both.

With the long-term signing of Eric Chavez, the A’s have shown that they aren’t just going to be a revolving door of mid-20 somethings that get shipped on the cusp of free agency. And when they do let a high-priced free agent go, they utilize their compensatory picks quite well. In 2004, a supplemental pick for Miguel Tejada locked up current closer Huston Street with pick #40. For losing Ray Durham, they picked up Omar Quintanilla (now with Colorado) in the 2003 draft. Catcher Jeremy Brown of Moneyball fame was taken in 2002 with the Jason Giambi compensatory pick. Four picks later, they took Mark Teahen with a pick gained from the loss of Johnny Damon. Teahen would prove instrumental as he was traded in the move that got Octavio Dotel in 2004. As Michael Lewis’ famous account of Beane & Co. highlighted when it was released in the Spring of 2003, you don’t have to be cash rich to be talent rich.

Hopefully you enjoyed the second installment of Trade Redux. They aren’t done specifically to laugh a team that botched a trade or overly praise someone’s success, rather just a look back as the move goes from crystal ball to crystal clear. In a few years, hopefully I can do a Trade Redux on a Todd Jones for half eaten bag of Cheez-Its transaction. Whoever the poor sap on the other end is will be mighty angry that he passed on the tasty cheese crackers when he realizes what he got in return.