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Thread: Article: Terry Ryan's Foolish Gamble

  1. #21
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Spot on, John. The money isn't the risk, the particular relief role is! Hopefully a lot of the optimism surrounding Lester Oliveros proves to be founded OR a lot of the pessimism surrounding Alex Burnett proves to be unfounded.

    The problem, ultimately, is with the Capps signing. The Twins could have signed Coffey, Wheeler, Wuertz, and Zumaya instead.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    I have zero problem with the Zumaya signing. I'd rather see the Twins "gamble" for someone with a high upside than playing it safe with mediocre signings. And they are down $400K. Good seed money for a kid whose career is pretty much done as a player. Bringing in a mediocre veteran reliever or two would not have made much difference (as a matter of fact thay got 3 of those in camp in Gray, Burton and Bulger, albeit in better terms.)
    I really feel confident that some of the younger pitchers in the camp will step it up and make things happen for the Twins this season...
    Agreed 100%

    I commend Terry Ryan for stepping out of the organization's comfort zone with this signing and really hope this one bad experience doesn't dissuade them from making similar moves in the future.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    John, I must disagree with your use of the term "foolish." It wasn't, it was a calculated risk that could range between a cost of $400,000 if he doesn't make the team (is injured) to $850,000 plus potential for bonuses of nearly another million if he played in 60 games.

    You claim that he should have used that money to sign another reliever, one of the several you have listed. You missed something very important however, that is different than last. Last year they picked up about a half dozen minor league free agents, with only Hughes and James having some major league experience. Hughes failed and James was great at Rochester, although did nothing with the Twins. This year they signed a dozen, most with some major league experience and a few with a lot of experience. Is it unrealistic to expect that one or two will enjoy some success this year? I don't think so.

  4. #24
    I think a few people are misunderstanding what John's saying. Signing Zumaya to a low-risk deal wasn't, in itself, foolish. What was foolish was going into the season with one of the most injury-prone relief pitchers of the last decade as basically the only high-end righthander in the bullpen.

    As Seth said, though, it may have been that Zumaya was considered a "bonus" and not relied upon as a core member of the bullpen... I suppose in that case you'd qualify the situation more as questionable roster construction rather than a "foolish risk".

  5. #25
    Senior Member Double-A
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    The issue is not just the $400,000 that is going out the window but the additional $500,000 we will have to pay one of our in house guys to fill the spot bringing us to almost $1 million. There are a lot of better options on the free agent market for a million that I would have preferred like Chad Qualls or Todd Coffey rather then the 16 pitches from Zumaya and a full season of the Manship at Target Field.

  6. #26
    But, if you're down to your last $10, just about out of gas, you spend the $10 the $10 on gas that can get you to work, not on 10 lotto tickets. That was the situation Ryan faced,

    That's not a good comp because 800K will only buy you about a thimbleful of gas. The signing of Z was total lottery ticket and didn't affect any real plans. Who were they going to get for that money that is likely to be better than Ontiveros or Bulger or whomever?

    Certainty costs money, and as mentioned by a lot of people above, there were structural holes in the bullpen and Ryan had to make a choice. Perkins should be solid. Capps only really sucked when he was hurt in the middle of the year. After that there's the herd from last year and the lotto tickets like Wheeler and Coffey and Zumaya and whatnot. My guess is he looked at everyone on the market, his bullpen budget, the guys on his roster, and didn't see much that projected better than what he had. Not much certainty can be bought for what he spent, so he just sat on the cash.

    Ryan seems to be betting that Capps isn't the mid-season guy that pitched thru pain, but could be a solid closer if given normal rest. But if the rest of the pen is no good he won't be getting that rest again and he's likely to hit the same sort of rough patch. If there was $13m for Nathan then there should probably have been something more available for the seventh inning, and that's where the second guessing should come in. The Zumaya signing was a symptom of the bad decision, not the problem.

  7. #27

    Why WAR rubs Bonnes so wrong WRT relief pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    First, WAR is a terrible metric with which to measure relievers. It completely ignores the context of the innings in which they work.
    You always say this. But WAR absolutely does give relievers credit for half their leverage premium (since the chain of relievers would move up one slot, the closer hardly deserves credit for every tick of leverage). That is the opposite of "completely ignor[ing] the context of the innings in which they work."

    I think the actual reason WAR strikes you as "wrong" is because you underestimate the quality of replacement level relief pitching.

    WAR assumes different FIP/ERA performances for starters and relievers. If the pitcher on the mound for "Team A With Average Offense" always performed to the level of MLB replacement relief pitching, Team A would have a W% of .470, which ain't too shabby at all. Once you consider that as the baseline, it makes a lot more sense. (Remember, this is relief quality pitching pitching AS A RELIEVER. The exact same guy pitching as a starter would like pitch to a level below STARTING pitcher replacement level, which is pegged at a .380 winning percentage.)

    BTW, this is not unrelated to your overestimation of Carl Pavano for 7 innings vs. Scott Baker for 6 innings. You assume replacement level is worse than it is and accordingly value mediocre innings more. (A cynical individual might lay the blame for this at the doorstep of the Twins' F.O., given the sub-replacement players they've actually signed to fill out the back end over the past few seasons.)

  8. #28
    But yeah: the risk wasn't Zumaya. The risk was Zumaya and bupkis.

  9. #29
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobynotjason View Post
    But yeah: the risk wasn't Zumaya. The risk was Zumaya and bupkis.
    If I remember correctly, the 2004 bullpen was comprised by a couple of leftovers (Romero, Rincon) and a bunch of bupkis (for the non-Yiddish speaking folks out there, it means "nobodies"), like Roa, Fultz, Guerrier and Nathan and a couple of young kids like Balfour, Crain who stepped it up. This can happen this season as well...
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  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    If I remember correctly, the 2004 bullpen was comprised by a couple of leftovers (Romero, Rincon) and a bunch of bupkis (for the non-Yiddish speaking folks out there, it means "nobodies"), like Roa, Fultz, Guerrier and Nathan and a couple of young kids like Balfour, Crain who stepped it up. This can happen this season as well...
    It means nothing, nadda, zilch. Which in this case means "nobody", I guess.

    I'd love it if Waldrop, Guerra, etc. could make it work in MLB. I wouldn't bet on it, but I'd love it. I don't think that's a very sound strategy if you're not in rebuild.

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