Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Honor Of Michael Jackson, Farah Fawcett, and Billy Mays...

...we present to you, JoeChat!

Buzzmaster: We're getting Joe!

I should hope to smile.

K (philly): If Rollins doesn't start coming around, what do you do? Isnt it time to drop him in the order for an extended period if the benching doesnt work? Joe Morgan: They dropped him for a while and they thought he was OK. Since I'm not there to talk to him and see where his head is, it's hard for me to get a good reading. When I saw him in LA a couple of weeks ago, his enthusiasm was there, his passion for the game was still there. When those things are there, you'll usually get things turned around. It's like Big Papi. When a player loses his passion for the game, that's a problem.

And so the Phillies should do what...? Keep playing him? Move him down in the order? Hire a mariachi band to serenade him between innings?

I agree with Joe that losing passion for the game is a problem. But having passion alone doesn't make someone good at baseball. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that Alex Gonzalez has passion for the game. Does that mean he'll suddenly improve from his 11-year career line of .247/.294/.395? No, because having passion doesn't save Alex from the fact that he's not very good at hitting a baseball.

This response is another example of Joe Morgan Non-Analysis. No mention of what the Phillies should do if Rollins keeps under-performing. In looking at Rollins' stats, one thing that jumps out at me is that he's been caught stealing 5 times in 15 attempts this season, compared to only 3 times in 50 attempts last year. Perhaps Rollins has some sort of injury that he or the team is hiding. I'm speculating, but it would explain a lot.

Ruby (Seattle): Hi Joe--It seems like the Mariners finally have righted the ship. What is your take on the state of that franchise?

Joe Morgan: I've been disappointed in the Mariners, because I thought two years ago that they were going to be a pretty good team. They seem to be rounding into form, but I'm going to wait because we've seen this before. They're going to need more offense than they've been getting consistently. They have some good players there, so they should be able to do that.

Second question in, first "consistent."

Read his response again, and notice that he says nothing that could not be inferred from Ruby's (Seattle) question. She mentions that they may have "righted the ship;" he changes that to "seem to be rounding into form." Kringlebert Fishtybuns--who you may know here on Lom Henn.com as the "Football Guy"--could give the same answer to Ruby (Seattle). And Kringlebert has not watched a single baseball game this season!

Joe is correct that the Mariners aren't scoring runs--Baseball Prospectus has them 29th in MLB with 3.88 runs/game. But who does Joe think are the "good players" that will make them more "consistent" offensively? Ichiro has been outstanding as usual, leading the league in AVG at .372. But his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .391, which indicates he's been pretty lucky. I suspect his average will come back down a bit in the second half of the season when the luck evens out (his OBP his only .402, as he doesn't take many walks). Russell Branyan has also been phenomenal--.303/.400/.609--and with his BABIP at .358, he shouldn't have as much of a decline.

So who else? Adrian Beltre, who has OPS'd .664 so far in 2009 and is making Seattle wish they'd re-signed Raul Ibanez? I suppose it's possible--Baseball Prospectus projected Beltre to .272/.332/.456 this season, so maybe he'll have an upswing in the second half. Yuniesky Betancourt--.609 OPS? (I know he's a SS, but come on--.278 OBP with a .250 BA). BP has him projected to .277/.299/.385, so you likely won't see a lot of improvement there. Perhaps the Jack Benny-aged Junior Griffey: great story coming "home" to Seattle, but .218/.332/.409 is not enough from your DH.

The Mariners are 11th in the AL in OBP, 12th in HR, and 13th in SLG--this with Branyan and Ichiro performing at a high level. I'd say the Mariners need to make a trade to bring in another bat, but that's just me.

Joseph(Baltimore,Md.) [via mobile]: I am 42 yrs. old! Do you think the Baltimore Orioles will ever be contenders in my lifetime?

I can answer that: yes. The Orioles won the World Series in 1983--when Joseph from Baltimore was 17 years old.

Joe Morgan: Yeah, in your lifetime you will, but not before you're 44 or 45.

Joe's almost as funny as I am. Why do you think that, Joe? Doesn't Joseph(Baltimore, Md.) deserve to know why you think the Orioles will be better in 2-3 years? Or are you just saying that they'll suck for at least the next few years, after which maybe they'll be better? What kind of analysis is that? Oh, wait--it's Joe analysis.

Philip (Tampa, FL): Hey joe, it is an honor! I was wondering, as a Red Sox fan living in Tampa. Do you think the Rays are able to make a run in the AL East to catch up to the Yankees and Red Sox, or do you think they need to do something serious about thier bullpen and pitching in general?

Joe Morgan: Well, the real problem is they got off to a slow start. I expected that. When you're a young team and you have a lot of success, you just think things will fall into place and you'll get better. But it doesn't work that way. You have to work harder to prove that last year wasn't a fluke. Now they're starting to play well and clicking on all cylinders. I bet they wish they had Edwin Jackson still. I think they'll be in contention the rest of the way. Four or five games is not that far behind.

Edwin Jackson is a starting pitcher, which does not address Philip's question at all. Jackson is pitching well for Detroit this season (2.49 ERA in 16 starts), but here are the ERA+ numbers for the six starters the Rays have used:

Shields: 131
Garza: 123
Niemann: 113
Price: 113
Sonnanstine: 67
Kazmir: 61

Kazmir has been hurt--he just came back off the DL--and Sonnanstine has been sent back to Triple-A. Yeah, I suppose that Jackson would have helped the Rays with depth when Kazmir went down, but the Rays have plenty of good starters. They lost projected closer Troy Percival likely for the remainder of the season, so there are question marks in the bullpen. But don't expect Joe to know that.

Brian (Hudson, FL): Joe, Have you gotten a chance to watch Gordon Beckham? In the past 12 games he's hitting .300. What type of player do you see him turning into?

Joe Morgan: I have not had a chance to see him play. I've read that he's got all the ability. He was a high draft choice, so they thought a lot about him. The good thing is I haven't heard Ozzie criticize him. If he wasn't playing well, Ozzie would have already criticized him.

"He was a high draft choice, so they thought a lot about him." Emmy-award winning sports analyst, people!!

The only standard Joe uses to analyze Beckham is whether or not Ozzie Guillen, Beckham's manager, has criticized him publicly. Since Ozzie hasn't criticized Beckham, Joe assumes Beckham is "playing well." So how does that answer Brian's question as to what kind of player Joe sees "him turning into?"

joedog (minnesota): Do you think that right now maur is all star material

Joe Morgan: He's definitely All Star material. He's the best hitting catcher in the league. To say he's the best player, I can't say that. Even on his own team, Justin Morneau is the offensive force. But he is one of the best players in the American League.

Joe Mauer 2009: .386/.459/.670 OPS+ 202
"Twins Offensive Force" Justin Morneau 2009: .309/.389/.570 OPS+ 157


Tanner Athens TN [via mobile]: Who is the biggest name to move before the trading deadline?

Joe Morgan: I think we'll see an active trading deadline. You have to remember that all the teams think they're still in it. So until we get to the end of July, we won't know who thinks they're in or out of it. But if it stays like it is, those teams won't want to make trades. Right now, the Dodgers have a real sizable lead but the Giants have a shot at the wild card. Until some of these teams start to fall off, I don't think you'll see many trades before the deadline.

Joe just contradicted himself in the same answer. Basically: "I think it will be an active deadline. But most teams think they're still in contention, so they won't make any trades. So I don't think you'll see many deadline trades." And what in the hell do the Giants and Dodgers have to do with this question? And could you at least say who you think is likely to be moved if/when trades happen?

Of course not.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): With Mark DeRosa now in the fold, do you think the Cardinals are contenders in the NL? What do you think about the Indians only getting a reliever?

Joe Morgan: They were already contenders. Any time you have Pujols on your team, you're a contender. DeRosa is a very good player. I've always liked him. He brings a good bat to the team and he can play a lot of positions. I think the Cardinals really helped themselves by bringing him in. I think they can contend for the NL title. But there will be some other moves made by other teams to determine who wins the NL.

Put Pujols on the Nationals and see if Washington becomes a contender this year.

Overall, this is his best answer of the day--which isn't saying much.

Paddy O (St. Louis, MO): Hey Joe, I know Pierre deserves to play more as he's earned it, and he was awesome last night, but I'd hate to see him go somewhere else as the Dodgers have shown they can utilize him if an outfielder goes down. If you were managing the Dodgers, how would you juggle the outfield, and also how cool is it that Doug Mientkeiwicz is still dressing and in the dugout even though he won't be back until September?

I'd hate to think Mientkeiwicz would sit in the dugout naked.

Joe Morgan: That's a very difficult question. That's why I've said they owe it to Juan Pierre to trade him. He has a lifetime average of over .300. He was never an extra man, the Dodgers made him an extra man. I don't think it's fair to him what they've done to him the last couple of years. If you have a lifetime average of over .300 in the major leagues, you should be playing every day somewhere. The Dodgers should get some value for him.

Perhaps this is why the Dodgers made Pierre an "extra man":

2005 Florida Marlins: OPS .680, OPS+ 84
2006, Chicago Cubs: OPS .717 OPS+ 82
2007, LA Dodgers: OPS .685, OPS+ 75
2008, LA Dodgers: OPS .655, OPS +73

Yes, Pierre is having an outstanding 2009--OPS .809, OPS+ 115--and I agree that you could get some value for him by trading him. Pierre's problem in the past has been that even though he's a decent hitter, he doesn't hit for power and he doesn't get on base enough. Other than this season, Pierre's highest OBP since 2004 was .331 in 2007--way too low for someone with no power.

And Joe thinks if you're a career .300 hitter, you deserve to play every day. But what if you commit 100 errors a season? Do you deserve to play every day then?

Hector Houston,TX [via mobile]: Do you think the Astros have a chance to make the playoffs?

"Hector Houston" sounds like the name of a Latino private eye.

Joe Morgan: The Astros are a weird team. Every year, they play poorly in the first half and well in the second half. Last year, I think they would have made it but they had to play those three gamees in Milwaukee instead of Houston against the Cubs. If they play well like they do in the second half, they have a chance.

The three "gamees" in Milwaukee against the Cubs was a shitty thing for MLB to do, IMHO. The Astros lost 3 home games and had a crazy travel schedule, along with the players dealing with the stress of worrying about their families with an impending hurricane. But even without all of that, would the Astros had definitely passed Milwaukee for the wild card?

It's illogical to think the Astros will magically play better in the scond half again--there are different players on this year's team from last year. More relevant is that the six teams in the NL Central are all 6 games apart in the standings, so any team which plays well in the second half has a chance.

Rob (Tampa): Are the Oakland A's trying to trade Matt Holiday? and if they are what place would be a good fit?

Joe Morgan: Well, they're not winning with him. It hasn't turned out the way they thought it would with him, Giambi, Garciaparra. If you look at him going some place, and I don't know what the A's would want in return, but there are a lot of places he could go. The Mets could use some help. But I do think the A's will trade him. They're still in last place and as the old saying goes, I can finish last with anybody.

So who would be a good fit?

Mark (Allentown): Joe, the Indians are inventing ways to lose. It is getting downright painful to watch. I don't believe the spiral is Wedge's fault, but I do not believe he has a solution. Might this be the year for a change at manager? and maybe the rest of the staff as well?

Joe Morgan: There's no doubt that Wedge is on the hot seat. But so should the GM and everybody there. The whole organization. It seems like every year the Indians are the darkhorse or the one to contend. But it doesn't happen. There's a problem there somewhere. They have to figure it out. It's hard for me to give a real definitive answer there, because I'm not there every day. I don't know if it's the front office's fault, Eric Wedge's fault or the players. My suspicion is that it's all three. My answer is, you're right, something needs to be done.

"There's a problem there somewhere." Grady Sizemore missed nearly a month on the DL and is OPS-ing .740 playing hurt. Closer Kerry Wood has 5.47 ERA--not good for a closer. Starting pitchers not named "Cliff Lee" on the Indians staff have 80, 60, 82, 71, 68 ERA+ numbers. So there are multiple problems in there somewhere, Joe.

Philip (Tampa, Fl): Do you think Big Papi is really coming back into his own, or has he definitely lost something and as classy of a guy and as good of a player as he was, should the Red Sox start looking in another direction?

Joe Morgan: You're going to have good stretches. And he might have another bad stretch, because you can't stay hot for a whole 162 game season. I've been saying that I don't think he's done. I think he's back. We might not see the same Big Papi that hit 45 home runs, but we'll see a guy that's very productive and a very good guy to have in the middle of that lineup.

Baseball Prospectus sees David Ortiz as .268/.373/.500 this season. That's a far cry from where he is now (.221/.316/.390), but if BP is right, Big Papi will have a good second half. Joe agrees--because he thinks Ortiz is "back."

Mike (Chicago): Joe, you played in Cincinnati. They tried to get DeRosa and failed but will they try again to make a big splash in a trade and if so who will they go after?

Joe Morgan: They definitely needed some offense and DeRosa is one of those guys that was available. I don't like to say who's available and who's not, because the GMs are the only ones that knows who's available. It's hard to say who are the bats available. I don't know of a lot of players out there right now that could step in and help. Offense is a problem for a lot of teams out there. The Cubs have had problems, the Mets. The offensive players are no longer enhanced, so we don't have as many great offensive teams as 5-6 years ago.

This is why we--and FJM before us--analyze these chats. "I don't like to say who's available and who's not, because the GMs are the only ones that knows (sic) who's available." Well no fucking shit.

It is Joe's job to provide analysis and insight. Sometimes, that requires talking to people within the game to get some information (like who may be available). Sometimes, that requires guessing as to who may be available based on contract information. Speculation is okay! He just can't do it, because that would require some sort of knowledge of players and teams, which Joe clearly does not have. There is absolutely nothing useful in his answer.

And I love the last line. Does that mean that there are no players worth trading for, since no one is "enhanced"? Or does that mean that teams are more even? Or does it mean anything?

Help me. Please.

Chris (Yorktown, IN): Joe, what do you think the Cubs will do to jump start their offense?

Joe Morgan: I've watched them play and done several of their games. They just don't seem like they've had the same approach as last year. They were aggressive when needed and patient when needed. This year, they're the opposite.

So they're aggressive and patient, just not at the right times????

They need Lee to get hot, Bradley hot and get Ramirez back. I've always felt that Ramirez was the key to their team. He's been out for a while. We'll have to wait and see what happens when he comes back. They're hope is that he can come back and jumpstart that offense. Bradley will get hot. He can hit.

Joe's answer for the Cubs' hitting issues: hit better. And according to Joe, that will happen magically on its own.

Daniel (Las Vegas, NV): Hey Joe love your work...

Daniel has some serious mental issues, evidently.

...is there any reason for the Mets to be buyers at this point? Seems like there's too many question marks as to who returns and how healthy they will be, should we just make do with what is available?

Joe Morgan: I don't think they can go with what they have. You are a New York team. You're fighting the Yankees for those dollars. You can't just wait for guys to come back. You have to show your fans you're trying to get better. You're going to have to do something to jumpstart this offense. If you're not going to get the injured guys back soon, then you need to do some trades. I just did the game on Sunday night and no one had an answer for when those guys were going to come back.

I agree with Joe, but could he have any dumber reason for the Mets to look for some trades to improve? Here's the reason the Mets need to try to improve: even with all of their injury problems, they are only 3 games out of first place and 3 1/2 out in the wild card. The right trade could make the difference for the Mets in the second half, regardless of when the injured players can come back.

But according to Joe, it's because the Mets have to compete with the Yankees. New York City has eleventy-gabillion people. Even with 75% of them Yankees fans, I think the Mets have a decent fan base.

Rob (Tampa): Joe, what you think about the playoff system only 8 out of 30 teams from make it. Do you think the system should be expanded?

Joe Morgan: If you look at all the sports, it is expanded. If you look at hockey, just about everybody makes it. The NBA, a lot of teams make it.

For the record, the same number of teams (16) qualify for the playoffs in the NHL and the NBA.

I wouldn't be against expanding it if you could shorten the season so you could get it in before the November rains like we got in Philadelphia last year. I would support it if we shortened the season.

Not a bad answer, though personally, I disagree--I don't want the number of teams expanded and I certainly don't want a shorter season (unless it went down to 154 games and we lost some Interleague play, then maybe).

During our Sunday Night telecast, I through (sic) out a theory on why players got hurt more than before even though they worked harder to stay in shape. In track you're taught that once you reach your peak, you can only stay there for long before you go down. With these guys staying in shape year round, maybe they're working too hard. There has to be something going on with the injuries. Think about it and let's talk about it next week on our chat.

"I through out a theory and it went threw a window!" Maybe Joe IS typing his chats...

I don't know a lot about fitness theory, but I don't think players are getting hurt because they're in "too good" of shape. Perhaps it's because baseball players aren't as diligent about stretching as players in other sports? That idea was brought up on a Cubs/White Sox game this past weekend--I can't remember if it was on WGN, Fox, or CSN (if I had to guess, I'd say Fox), but the analyst mentioned that baseball players take pre-game stretching as a joke. That to me would be a better reason than what Joe suggests for all of the injuries, besides just plain bad luck.

But Joe gave us a homework assignment, so we should all be good and do it in time for next week's JoeChat!

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Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 1, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

Why is it with Joe that:

(1) Joe (or Fremp, his stand in) is always late to his own chat;

(2) is an analyst who cannot seem to provide any analysis;

(3) can provide commentary on players he has seen/watched ONLY on the Sunday night games he has done; and

(4) consistently be so crappy!!!!!

I am "consistently" amazed that a baseball analyst does not seem to watch any baseball other than the games he does on Sunday nights.

There is a reason a website was dedicated in his name, Fire Joe Morgan. [Insert heavenly music as an homage to FJM] Joe may have been one of baseball's greatest athletes, but he ranks at the bottom of commentators.

Oh, well, I hate to say it but I am looking forward to next week's chat. What the fuck is wrong with me...

July 1, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

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