First, some answers to the burning questions posed yesterday: the second Frank Thomas comp—in spite of some very creative answers involving The Other Frank Thomas, who probably doesn't like being called that (he'll have to take it up with The Other Harrison Ford)—was Troy Glaus, whom PECOTA likens to post-superstardom Frank Thomas. Sneaky.
The Tom Herr comparison is even sneakier—the answer is... Felipe Lopez.
The big news in baseball today, as per the theory of baseball news relativity, is the conclusion of the bizarre Odalis Perez story. It happened, as all bizarre preseason news will, following the Nationals' landmark agreement with bizarre content providers, in Washington, and it brought Perez more attention than he's received in five years.
To summarize: Odalis Perez, favored punching bag of our own Albert Pujols, had his first good year in four last season, but he had the misfortune of doing it for the Washington Nationals—who, having escaped Montreal, are doing their best to turn D.C. into hockey fans.
As a result, it surprised people when he appeared to accept a minor league deal that sent him back to the Nationals. Sure, he sucked in 2007 and 2006; sure, he played for the Nationals, who have a TV contract with the DuMont Network; sure, the market's awful. But it's a rare player who pitches thirty starts with an average ERA one year and doesn't get guaranteed money the next.
At some point Perez figured that out himself, apparently, so he's been holding out, NFL-style, for the past two weeks, fingers in his contractual ears. Finally he got up and released, which brings us to the part of the story where we, as Cardinals fans, kick the tires.
QUESTION ONE: IS HE BETTER THAN, WELL, ANYBODY
You get right to the point—I like that. Here are some numbers.
Stopping at 2005 makes him seem even less interesting than he is—his big year was 20-dickety-2, where he joined Hideo Nomo, Andy Ashby, Kaz Ishii, and Omar Daal in a deadly tontine that led to none of them being effective starting on January 1, 2003.
Hm—a guy with mediocre stuff and occasionally impressive control coming off his first positive year in some time who positively exudes, somehow, the feeling that an infielder might be felled by a line drive at any moment. His FIPs have been pretty decent, overall, but he's been "hittable" in a way that DIPS can't explain for years now, and at some point that has to mean something. The question you have to ask about any Odalis Perez acquisition is whether the Pineiro you don't know is better than the Pineiro who is set to receive $7.5 million in 2009.
QUESTION TWO: HOW MUCH OF THIS IS ALBERT PUJOLS'S FAULT
Since 2005 Albert Pujols has driven in 2.5% of the runs scored against Odalis Perez; he represents 0.8% of the batters Perez has faced in the same time period. Odalis Perez always has the same dream: he finds himself at a press conference, about to receive guaranteed money from a winning team, when—just as he's ready to sign the contract—a line drive snaps his pen in half and all the ink spills out.
"Sorry, Odalis," says the GM. "That's all the ink there is in the world! You want an NRI?"
A familiar voice calls out, echoing into the sudden, cold darkness:
"Time to wake up, mang."