a simple desultory phillipic (or how i was jeff suppan'd into submission)

PHOENIX - JUNE 11: Batting coach Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals high fives teammate Brendan Ryan #13 after Ryan hit a 3 run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on June 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

if you aren't familiar with the original, this won't make any sense. the original was, itself, a sendup of "subterranean homesick blues." does a spoof of a spoof make the outcome sincere, like a double negative?


i've been stavinoha'd, i been larry bowa'd

i've been mark derosa'd, even mendoza'd

i been todd and kip'd and maroth'd till i'm dying

i been flores-brothered, one after another

because of the handedness they got from their mother

that's the hand you use - well, never mind.


i've been larry borowski'd, been al hrabovsky'd

well, i've had all the strauss that i can take

i been garcia'd and wainwright'd

i need a towel cause i'm too excited

i've just discovered chris carpenter's taking the mound


i knew a man, fastball so slow

didn't have nothing to throw

not the same as boggs or lynn

or maybe even brendan ryan

he'll just get hit

cause when you say replacement

well, you don't mean just for walters - wherever he is

the man ain't got no upside

but it's alright, tone, guess SOMEBODY'S got to throw . . . .


i been rolen'd, pujols'd, dj tools'd

oh, dan haren, won't you please come home

i've been danupped, leach'd, and red baroned

i been randy'd, jeff'd, and even aaron'd

someone please tell me how tyler's hitting in triple A

(i've lost my plate discipline, albert)

'tis now the witching time of summer, when the designated for assignment rolls gape

and the brewers breathe out rotation members to this league . . . .


this week has been hard on the birdos community. most of what should be said has been. but i wanted to pull out some info to put this all in perspective. 

let's take a look at what we have, what the projections are, and what we could have used instead.

jeff suppan, late of a club on which he was considered worse than chris narveson, bush, parra, etc., was projected to be almost exactly replacement value over a season - one run over replacement value and a park-neutral ERA of 5.49. 

the cardinals by contrast have numerous players who project better than replacement value in a starting role: boggs, hill (!), hawksworth, walters, the now-departed ben jukich, and lance lynn. now, the fact that the projection tags hill to be among the best replacement options may say something about the limitations of projections, and there's nothing wrong with taking a look at what you are actually seeing, and making a decision contrary to the projections (contrary to what people say about spreadsheet readers). regarding the limitations of projections, it's also worth noting that CHONE likes walters and garcia to have the same value this year.

boggs and the hawk are probably hard to pull out of the bullpen and stretch out. lynn, some might say, would have his development harmed by a stint in the majors; i have mixed feelings. he's still sorting things out in AAA. his K rate is still way too low (6.56 k/9) and he's walking almost four people a game. another not-crazy option is to put pj out there again; sure, he's not a great pitcher, but neither is jeff suppan. projection systems like them both the same, basically. the difference is that walters might have some kind of long-term benefit to the club and might even get better, while suppan is (we hope) just a rental for a month at most, who is 35 and unlikely to improve.

randy winn is an interesting case. CHONE likes him to be -16 runs/150 on offense and +8 on defense. on the other hand, CHONE also likes craig to be worth +5 on offense and -3 on defense; jon jay -8 on offense and +11 on defense. either one is probably a better option in the field, though winn does play CF and bat right-handed some of the time. it's still not clear that he gives us more value that allen craig in that circumstance, with ryan ludwick taking center on colby's off days. 

aaron miles is another interesting case. CHONE likes aaron to be -27 on offense, and -1 on defense at second. tyler greene to be -18 on offense and 0 on defense at short. that's almost a win difference over a full season, though CHONE does not assume 600 PAs for everybody. CHONE assumes ~350 PA's for miles and ~400 PA's for tyler.  basically, for every 100 PA's miles gets, we're losing 2 runs, per the projections.

obviously, everybody is free to quibble with the projections, and as noted above, they are not perfect. this is more a jumping off point than a final answer. but i think these are good benchmarks to start from.

also, someone has a sense of humor. included on the CHONE site for cardinal hitters:

Mark McGwire (DH):  -27 runs on offense, 0 runs defense

0.154 0.287 0.338
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