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roster moves at VEB

some of you correctly read the hint i dropped yesterday: i’m stepping aside as the main blogger at VEB. there are various reasons behind the decision, but it’s mostly a question of work / blog / family balance. i'm finding it increasingly difficult to keep all 3 of those balls in the air, and 2 of them simply can’t be dropped. so i gotta let the 3d one go. i’d be lying if i said i didn’t have regrets --- i’m definitely going to miss the routine and the platform. but i’ll also admit that i’m looking forward to sleeping a little later and spending a little less time in front of this laptop. i’ve started tossing BP to my 6-year-old, and (if i may say so) the kid can hit. my 4-year-old daughter has started swinging the batty-watty as well, and she makes regular contact. (i'll pause for a second while jeff luhnow enters this information into his database . . . . ) however much i might enjoy writing about baseball (and i enjoy it a lot), playing the game with my kids is better. that's the priority i’m trying to preserve --- it all comes down to the old spending-more-time-with-the-family thing. it’s a cliché, but it’s really true in this case.

so that’s the bad news. the good news is that red baron and houstoncardinal are going to stay on board, with HC picking up some extra writing duty. and i’m excited to report that DanUp, who many of you know from Get Up Baby, is going to come over and join VEB. those of you who read GUB already know what a terrific writer and analyst dan is, and those of you who aren’t familiar w/ GUB will find out soon enough. i think these changes are gonna be very good for the blog, frankly, because the realigned team will be able to devote more time and ongoing attention to the site than i can. i feel very good about leaving the site in their care --- they’re all great writers, they know their baseball, and they know this community. i have complete confidence that they'll take the site forward and maintain it as a worthy destination, gathering place, and resource. my thanks to them for taking on the task.

thanks also to azruavatar for all his contributions to the front page, as well as behind the scenes; he has decided to give up his friday gig here to focus on Future Redbirds. it’ll take a week or so to get danup trained on the platform and set up a new writing schedule, so i’ll be on regular posting duty for a few more days until all that gets sorted out. beyond that, i’ll be showing up in the discussion threads from time time, another loudmouth with an opinion. blogging comes and goes, but fandom is eternal --- and i’ve enjoyed sharing mine w/ you here at VEB. to all of you who have reciprocated over the years, my heartfelt appreciation.

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a little followup on the lohse deal --- he’ll make $7m this year, $9m next, and $12m in 2011 and 2012. a total of $41 million, which is totally consistent with the market. unfortunately, it has been a lousy market --- most recent contracts of this type have been duds. here’s the mostly complete list (i might have missed one or two) of free-agent pitchers who got long-term deals (ie, 3 years or longer) after the 2005-06 season, 3 seasons ago: aj burnett, kevin millwood, jarrod washburn, matt morris, esteban loiaiza, and paul byrd. here’s the list from 2 years ago: jason schmidt, barry zito, gil meche, vicente padilla, adam eaton, jeff suppan, jason marquis, miguel batista, and ted lilly. many of those pitchers had more distinguished records than lohse at the time they signed their deals; 2 to 3 years later, how many of them look like good deals? the lilly and meche deals look good; the burnett deal looks ok; the suppan and marquis deals are not disasters. but the majority of these contracts are catastrophes; they made their teams worse rather than better.

i don’t know why teams never consider front-loading. even accounting for salary inflation, lohse is more likely to be worth $12m in 2009-2010 (his age 30-31 seasons) than in 2011-2012 (his age 32-33 seasons). so why not pay him accordingly? give him $12m in each of the next two years, then slide the scale down at the back end of the deal. that way, if he has a bad season or gets hurt in the first couple years of the deal, his contract isn’t radioactively bad the last two years. i realize that paying larger sums up front would increase the cost of the contract marginally for the cardinals, but as a value proposition i would think you optimize the performance-per-dollar ratio the other way around. if there are any real economists in the house, maybe you could comment on that idea.

i’ll be back thursday w/ an updated roster matrix.