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In Which the Robot Considers Robocide

I'm battling a U-Verse router and Microsoft Vista at the moment and they are winning.  There's a decent chance that I will re-enact the printer scene from Office Space with the part of PRINTER being played by my desktop computer.  I think desktop can admirably act the part.

As I sit down to write, I must commit myself to not writing about Colby Rasmus for another week in a row.  I won't do it.  You derserve better. . . Did you know he hit a 3 run HR yesterday and has 8 HRs this month. BOOM!

I don't think I can sufficiently criticize the managing process with Aaron Miles right now.  The idea that he should be the DH in any game is beyond ridiculous regardless of the results.  Tyler Greene, 27 in August, continues to languish in Memphis despite a .300/.368/.464 line for the season. If we're really wanting to compare the two players though, the best way to do so would be a projection that incorporates the season's work to date. 

Fortunately for all of us, CHONE has recently updated the projections for both players. Aaron Miles, listed as a 2B, comes in at a -22 per 150 games offensively and -1 defensively. Tyler Greene is listed at -14 and 0 as a SS.  So the differential between those two players is 14 runs per 150 games. 

There's a couple further points to consider as well.  Tyler Greene's projection has a higher degree of variability given his limited time in the majors.  That means that not only is Greene better than Miles on average but his high end projection is considerably more than a 14 run spread.  I'd contend that the worse case scenario is that the 10 percentile tails of the distribution are roughly equal. (Admittedly, I'm pulling that out of thin air. The point is, if you accept the higher variability, that only furthers the argument for Greene.)

It's important to capture the positional difference as opportunity cost as well. The Cardinals roster already has a player well suited to platooning with Skip at 2nd. What it doesn't have is a player well-equipped to platoon with Brendan Ryan at SS. Tyler Greene is that player.  Neither Felipe Lopez nor Aaron Miles is a plus defender at short. Given the groundball tendencies of the staff, defense in the infield is critical. You couldn't build a roster where Tyler Greene would be a better fit than the one the Cardinals have now. Seriously.

Undoubtedly some will argue that there are non-quantifiable points in Aaron Miles favor. I'd agree with them.  By all accounts, he's a tremendous person and a great addition to the clubhouse. He's willing to accept a diminished role on the team without complaint and is eminently a 'company' man.  He's a veteran and I'd count that in his favor.  I do not take issue with acknowledging the intangibles are in Miles favor. The difficulty is that we have substantial evidence that indicates a) Miles is not a major league and b) he's simply not as good as Tyler Greene based on the objective, quantifiable evidence.  In the face of such evidence, the default position should be to err toward the tangibles and the quantifiable because when you're at the plate, with a split second to react, being a good guy doesn't help you swing the bat faster.

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Chris Carpenter is 31 innings shy of pitching 1000 in Cardinal red.  I'm not a baseball historian so I can't do his St. Louis career justice but I hope someone takes up that mantle because I feel like we can write 2010 down as the beginning of the end.  His velocity is down significantly this year.  Not only is it down on average but his fastball peak is down  a great deal as well. Carpenter seems to have lost that extra bit of fast. 

Amazingly, he's still exceedingly effective despite the downturn in speed. With a 3.73 FIP and a 3.59 xFIP, it may seem foolish for me to wet my pen for the obituary of his career. Perhaps I should redact the word "amazingly" because this ability to pitch despite not having his best stuff is how I'll remember Carpenter.  When he's healthy and dealing, he's on par with any pitcher in the game. When he's injured or has diminished stuff, he still manages to not only keep his team in the game - the addition of Jeff Suppan in 2010 has taught me that keeping one's team in the game is not a terribly high standard as it is being applied this year - but to gut out an eminently satisfying performance.

The Cardinals owe Carpenter a cool $15M next year and have a $15M club option (I love club options and you should too!) in 2012 with a $1M buyout.  When the contract was first offered, I was against it. Not in the categorical sense but rather in the confused sense. Carpenter still had a year on his contract and an injury history that reads like a who's who of body parts.  In the first three years of the contract, 2007-2009, the Cardinals paid Carpenter $33M for 6.2 WAR in performance.  They overpaid though not exorbitantly. There's a good chance that Carpenter could match his contract for performance after this season. 

Regardless, Chris Carpenter has been a critical part of the 2000s Cardinals.  As he approaches 1000IP, I think it might be time to say he's simply been a critical part of the Cardinals' franchise.

* * *

Five promotions that I would like to see from the St. Louis Cardinals:

  1. Colby Rasmus bobblehead night - I want a Colby Rasmus bobblehead.
  2. Kyle Lohse sling night - The first 5000 fans get a arm sling with the STL logo and Kyle Lohse's signature stamped on it.
  3. Goatee Night - Be your favorite member of the parent trap: Aaron Miles, Nick Stavinoha or Jeff Suppan.  Which one do you want to be?
  4. Seat Cushion night - When I'm banging my head against the wall because Aaron Miles is placed in a critical situation during a game, I'd like something authentically Cardinals to soften the blow.
  5. St. Louis vuvuzela night - I want a vuvuzela. C'mon, you knew this was coming.