A Quick Nine

by on September 6, 2011 · 5 comments

I had the unfortunate displeasure last night of sitting through almost an entire game at Busch Stadium with a loud, obnoxious know-it-all “fan” blathering on and on right behind me.  The man looked to be in his early to mid 70’s, and he seemed harmless enough until he claimed that Brandon Dickson had just made his major league debut on September 1st.  I turned around to correct the moron but thought the better of it.  When he started spouting off about how Ryan Braun‘s year was worthy of an MVP award “hands down”, I almost strained a groinstring.  When he reached epic fail on pronouncing “Maikel Cleto“, I just about put a plastic straw through his kneecap.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, he started telling everybody within earshot that Furcal was the best defensive shortstop in St. Louis since Ozzie Smith.  Yep, that put me over the edge, folks.  Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but there were small children around.  It is our duty to protect the innocent and helpless. 

  1. Let’s make something clear right now.  Rafael Furcal is good for a -2.8 UZR and a -7.6 UZR/150.  By comparison, Tyler Greene is good for 0.6 UZR and 6.1 UZR/150.  Furcal has a higher batting average with Stl. (.222 vs .196), but Greene has the higher OBP (.311 vs .277).  Furcal has been caught stealing in 4 of his 9 attempts this season, and Greene still leads the Cardinals in stolen bases with 9.  If Greene can hit .240 or higher, I see no reason why Furcal should be invited back for 2012.  Greene would cost the team a lot less, and he could add a much needed element of speed.  Naturally, this means that the Cardinals will probably throw millions of dollars at Furcal.
  2. My pick for NL MVP this year is Matt Kemp, and I won’t be swayed by the “MVP must come from a playoff team” argument.  What if a player practically carries his team?  Is he automatically disqualified from consideration just because he had a supporting cast from the California Penal League?  Nope.  Consider that two of the top candidates are Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun.  Braun’s line is .335 / .404 / .595 / .999 with 95 rbi, 27 hr, 96 runs, 31 steals, 6.4 oWAR, 0.5 dWAR, and a total of 6.9 WAR.  Matt Kemp’s line is .320 / .400 / .570 / .970 with 106 rbi, 32 hr, 90 runs, 37 steals, 7.6 oWAR, 1.0 dWAR, and a total of 8.6 WAR.  In a head-to-head comparison, Kemp wins in my opinion, but it’s worth delving a bit deeper.  Consider their contributions to their respective teams.  The Brewers’ batters have accumulated a total WAR of 21.6, and Braun is 6.9 of that total.  Furthermore, he has the luxury of having a guy (Prince Fielder) with a 4.6 oWAR hitting behind him in the lineup.  As for Kemp, the Dodgers have accumulated a total WAR of 14.4, and Kemp is 8.6 of that, so the rest of the team is good for only 5.8 WAR.  The next closest of Kemp’s supporting cast is Andre Ethier at 1.5 WAR, so it’s safe to say that Kemp is the main man.  I’m not saying that this is the best way to determine who the MVP is, but it’s a good way of adding context to the discussion.  Kemp >>> Rest of the Dodgers
  3. If you truly want to discuss the merits of any trade, please start with a disclaimer explaining whether or not you are blindly loyal to a particular player involved.  I don’t really care if you love/hate/despise/stalk a certain player as long as you are forthcoming about it.  If you happen to be steadfastly biased, then I’m perfectly happy to skip the discussion and move on to the donut and coffee portion of the meeting. 
  4. While it’s a few months away, it’s worth keeping an eye on the arbitration process for Kyle McClellan.  After an outstanding year as a reliever last year, he settled for a $1.375M contract from the Cardinals.  He’s already 10-6 this season and due for a significant raise, so I’m curious what kind of numbers will be exchanged when the time comes.  McClellan knows that he’s a legitimate starter, but the Cardinals don’t have a place for him in the rotation as of right now.
  5. Milwaukee’s magic number is 11 to clinch the NL Central.  Atlanta’s magic number to clinch the Wild Card over both the Giants and Cardinals stands at 14.  That means that it is officially time to focus on the WC race and root for the #NotBraves.
  6. If the Cardinals gave out an award for bullpen MVP, I’d hope they would give it to Jason Motte.  Motte leads the team in holds (17), ERA (1.57), and he’s 2nd in WHIP (0.91).  He has 51 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings, and he has made 66 appearances. 
  7. Pujols Average Watch:  With 21 games remaining, Albert Pujols needs to hit around .333 to push his average to .300 for the season. 
  8. The Cardinals need to average right around 39,700 in paid attendance for the remaining 11 home games to reach the 3.1M attendance mark for the season.  Get out there and make it happen, people.  Many of you will be griping about how much you miss baseball this winter, so go see them play while you can. 
  9. In case you weren’t paying attentiong, the Blue Jays release Brian Tallet the other day. 

TIDBIT:  Ever wake up and can’t fall back to sleep, so you think of nicknames for baseball players?  Yeah, me neither.

  • Lance “A Tree Grows In Brook” Lynn
  • Jaime “Cherries” Garcia
  • Corey Patterson “Of A Preacher Man”
  • Miguel “Birds on the” Batista
  • Tyler “It’s Not Easy Being” Greene
  • Shane “Won’t You Please Mrs” Robinson
  • PJ “And The Bear” Walters
  • Arthur “Colossus of” Rhodes
  • Matt “Federal” Holliday
  • Adron Chambers “of Secrets”
  • Gerald Laird “of the Flies”

Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more bad nicknames!



Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Jared Witt September 6, 2011

Dennis, with all due respect, I’m afraid I disagree with you entirely on the matter of bringing Furcal back for a 2012 campaign. Granted, Greene definitely deserves a look this year; after all, why not? He’s been putting up very good numbers in Memphis this year. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. In 143 games for the Cardinals he’s produced a .303 OBP, .306 SLG, and a .609 OPS. That is awful, and to be honest, I don’t really expect anything different. Sure, Furcal is 33, and certainly had his struggles this year, but a reasonable offer, and a proven clean bill of health could provide much more benefit in the interim than Greene probably could. Alas, Greene could possibly have “figured it out”, but refering to recent history, it could very well be another mirage, so to speak.

Dennis September 6, 2011

Greene’s awful is still right there with Furcal’s present production. The problem is that Furcal is being billed as a defensive stalwart when the numbers don’t back it up. Considering the porous defense at SS this season and the lack of team speed, it just seems that it’s hard to justify sinking more money into a low ceiling player. More importantly, doing so moves the team away from the approach of surrounding the big names with low cost, young, talented players. The extra $3.0M or $3.5M spent on Furcal is money that can’t be spent elsewhere.

Jared Witt September 7, 2011

I’m a big-backer in a youth movement; I really am. However, if you’re going to go with a youth movement approach, wouldn’t it be wise to pug in a player who you can count on to at least be possibly productive? As of right now, I really don’t have confidence in anyone currently to be able to do that. Not only that, but, as a whole, the free agent market is pretty thin…… In other words, our options are pretty slim. Unless they really want to give Greene another try, but his numbers suggest this could be another Jekyll and Hyde cameo appearance. Granted Furcal comes with a lot of risk, and he really hasn’t been as good as most perceive(a UZR/150 of -7.6 is far from good, actually) defensively, but depending on the financial situation(which is up in the air; I know) he COULD be a wise move. That said, at this point, who would be better? If Furcal can prove he as a clean bill- of- health I could see it being a venture worth pursuing.Anyway, in this case, I agree to disagree. Thanks for the reply, Dennis.

Dennis September 7, 2011

There is “productive” in the sense of potentially hitting for average and/or power (Furcal), and there is the other kind which entails a high OBP, good defense, and manufacturing runs (Greene). The Cardinals already have plenty of one, and they are incredibly deficient in the other. Last night they gave us a perfect example of what can happen when they have just a small taste of the other, though. Hitting lanes open up, and a speedy guy can go from 1st to 3rd on a weak hit to the outfield.

If money were not a part of this equation, I would have no issue with Furcal. However, money is a huge part of the risk here, and Furcal hasn’t been a full-time/full season player since 2009. He’s getting the benefit of the doubt in St. Louis that Greene will probably never get. We’re seeing now what that has done for Brendan Ryan, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen for Tyler Greene. Some guys just need to be starters and have the confidence of knowing that they will get the repetitions that go along with that label. As for Furcal, he’ll probably get his money from the Cardinals, and then everybody who wanted him can be just thrilled until they have to answer one simple question. Who is backing up Furcal?

AM September 9, 2011

Why is backing up Furcal some huge point? It could very well be Greene.

The organization — as does much of the industry — views plenty of game left in Furcal, should he get started from day one healthy, which is entirely possible starting next spring. And when you call Greene the on-base option, that’s really not that significant of an edge. Greene’s walk rate this year was about the first time it got over 10%, and it probably won’t stay there in the majors. Manufacturing runs? Is that the same guy who failed miserably to get down a bunt on three consecutive pitches in a crucial spot earlier this year?

He deserves a shot, but so does a proven guy in Furcal at a low cost.

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