A Holiday on the Links
While golf courses may be crowded around the country on this Monday holiday, the links are wide open on Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT.
First, Rich Lederer wrote a dead-on assessment of the opt-out part of the JD Drew contract. Essentially, JD Drew has the option to leave his contract with the Dodgers after the first two years and re-sign with another team if he wants to. It's totally up to him.
Studes goes on and discusses the risks and rewards of long-term contracts, mentioning that "the Drew deal is different." He also refers to a related article (Option Value in the Beltran Deal) in The Sports Economist that is worth reading.
There are mixed signals coming out of the camps of Weaver and the Angels:
"It's coming along. I have a good feeling about it," said Weaver about the ongoing negotiations between Boras and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
I find the final three paragraphs of the article somewhat amusing in light of previous comments coming out of the Angels' hierarchy. It's almost as if Bane is saying, "Yeah, we like everything about it -- except for those Mark Prior-like stats because they're going to cost us a lot of money."
But Bane hopes a deal with Weaver will get done this season. He was thrilled when the Golden Spikes Award winner who led the nation in wins (15-1) and strikeouts (213) was still available when the Angels made their first selection.
No, it's time to go out and sign him, Eddie. If you do that, then Weaver can "go out and play some baseball."
Say you are a general manager in an alternate universe and you can choose a clone of either the 19-year-old Koufax or the 19-year-old Blyleven, knowing ahead of time that both will perform exactly as they did in our major leagues. Wins, losses, ERA, innings -- all those stats on the backs of their Topps baseball cards will be exactly duplicated. The key aspect to keep in mind, however, is that free agency is still banned in this alternate universe. In other words, you'll not only get the pitcher for the start of his career, you will have lifetime rights to him (just as the Dodgers did with Koufax). He's your indentured servant for as long as his arm can still pitch.
Well, I'm not sure you could go wrong with either. According to Bill James and Rob Neyer in The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, you would have the pitcher with the best curveball of all time (Koufax) or the one with the third best ever (Blyleven). Number two?
The book credits Koufax with having the second-best fastball from 1960-1964 and Blyleven the ninth-best fastball from 1970-1974. Sandy is also ranked fifth from 1955-1959 and 1965-1969. Koufax and Blyleven, in fact, are the only two pitchers ranked in the top ten Best Curveballs of All Time and in the top ten Best Fastballs in one of the 25 half decades listed (1880-present).
For those Hall of Fame voters who don't think Blyleven was dominant enough, his curveball and fastball ratings are something you can hang your hat on -- if ranking fifth in strikeouts and ninth in shutouts in the history of baseball isn't already enough.