Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Nomar, Cabrera & comatose coaches

Last week I took a look at which MLB shortstops were the best bargain based on their on-field performance and their salary. And by 'best value' I considered some rough measures of defensive (using zone rating and range factor) and offensive prowess (hits, runs, walks minus K's scaled by OPS) when scaled by each player's salary.

To make a long story short, the Rangers' Michael Young proved to be the best bargain (when combining output and cost) while -- drumroll please -- Orlando Cabrera proved to be the worst bargain in all of Major League Baseball. And of course I posted this story before Nomar was eventually traded to the Cubs.

To be fair, I had no idea who Cabrera was and one shortcoming of how I calculated 'bargain' is that I, unlike Theo Epstein, was looking at both offensive and defensive output. As the season progresses (and Millar & Co. keep piling up the errors) I suspect that Theo would be elated to have an infield that included Mientkiewicz, Reese, Cabrera and Mueller (or Youkilis) -- and leave the heavy lifting to Manny, Ortiz, Varitek, Nixon (if he ever gets off the DL) and Millar?(I can't believe I'm writing this, but Millar is hitting about .900 the last few weeks).

So while I wasn't immediately psyched about this trade for myriad reasons, after taking a few deep breaths and getting some perspective, I can (at least rationally) understand the impetus for the trade. As a sentimental Red Sox fan however, I would have loved to see Nomar stay in Boston -- but I'd also be all for signing Mo Vaughn and calling up Oil Can Boyd.

And for all of you Nomar-haters out there (from Boston and beyond) take solace. You can take comfort in knowing that when I was looking at the worst bargain at shortstop, Nomar was dead last. And that was primarily due to the fact that he'd only appeared in 30-plus games and in that span made a bushel of errors. Oh yeah, he's also making $12 million a season.

But hey, the Red Sox just saved $6 million a season (at least this season) and now Nomar plays for a manager that wears wristbands. Which leads me to my final thought.

Dusty Baker might look sillier than most skippers because of said wristbands, but I'd be all for hooking Francona up to some device that reaffirms periodically during the game, that the guy actually has a pulse. For all I know Epstein & Company are re-enacting Weekend at Bernies because coupled with the fact that Francona seems to be in a perpetual coma during games, I don't think he's actually made a sound managerial move all season (see coma comment above).