Tuesday, July 13, 2010

THE PRICE OF PRINCE

Let's do some Scott Boras math.

In this article yesterday by Tom Haudricourt, Scott Boras proclaimed that in negotiating a contract for Prince Fielder, he will be looking for one similar to that of Mark Teixeira.  Teixeira's contract with the Yankees is $180 million for 8 years; an average of $22.5 million per year. Boras justifies this by claiming that having a player like Fielder can mean the difference between drawing 3 million in attendance and drawing 2.4 million.

Now, whether you buy in to Boras' claim is one thing.  Obviously having Fielder would have some impact on attendance, but a difference of 600,000?  Attendance will go up 25% just by having Prince Fielder on the team?  But for now, let's say he's right and work with that number.

According to this chart the Brewers average ticket price in 2010 is $22.10.  If you multiply that number by the 600,000 increase in attendance Boras claims the Brewers will have, you can project an additional revenue of $13.3 million per year by having Fielder.  That's quite a bit short of the $22.5 million that Teixeira makes.  More than $10 million short.  So I guess you can scratch the Brewers off of the list of teams for whom it makes financial sense to sign Prince Fielder.

So who can?  If it's true that Prince Fielder will generate 600,000 additional fans through the turnstiles for whichever team signs him, you would need an average ticket price of $37.50 to be able to justify paying him the $22.5 million per year that Boras will be asking for him.  There are six teams with average ticket prices that high:

Chicago Cubs - $52.56
Boston Red Sox - $52.32
New York Yankees - $51.83
Chicago White Sox - $38.65
Philadelphia Phillies - $32.99
New York Mets - $32.32

The Cubs and Red Sox you can immediately scratch off the list of potential suitors.  Their stadiums aren't big enough to fit the 7,400 additional fans (600,000 divided by 81) per game that Fielder would bring.  They are already near capacity at every game.

The Yankees have already spent quite a bit at first base.  There's DH I suppose so you can't rule that out.  The Phillies already have a Prince Fielder named Ryan Howard.  That would seem to leave the White Sox and the Mets.

And I'm sure this is exactly what Scott Boras is thinking.  I'm sure he's already done this math. The 600,000 attendance figure that he threw out the other day was a carefully calculated number.  He meant it for more than Tom Haudricourt to hear.  Prince Fielder will be headed to New York or Chicago and Boras will convince him that he can't make nearly as much money anywhere else.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

WHO'S ON FIRST?

If the Brewers do wind up trading Prince Fielder, I wouldn't ignore the option of moving Ryan Braun to first base.  He's played third base (albeit brutally) so he should still have some comfort level in the infield.  It would allow the Brewers to improve their defense in the outfield as Braun is currently a liability there.  We really don't have a quality first baseman waiting in the wings in the minors, so it solves that problem.  Maybe Lorenzo Cain will be ready next season and we move Gomez over to left (if he ever proves himself worthy of a starting spot.)  Or maybe we pick up another outfielder in a trade or through free agency.  Or Maybe Rickie Weeks (another defensive liability) goes out to left and Brett Lawrie comes up.  I don't know - just some thoughts.  It makes you think about it a little differently though.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

THIS IS WHAT YOU GET...

... when you piss off the sleeping Giant.


Giants 6, Brewers 1
Giants 6, Brewers 1
Giants 15, Brewers 2
Giants 9, Brewers 3

The Giants had lost 8 of their last 9 heading in to this series and scored more than 3 runs in a game only once in that stretch.

UPDATE:  Henry Schluman of the San Francisco Chronicle agrees.

THE BIG SCORE

Renderings of the new scoreboard at Miller Park next year look amazing.  The thing is going to be huge!  Very impressive.  Very nice addition to the fan experience.

Now, before a single keystroke is typed on the operator's computer, let me give you my wish list for the new scoreboard:

  1. Show more replays.  Seriously.  I see no reason why every single play can't be quickly replayed on the scoreboard for the benefit of those who might have been looking away or had their view blocked by another fan or part of the stadium.
  2. Periodically show the scores from all other games - maybe once an inning.  The small scoreboard in left field can not be seen by many of the seats in Miller Park.
  3. Did I mention showing more replays?
  4. Show an in game box score in addition to just the batting order.  Even putting something like "1-2, HR 2 RBI" after a player's name is better than nothing.
  5. Fantasy stats.  You know you want them.  Every couple of innings post the day's fantasy leaders from around baseball.  Everyone who's hit a home run, driven in more than one run, won a game, saved a game, struck out a bunch.
  6. Tell us who's warming up in the bullpen - every time; not just now and then.
  7. Plays of the day.  I don't know if the Major League Baseball gestapo will allow this, but it would be neat to see highlights from other games before you get home and watch them on ESPN.
  8. Show scores and highlights from the Brewers minor league affiliate teams.  Let's promote some of the prospects before they get here.
  9. And one final thing.  How about more replays?  There's no reason to have such a high quality, high definition scoreboard unless you are going to use it for actual video.  Let's do this right.  Replay every single play.  And the good ones maybe 2-3 times. 
[More...  Somebody just emailed me and said that they should show the live TV broadcast continuously on the board.  You can't do that.  First of all it would be distracting for the hitters to have video playing in their peripheral view while they're batting, and second you would be allowing the hitter to see the catcher's signs.]

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    STONE GLOVES

    John Dewan's Stat of the Week this week ranks all Major League teams on defensive runs saved - a method which analyzes many aspects of defense and estimates how many runs above or below average the defense results in.  As of the time of the posting (which I assume was before last night's debacle), the Brewers were ranked dead last in the ML at -28 runs.

    If that estimate is accurate, the Brewers are about 3 games worse in the standings right now than they would be if they had average Major League defense.  Those three games are the difference between still having a glimmer of hope for the post-season and having no hope at all.

    Every one of the nine field positions has a negative score for the Brewers in Dewan's system.  They are the only team for which that is true.  Dewan singles out Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks as the two players contributing most to the low score.

    ERRATUM:  The Brewers are actually +4 in center field, so they're not negative at every position.  My bad.  Still, that's interesting because center field is the only position where they don't have a regular starter.  It's been mostly Jim Edmonds and Carlos Gomez, but Jody Gerut also has five starts in center and Adam Stern one.  The longest stretch of games with the same starting center fielder has been only 10 by Gomez during the time Edmonds was on the DL.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    TRADE ME NOW OR TRADE ME LATER

    I'd like to challenge the notion that it's better to trade a position player in the off-season than now.  The logic, according to Doug Melvin, is that because of the player movement created in the off-season by free agency, there are more teams shopping for a particular position then than there are during the season.

    What that logic ignores is that there are 3-4 teams in the pennant race right now who might be willing to overpay for a particular position player, a first baseman maybe, who wouldn't be willing to give up as much during the off-season.  If, for example, you had a first baseman available right now, you might be able to take advantage of some other team's desperation and get more for him now than you would if you waited.

    Plus, you are only trading him to one team - not all of the other 29.  The average offer you get in the off-season may be better than the average offer you get now, but the best offer now will probably be better than the best offer in the off-season.  The best offer is the only one that matters.

    Then there's the PR aspect.  What would people think if you traded your slugging first baseman this off-season for a bunch of prospects who aren't going to play until 2012?  How is that going to sell tickets next year?  You couldn't do it.  So you'd be forced to acquire in the trade some established Major Leaguers with far lower ceilings than the prospects.

    I believe that if you have a guy like - alright, Prince Fielder - it's better to trade him now than to wait.  I don't believe you can get more for him in the off-season.  And just because people like Doug Melvin say you can doesn't mean you have to accept it as truth.

    [Now, if you want to believe that Doug Melvin is just saying that to posture and doesn't really believe it himself, I think that would be OK.  Personally, I only believe half of what Doug Melvin says.  I just don't know which half.  I think that's what makes him an outstanding GM.  I actually trust that he'll handle this whole situation rather well.]

    STANDINGS MATH

    When I was growing up, I always considered being 10 games out of first place a point of no return.  Hit ten back and you're done.  No more hope of winning your division.  (That's what you had to do to make the post-season back then.)

    The Brewers find themselves 10-1/2 games out of first place this morning.  That's not quite the low point of the season, but it's very close.  They were 11 games back on June 5th, but it means that in the last month they haven't made up any ground.

    The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals right now are on pace to win 93 and 89 games respectively. If that continues, the Brewers would probably need to win somewhere around 91 games in order to catch them and make the playoffs (figuring that there are still 12 games left against the Reds and if you got hot you're likely to knock them back a few.)  That means they would need to go 54-25 the rest of the way.  A .684 W/L percentage.  Better than two out of three.  That's a winning pace that would win 111 games over a full season.

    The Brewers have never in their history won 54 games in a 79 game stretch.  The most is 52 in the second half of 1982.  I don't think the 2010 Brewers are quite as good as the 1982 team.  If anyone can theorize how they can all of the sudden can be, please let me know.  Otherwise, sorry to say that the Brewers no longer have any reasonable chance of making the playoffs this year.  I think the focus now needs to be how many games we can win next year.

     
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