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Great Moments in magical thinking

May 10, 2011, 4:02 PM EDT


I’m struggling to decide what to make of this bit of analysis of Lance Berkman’s season from Joel Sherman in today’s New York Post:

The Yankees lineup would look a lot more fierce with him as the DH while he has shown a renewed athleticism that he could have mixed in at first, left and right. And here is one other thing to at least consider: Berkman is one of Andy Pettitte’s best friends. If the Yankees had kept Berkman would that have convinced Pettitte to play for another year?

And if Berkman were a Yankee he wouldn’t be playing right field and thus maybe wouldn’t have forced himself into shape and would be hitting .232/.305/412. And if me auntie were a man she’d be my uncle. And if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a happy Christmas.

More to the point, one paragraph before he offers the above passage, Sherman notes that keeping Berkman was never a possibility. And last fall, when his option was up, Sherman never once — nor did anyone else on the planet — think that the Yankees keeping Berkman made any kind of sense. Because it didn’t. Not at $15 million or at any other price.

So what’s the point? Just to throw meat at the people who will always seek to find some fault with whatever the Yankees are doing?  To appeal to the “if we only had Andy Pettitte!” dead-enders?

  1. Chris Fiorentino - May 10, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    But Craig, wasn’t there any sabremetrics that should have predicted what Berkman would be doing this year? I mean surely his VORP was high and his BABIP was high enough to make this not much of a surprise, right? Wasn’t his UZR rating in the range acceptable for more GMs to want to give him a shot? How about the PitchFX ratio between his offense and defense? In this day and age where the TAv ratio is calculated to the 5th decimal, we still see things like Lance Berkman at 35 having a line like “.374/.452/.738/1.191”. Amazing!!!!

    • Mark - May 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      First of all, you’re an idiot. Should have told you that a few posts ago, but I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt.

      Second, anybody worth their salt would have recognized that Berkman still retained his good eye, and wasn’t striking out a lot. It was worth giving him a chance considering he was coming off an injury plagued season, and he’s always been an outstanding hitter throughout his career. As I mentioned in another thread, since around 2000 he’s been the 5th or 6th best hitter in the majors. This is a guy who deserved a chance, and I was hoping the Jays would sign him as their DH or 1B. I figured he’d be closer to posting a 380 wOBA if he rebounded, and if you hit the jackpot maybe even one of the low 400 wOBA seasons.

      Not surprisingly, he’s been a poor defender, but nobody’s going to focus on that when he’s hitting like this. But you didn’t need to look at his UZR to know he wouldn’t do well in the OF, considering he hasn’t played the position in years. The right number to look at would be his age, and the games played at 1B.

      Also worth pointing out that he had an 850 OPS last year vs RHP, and a 393 OBP. So rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated. At worst, he would have been a pretty effective platoon bat, with the upside of being a middle of the order hitter. On a one year deal, this guy was going to be a bargain for whoever got him. I’m glad he’s doing well, and kudos to the Cards for taking advantage.

      Did anybody predict he’d do this well this year? I don’t think so. But I didn’t see you calling this either, so for now I’m going to stick with sabermetrics over your tired routine of bashing what you don’t understand.

      And for the record, nobody fucking uses VORP so find something else to complain about, you tired hack.

      • Chris Fiorentino - May 10, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        VORP is the first stat quoted in the other article “a few posts ago” you ignorant a-hole. If you had actually read what was being discussed, instead of being the stupid prick you are, you would have known this. Regarding the rest of your rant, I don’t remember Berkman being too in demand this offseason, and your beloved Blue Jays didn’t sign him on. Keep trolling dummy.

        I’ll give you this much credit…at least you posted instead of just doing the thumbs down.

    • paperlions - May 10, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      Sorry Chris, you had to get a thumbs down for this bilge water.
      A lot of people thought Berkman would hit IF HEALTHY….but most didn’t want to spend what StL did on the hope that he would stay healthy, which he may not.
      Is flaunting your ignorance sport now? Willful ignorance isn’t an admirable characteristic in anyone.

      • Chris Fiorentino - May 10, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        LOL I guess sarcasm doesn’t translate too well to the robotic stat geeks of the world. My apologies if I offended anyone’s tender stat geekiness. It was only a post meant in fun and nothing more. Of course sabremetrics couldn’t predict Berkman would hit like this…because baseball is a game where the unexpected happens. Except if the Phillies win the 2011 World Series…THAT would be truly expected.

      • paperlions - May 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        The sarcasm doesn’t make it through the ignorance.
        Who referred to VORP? That stat hasn’t been used for years…I don’t think anyone even calculates it anymore.

    • cur68 - May 10, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      Chris; I’m just in from a rousing round of golf, read your post and saw nothing but well rounded sarcasm. I guess your rep blew this one up on you. Too bad. It made me laugh, then question if I’d got your intention right when I read the replies then feel all vindicated for catching your sarcasm when you had to explain the joke.

      FTR; Berkman as a Blue Jay would make me puke. I’m betting he’d have done sh!t about getting into shape and would be just there to collect a paycheck. IMO The Jays are better suited to young players who are still hungry, in shape, willing to play hard to get major league experience and make a good start to their careers. IMO he’d have seen the Jays as a dead end team and performed like he had one foot in the grave till they traded him.

      • Mark - May 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        Yes, I’m sure Berkman would have put absolutely no effort in his at bats as a Blue Jay. What nonsense.

        If we’re going to just throw hypothetical bs stories out there, how about the narrative of:

        Hitter coming off down year goes to extremely friendly hitters park, looks rejuvenated. Gets traded to playoff contender, does a good job, gets a big salary next year.

        The only thing that made me puke is the idea of rejecting a hitter of Berkman’s stature.

      • cur68 - May 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        Don’t forget “commonly out of shape” and “injury prone” to “a hitter of Berkman’s stature”. That’s the Lance I know. After Vernon Wells, I’ve had a belly full of injury prone and being out of shape with what those guys get paid is inexcusable.

        And just so you know; it’s ALL hypothetical. Such is the nature of statistics. My hypothesis is as good as yours and as much nonsense as yours since we are discussing what someone ‘might have done on a given team’. Since I don’t comb a players stats for any signs of life I go by the kind of shape he’s in, his age, how recently he played well, and how often he gets hurt. As such given his ~ 0.250 last year, time on the DL, his age, and his doubtless lack of enthusiasm for a perennial non-contender I don’t see him returning to form on the Jays. The Cards, yes, they give him hope, so he gets into shape and plays. But expecting this guy to carry the load for the Jays? My OPINION is no. Not so much.

        Clearly I am not a fan of his. Clearly you are a fan of his. I can respect you relying on his lifetime 0.297 average, and current success for your opinion. I am relying on his history of a fragile, out of shape, now 35 year old body, for mine. I just don’t want to see this guy lumbering around out there till he inevitably goes on the DL.

        As an opinion its as much nonsense as yours.

    • Andrew - May 11, 2011 at 12:01 AM

      I’m bad at picking up sarcasm, and I knew this was tongue-in-cheek as soon as you mentioned VORP.

  2. micquarters - May 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    this blog is turning into a less funny but still needed FJM. and “less funny” isn’t meant as a put down. everyone is less funny that those guys were/are

  3. deathmonkey41 - May 10, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    I wonder if he also thinks bringing back Javier Vazquez again would = third time’s a charm!

  4. spudchukar - May 10, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Perhaps it was due to watching for years as Berkman torched the Cards, but they saw something that no one else did and deserve a lot of credit for that. The notion that the Cardinals are “lucky”, as I have read here holds no more water than any other talent evaluation. One cannot blame that Yanks for choosing not to offer Berkman a 2011 contract, but it was a choice and as it has turned out, at least to this point in the season, it was a poor one.

  5. uuddlrlrbastart - May 10, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    I’ve always been partial to “If ifs and ans were pots and pans, we’d have no need for tinkers.”

  6. xmatt0926x - May 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    After all the insults and analysis this may all be meaningless by the end of June. I don’t care either way as the Cards are not my team but let’s make sure he is still going strong in the middle of summer before we talk about how right or wrong any team was or how wrong anyone was who may have passed on Berkman this offseason. He had a bad year and certainly looked to be out of shape as an aging player. I wouldn’t blame any team for passing on him and he very well may have never gotten into shape if he had a DH position lined up. Lets see how he’s doing at the end before we praise or insult anyone.

    • cur68 - May 10, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      Now THAT sounds reasonable.

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