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Dadawg_77
02-25-2004, 10:12 AM
Baseball Prospectus
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Chicago White Sox

Turning Japanese: When it comes to spinning his wheels, Kenny Williams gives Onan a run for his money.
Williams took the conn from Ron Schueler after the 2000 season. That year, the Sox won 95 games. Going into 2001, the Sox had the #1 farm system in baseball according to Baseball America, and all was right with the world. In his three years as General Manager, the White Sox have won 83, 81, and 86 games. The farm system has lost ground every year, dropping from #1 to #20 since Williams took over:


Year Ranking
2000 1st
2001 9th
2002 15th
2003 20th

Williams had a substantial role in building the system he inherited as GM. He once oversaw a farm system that was ranked the best in baseball by Baseball America, USA Today, and Howe SportsData. No one can white that out from his resume. But he has done enough in his short tenure to destroy his own legacy so that his time with the Sox will be remembered as a missed opportunity.

He fired the pitching coach and things didn't get better, and then he fired the hitting coach and things didn't get better, and then, with a fresh start his only sensible option, he fired the manager. The axe fell on Manuel's neck but Williams shares responsibility for Manuel's failure.

His deal for Todd Ritchie burps up every time Kip Wells has a quality start. Williams was Pollyannaish about the resiliency of Antonio Osuna, and the Billy Koch trade was self-evidently foolish. He made an astute if insufficient acquisition of Bartolo Colon, and then lost his services after a single season. One of Williams's first acts was to trade Chad Bradford to the A's for Miguel Olivo--that's Williams: he typically doesn't get torched, just singed enough to leave a scar.

For every good move Williams has made, he has discombobulated himself with a bad one. Last year he made a shrewd move landing Carl Everett, but he's elsewhere now, as is Tom Gordon, who had plenty left to give. Getting Scott Sullivan for 15 pennant-race innings was good, but he'll be pitching for the Royals this year, and he cost the Sox Tim Hummel, an on-base guy in an organization sore for quality middle infielders, especially since Hummel was moved soon after Williams dumped D'Angelo Jimenez, another middle infielder who knows how to get himself on base.

Esteban Loaiza's superficially garish stats had some indications of value, and Williams had the stones to give him another shot. Maybe it was more luck than courage, putting a pitcher with gopheritis into a hitter's park, but he caught lightning in a bottle, and again, no one should forget this one when they're checking Williams' scorecard. Even so, it won't do him any good when Loaiza regresses to his mean and there's no one to pick up Colon's load.

Williams has signed Sandy Alomar Jr. three times, blocking the development of Mark Johnson, Josh Paul and Miguel Olivo. He developed Joe Crede and Jon Rauch but hasn't had the stomach to let them learn OJT. He stole Jimenez but dumped him. Late to the pagoda, Williams signed Shingo Takatsu, a middling sidearmer who would appear to be a replacement for Sullivan, at a cost greater than the Padres laid out for Akinori Otsuka, who PECOTA projects to have the second-best ERA in baseball this year.


Paddling With One Oar in the Water: Manuel was Williams's manager for three years, and he ran the clubhouse for the past six seasons. His teams won 500 games and lost 471, a mark of +29 wins for his stay. His Pythagorean record was 494-477, a mark of +17. Apparently, his teams were more lucky than unlucky, stealing an average of two wins per year, and even accounting for luck his record sounds pretty good, but let's hold our applause for a moment.
The important measure isn't how many games a manager wins. It's how his teams performed relative to how they should have done. In The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers, James presented a way to gauge a manager's effectiveness. To predict how many games a team should win in a season, we can look at four factors: the three most recent seasons and one hypothetical season of mean performance, or 81 wins. The most recent season accounts for 50% of the weight, the hypothetical season of .500 ball is weighed at 25%, and the two seasons previous to the most recent account for 12.5% each. It's a crude tool but it's generally accurate. Using this formula, we see that Manuel's teams were ordinary, and that for all of Williams's plate-spinning the Sox have gotten nowhere since he took over. Manuel's record:


Year Predicted Wins Actual Wins Net
1998 80 80 0
1999 81 75 -6
2000 78 95 +17
2001 87 83 -4
2002 84 81 -3
2003 83 86 +3


James considers any season of +3 or better to be a good season, and -3 or worse to be a bad season. Manuel had three bad seasons, two good ones, and a wash year. In his six-year run he was +7, a big step down from the +29 he scores if we just look at raw wins and losses. Comparing his predicted wins to his teams' Pythagorean wins, we see that he comes down nearly to the break-even:

Year Predicted Wins Pyth Wins Net
1998 80 75 -5
1999 81 72 -9
2000 78 92 +14
2001 87 81 -6
2002 84 86 +2
2003 83 88 +5


Looking at how he did in light of how many wins his teams' performance earned, Manuel nets out at +1. He had an outlier season in 2000 but he looks like another wheel-spinner. It was time for him to go. But as you'd expect, the James formula predicts that the Sox will win 84 games this year, another static summer for Williams.
In the next White Sox PTP we'll look at how Manuel's pitching staffs fared, and whether Williams's fiddling was fruitful or just three years of brownian motion.

rdivaldi
02-25-2004, 10:32 AM
BP should stick to statistical analysis, as their writings and commentaries are poor. Not a very good article at all.

poorme
02-25-2004, 10:45 AM
Thank goodness I didn't have to pay to read that.

hold2dibber
02-25-2004, 11:22 AM
Although there's a lot to take issue with in the article, I do agree with the conclusion - the Sox have been mediocre, currently are mediocre, and appear to be headed for mediocrity in the years to come.

Unless Jeremy Reed turns into Paul Molitor, Jon Garland morphs into Kevin Brown, Jon Rauch turns into Mike Mussina and Joe Crede becomes Troy Glaus, I can't see this team being more than an 85 win team (at best).

Kittle
02-25-2004, 11:22 AM
KW must've banged this guy's wife or something.

One's farm system tends to go downhill when you trade prospects for proven players in an attempt to win right away. But I thought that would've been obvious...

I agree that the Koch and Ritchie deals were bad moves, but this guy needs to give KW some credit. He doesn't do that bad of a job, considering JR's contraints (financial and otherwise).

ode to veeck
02-25-2004, 11:27 AM
I agree that the Koch and Ritchie deals were bad moves, but this guy needs to give KW some credit. He doesn't do that bad of a job, considering JR's contraints (financial and otherwise).

Improving grade for KW on his midseason moves last year, but I think KW's rep really got tarnished early with the Royce move coming off the div champ season

Kittle
02-25-2004, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by ode to veeck
Improving grade for KW on his midseason moves last year, but I think KW's rep really got tarnished early with the Royce move coming off the div champ season

Agreed. He and/or JM were also responsible for burning bridges with Foulke.

KW did make a couple good moves, though. In addition to last year's mid-season deals, the Wells trade was great on paper (especially when one considers that Siro was damaged goods at the time) but Wells couldn't stay healthy that year either.

KW's a mediocre GM, but not a terrible one.

soxtalker
02-25-2004, 11:46 AM
It's a good article from my perspective. It isn't so much the details; there are other examples that he could have cited on both sides. He gives KW some credit and much blame. However, it captures the "feeling" that I've had about this team over the past few years. We've placed the blame on JM, JR, and KW at times, but, wherever it lies, this team never "feels" like it is improving over anything but the shortest time scale. You can argue with specific measures or with the difficulty of predicting the eventual performance of prospects, but the continual downgrading of the farm system is an indication that the problems will get worse down the road.

CubKilla
02-25-2004, 11:59 AM
I thought the article was right on. Granted, KW is not 100% responsible for 3 consecutive 2nd Place finishes in the AL Central. But KW's deals, trades, acquisitions, and garishly exorbitant contracts to unproven, one year talents, doesn't excuse KW from blame either.

Irishsox1
02-25-2004, 12:10 PM
The writer was all over the place and basically choose to highlight the stuff that didn't go always go 100% right. However this is the dumbest comment: "Williams has signed Sandy Alomar Jr. three times, blocking the development of Mark Johnson, Josh Paul and Miguel Olivo." Mark Johnson and Josh Paul are 4A players at best and have done nothing since they've left the Sox for better development. And if the writer thinks that all of this is the White Sox or Kennys fault, then he couldn't be more off the mark. As for Miguel Olivo, he played a lot last year and showed everyone that he can't hit a curve ball to save his life, but that he's got a cannon for a right arm.

Kenny work his butt of last year to put out a quality team after the All-Star break, but they didn't win the big games and missed the playoffs. Is that Kenny's fault or was it the manager or the players fault? I fault the players for last years collapse.

Dadawg_77
02-25-2004, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by Irishsox1
Kenny work his butt of last year to put out a quality team after the All-Star break, but they didn't win the big games and missed the playoffs. Is that Kenny's fault or was it the manager or the players fault? I fault the players for last years collapse.

The only problem was Kenny thinks a yugo and Civic are the same thing.

CubKilla
02-25-2004, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Irishsox1
Kenny work his butt of last year to put out a quality team after the All-Star break, but they didn't win the big games and missed the playoffs. Is that Kenny's fault or was it the manager or the players fault? I fault the players for last years collapse.

Kenny should have worked just slightly harder and fired the dead wood managing..... err, sleeping..... this team through the second half of '03.

ChiSox65
02-25-2004, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by Kittle
KW must've banged this guy's wife or something.

One's farm system tends to go downhill when you trade prospects for proven players in an attempt to win right away. But I thought that would've been obvious...

I agree that the Koch and Ritchie deals were bad moves, but this guy needs to give KW some credit. He doesn't do that bad of a job, considering JR's contraints (financial and otherwise).


I agree........and believe that if the Sox would have made the playoffs last year most if not all our free agents would have been retained, making Kenny look even better.

jeremyb1
02-25-2004, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by ChiSox65
I agree........and believe that if the Sox would have made the playoffs last year most if not all our free agents would have been retained, making Kenny look even better.

I didn't think it was a terrible article. The subject matter seems to be a bit overdone at this point. Analysis of Manuel's effectiveness as manager was interesting but transaction analysis has dealt plenty with KW's moves.

As far as Sandy Alomar, I think the point was not than MJ and Josh Paul are would be all-stars but rather its not worth blocking any young catcher for Alomar who tends to be below replacement level.

I don't think the article argues KW is a terrible GM simply that while he's made some good moves he's made a lot of terrible moves also.

doublem23
02-25-2004, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1

I don't think the article argues KW is a terrible GM simply that while he's made some good moves he's made a lot of terrible moves also.

I know I'm killing the messenger, but how does a GM who makes more terrible moves than good not be a terrible GM?

pudge
02-25-2004, 01:30 PM
What was so bad about it?

I agree the Sandy Alomar comment was a little odd, but overall, I thought it was a fabulous article... labeling the Colon trade as "astute but insufficient" is about the best wording I've ever seen. For everything Williams has done right, he's done something wrong, and as a result we're spinning our wheels. I don't see what can be argued with in that article, unless as a Sox fan you consider it all old news, which to us diehards it is.

rdivaldi
02-25-2004, 02:05 PM
The article somehow forgets to mention the Marte for Guerrier trade, and I have no idea how anyone could say the farm system has gotten so much worse over the past 4 years. I wouldn't exactly say it produced a bunch of superstars between 1999-2001.

That was a very poor article.

skottyj242
02-25-2004, 02:13 PM
I wasted all that time reading that article to find out the sox have been mediocre the last six years? What a waste. I'm so sick of people buying into the whole "Moneyball" mentality, although it was a great book I'm still a seller of the whole concept. If it was so solid why is there already a book about it?

hold2dibber
02-25-2004, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by skottyj242
I wasted all that time reading that article to find out the sox have been mediocre the last six years? What a waste. I'm so sick of people buying into the whole "Moneyball" mentality, although it was a great book I'm still a seller of the whole concept. If it was so solid why is there already a book about it?

I have no idea what your point is. What does Moneyball have to do with it? What do you mean you're a "seller of the whole concept" - what concept and what are you selling? And how does there being a book about it (whatever "it" is) make is less "solid"? :?:

thepaulbowski
02-25-2004, 03:32 PM
Maybe the "experts" over-rated the Sox farm system and are trying to cover it up now. For it being so bad now, I don't see a lot of former Sox minor leaguers on the all-star team. So what has happened to all the talent that made it the best?

soxtalker
02-25-2004, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by thepaulbowski
Maybe the "experts" over-rated the Sox farm system and are trying to cover it up now. For it being so bad now, I don't see a lot of former Sox minor leaguers on the all-star team. So what has happened to all the talent that made it the best?

Well, I can raise one possibility. The talent may very well have been there, but it didn't get developed properly. In fact, I suspect that this has a lot to do with the inability of the former players to do very well. Schueler tended to spend his high draft picks on pitchers. So many of them ended up getting injured. Now, perhaps this is just bad luck or what one can expect from pitching prospects. On the other hand, it could also be that they were used in a manner that led to injuries.

The Sox system has been dropping in the evaluations for several years now. So, other clubs are getting better. I'd rather have a farm system that is perceived as being top rated.

A. Cavatica
02-25-2004, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
Kenny Williams gives Onan a run for his money.

Onan Masaoka? Wasn't that a Schueler move?

rdivaldi
02-25-2004, 04:16 PM
The Sox system has been dropping in the evaluations for several years now. So, other clubs are getting better. I'd rather have a farm system that is perceived as being top rated.

Even though I appreciate and enjoy what BA does for fans with their prospect reports, it's all just subjective in the end. Farm systems drop or shoot up the rankings rather quickly because no one can accurately predict what prospects are going to do from one season to the next. No one ever saw Buehrle becoming the front of the rotation pitcher that he is today.

Great seasons from a majority of our younger players: Anderson, Sweeney, Valido, Young, McCarthy, Honel, Wing, Schnurstein, etc. could vault us into the top 10 again.

Prospects are a crap shoot for the most part...

lowesox
02-25-2004, 05:07 PM
Originally posted by Kittle
KW's a mediocre GM, but not a terrible one.

I think Kenny Williams is a terrible General Manager. Sure he brought in some good players, but who couldn't do that with such a highly rated farm team? The fact is, he's highly irresponsible. Which is why a team that had so much potential a few years ago has very little now.

If the White Sox win this year it will be out of sheer luck. It's time we bring in some brains.

rdivaldi
02-25-2004, 05:41 PM
I think Kenny Williams is a terrible General Manager. Sure he brought in some good players, but who couldn't do that with such a highly rated farm team? The fact is, he's highly irresponsible. Which is why a team that had so much potential a few years ago has very little now.

If the White Sox win this year it will be out of sheer luck. It's time we bring in some brains.

Wow, take some deep breaths.

If anything you're trying to have your cake and eat it too, saying that good moves are to be expected and bad moves show that he's irresponsible. Then you cover your butt further by saying if we win it will be by luck.

KW is a pretty good GM, I don't buy your argument at all.

lowesox
02-25-2004, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by rdivaldi
Wow, take some deep breaths.

If anything you're trying to have your cake and eat it too, saying that good moves are to be expected and bad moves show that he's irresponsible. Then you cover your butt further by saying if we win it will be by luck.

KW is a pretty good GM, I don't buy your argument at all.

No, what I was saying is that when he's brought in good players, it's come at the expense of our future. And I'm fine with that if it solidifies our present - but where are we? We have a couple good young players, a couple good veterans on their way out and a team that is neither here nor there. This isn't a team on the brink of a dynasty, this isn't a young team full of potential - it's a team just waiting to rebuild.

Can you honestly say that this team is better from when he took over as GM? It's not - and I'm talking from top to bottom.

rdivaldi
02-25-2004, 06:17 PM
Personally I see little difference in this team from top to bottom since he's taken over. Our core players are still here, and I honestly can't say that the farm system has changed all that much.

Of the supposed #1 farm system, most of the key players are still around, and I'm not exactly shedding any tears over the prospects he's traded. Ring, Rupe, Webster? The only guy I would love to have back is Kip Wells.

We have some solid talent in the minors, so we'll have to see if they pan out. If we get solid contributions from a couple guys including Rauch, Borchard, Rowand, and Harris this year, I think everyone will be singing a different tune.

Either way, to say he's done a "terrible job" is over the edge IMO.

lowesox
02-25-2004, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by rdivaldi
Personally I see little difference in this team from top to bottom since he's taken over. Our core players are still here, and I honestly can't say that the farm system has changed all that much.

Of the supposed #1 farm system, most of the key players are still around, and I'm not exactly shedding any tears over the prospects he's traded. Ring, Rupe, Webster? The only guy I would love to have back is Kip Wells.

We have some solid talent in the minors, so we'll have to see if they pan out. If we get solid contributions from a couple guys including Rauch, Borchard, Rowand, and Harris this year, I think everyone will be singing a different tune.

Either way, to say he's done a "terrible job" is over the edge IMO.


Our farm system was ranked number 1 - whether it deserved to be is immaterial. The fact is, if the players at that time were that highly ranked we should have a lot more to show for them whether it be through developing them ourselves (and yes, a GM plays a huge role in that) or trading them at their optimal value.

I'm not sure how you can be so confident about Ring, Rupe or Webster. None of those players have had the chance to fully develop. Who knows maybe in a year you'll be wishing we had them around too just like wells.

If you're holding onto the hopes that Rauch, Borchard, Rowand and Harris will save Kenny's name then you're being pretty optimistic. Aside for Borchard, all of the above have had plenty of time to show what they can do - and of the group only Rowand has shown that he can be serviceable.

Bottom line: it's the GM's job to win and build the value of his franchise. Under Kenny, this team hasn't won and the value has plummeted. Time for somebody new.

pearso66
02-25-2004, 06:54 PM
a few of those prospects, namely Rauch and Borchard were the reasons that our farm system was #1. They havn't panned out, and haev fallen downt hte ladder, and hence so has our rating. I for one feel that KW has done a decent job and is far from a terrible GM. Sure he got rid of Kip Wells, but before that trade, many sox fans had given up on him. Fogg hasn't done much since the first month or so of the season after he was traded. I havnt heard much from Lowe either. Sure Ritchie didn't amount to much, but would you really rather have those 3 eating up our roster spots? The only one I'd like back is Wells, and he would probably digress to what he was before he was traded, which people would complain about anyway. The Koch trade was bad, but it wouldnt have been so bad if he didnt lose his velocity, there is no way KW knew that would happen. The David Wells trade was great, he just got hurt, once again, not KW's fault. The Colon trade was great, but he didnt do great, not KW's fault. He has had a couple poor trades, but a lot of trades that people consider bad, weren't bad trades until after you saw what happened after. as they say, hind sight is always 20/20

lowesox
02-25-2004, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by pearso66
The Koch trade was bad, but it wouldnt have been so bad if he didnt lose his velocity, there is no way KW knew that would happen.

It's important to keep in mind that this trade cost us making the playoffs last year. And the reason we did it? Because Kenny thought we 'd be in better financial shape with Koch instead of Foulke. What's happened since then? We're stuck with Koch and a big fat contract. Everybody always talks about how great Kenny is because of the budget, but I keep seeing him make moves that make our budget seem a lot smaller. (See Konerko, see bringing Valentin back...)

As for the 'there's no way KW could have known' bit - I say exactly. Kenny isn't competent to forecast what will happen with his transactions. That's part of being a good GM - you have to be a good fortune teller. It's unreasonable to expect every trade to work out for the best but I'm tired of hearing people make excuses for every one of Kenny's bad trades - which I think are just about every one he's made.

hold2dibber
02-25-2004, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
It's unreasonable to expect every trade to work out for the best but I'm tired of hearing people make excuses for every one of Kenny's bad trades - which I think are just about every one he's made.

I'm going to throw out the ones that come to mind off the top of my head:

Sirotka for Wells; wash
Bradford for Olivo; to be determined (but I still think it was a smart move)
Wells, Fogg, Lowe for Ritchie; bad
Baldwin for Masoka (sp?) and the wrong Berry; wash
Durham for Atkins; bad
Alomar Jr. for Pachecho; good
Lofton for Diaz; good
Guerrier for Marte; good
Biddle, Liefer, Osuna for Colon; good
Somebody lousy for Jimenez; good
Jimenez for somebody lousy; bad
Hummel for Sullivan; to be determined
Miles for Uribe; to be determined
Webster and others for Everett; to be determined
Ring for Alomar Jr.; to be determined
Glover for Schoenweiss; wash
Howry for somebody lousy; good (saved $)

That's 6 good, 8 wash or tbd and 3 bad by my count. I'm sure I'm missing a few, but I sure as hell wouldn't say that "just about every one he's made" has been bad.

Realist
02-25-2004, 07:41 PM
The only thing that kept us out of the World Series last year was Jerry Manuel. Kenny Williams put together a team that struck fear in the hearts of every team we played after picking up Robbie Alomar and Carl Everett.

A different manager never would have allowed that collapse in Minnesota or allowed the dissention in the clubhouse to get so out of hand.

In my opinion, Williams' worst move was a non-move. He should have fired Jerry Manuel last May. Look what pulling the pin on the wrong manager did for the Marlins last spring.

lowesox
02-25-2004, 08:21 PM
Originally posted by hold2dibber
That's 6 good, 8 wash or tbd and 3 bad by my count. I'm sure I'm missing a few, but I sure as hell wouldn't say that "just about every one he's made" has been bad.

Ok, ok - I'll admit I exagerated when I said just about every one. But I think your list is generous in his favour. Here are my thoughts - my 'changes' are in caps. And of course, this is all my opinion...

Sirotka for Wells; wash
Bradford for Olivo; tbd
Wells, Fogg, Lowe for Ritchie; AWFUL
Baldwin for Masoka (sp?) and the wrong Berry; wash
Durham for Atkins; BAD
Alomar Jr. for Pachecho; TBD
Lofton for Diaz; GOOD
Guerrier for Marte; GREAT
Biddle, Liefer, Osuna for Colon; WASH - I'll discuss below
THE JIMENEZ DEALS - WASH
Hummel for Sullivan; BAD - WE DIDN'T KEEP SULLY
Miles for Uribe; to be determined
Webster and others for Everett; BAD - WE LOST VALUE AND IT DIDN'T GET US ANYWHERE
Ring for Alomar Jr.; BAD - SEE ABOVE
Glover for Schoenweiss; TBD
Howry for somebody lousy; good (BUT THIS ONE WAS A NO-BRAINER) (saved $)

Ok - the thing about the Colon deal - and the other ones we made last year for that matter, is they were designed to put us over the top and they failed. Yes, I admire the aggressiveness. And yes, I supported the Colon trade at the time - but the simple fact is we didn't win. And like I said before, it would have been a tough thing for Williams to foresee, but that seems to always be the excuse. The point is, those trades didn't get us anywhere, and who's at fault? KW.

I marked the Colon trade a wash because basically we got one season from a good pitcher and draft picks, in exchange and rocky biddle and a lot of money that could have been used elsewhere. So in retrospect, I think it's a wash.

Dadawg_77
02-25-2004, 08:45 PM
Sirotka for Wells; Bad - Wash. Armgate hurt his rep i
Bradford for Olivo; Bad might become good. If olivo doesn't pick it up it will stay a bad trade.
Wells, Fogg, Lowe for Ritchie; AWFUL
Baldwin for Masoka (sp?) and the wrong Berry; Bad, he just looked plane stupid, wash on a baseball front.
Durham for Atkins; BAD
Alomar Jr. for Pachecho; TBD
Lofton for Diaz; GOOD
Guerrier for Marte; Good, Pit was going to cut Marte so Kenny got him on the cheap. Then again could have waited.
Biddle, Liefer, Osuna for Colon; Great
THE JIMENEZ DEALS - Bad. Trade away the teams bewst player at a postion where it has no one
Hummel for Sullivan; BAD - 15 inng for a 2b when we have none is a bad trade
Miles for Uribe; wash
Webster and others for Everett; Good Everett help the team
Ring for Alomar Jr.; BAD - Alomar hurt the team
Glover for Schoenweiss; If Schown turns out to be a good starter this is a pretty good trade
Howry for somebody lousy; good (BUT THIS ONE WAS A NO-BRAINER) (saved $); ditto
Koch for Foulke - up with the Lou Brock trade.

poorme
02-25-2004, 08:46 PM
wait, did I miss the Koch deal?

The more I think about it, the worse his deals look.

Brian26
02-25-2004, 09:56 PM
The Everett and Alomar deals last year were good, even if we didn't win. It was a calculated risk that gave us a chance to win big. It's better to pull the trigger in a situation like that then lose the division by 1 game.

lowesox
02-25-2004, 10:43 PM
Originally posted by Brian26
The Everett and Alomar deals last year were good, even if we didn't win. It was a calculated risk that gave us a chance to win big. It's better to pull the trigger in a situation like that then lose the division by 1 game.

I agree that it seemed like a good short-term solution at the time - but now looking back at how things finished would you make that trade?

There's one other thing to mention: a lot of people feel that Kenny put together a good enough team to win last year, and that it was in fact Jerry Manuel's fault. Which may have been Williams' biggest mistake of all - keeping Manuel around even though it was clear early on in the season he wasn't the right coach for this team.

cornball
02-25-2004, 10:52 PM
Funny thing about the #1 farm system of the year 2000.

Jon Rauch was BA player of the year and Bourchard was one of the top prospects in the game. Among the others on the Sox top 10 at that time was Crede, Garland, K. Wells, Rowand, McKay Christianson, Brian Simmons and Jeff Liefer.

Still waiting for Bourchard and Rauch at this point, but huge things were expected from them at that time.

Just thought i would point this out. Seems so long ago now.

A. Cavatica
02-25-2004, 11:55 PM
Originally posted by cornball
Jon Rauch was BA player of the year and Bourchard was one of the top prospects in the game. Among the others on the Sox top 10 at that time was Crede, Garland, K. Wells, Rowand, McKay Christianson, Brian Simmons and Jeff Liefer.

Sigh. That year was a lot of fun. I didn't think Christensen or Liefer would make it, but I was positively drooling over those other guys.

Rauch, Garland, and Wells were going to be aces. We weren't going to have enough spots on the staff!
Borchard was going to be Mark McGwire all over again, in right.
Simmons was going to be a five-tool centerfielder.
Crede was going to contend for a Triple Crown someday.

kempsted
02-26-2004, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by rdivaldi
The article somehow forgets to mention the Marte for Guerrier trade, and I have no idea how anyone could say the farm system has gotten so much worse over the past 4 years. I wouldn't exactly say it produced a bunch of superstars between 1999-2001.

That was a very poor article.

He gives you the "how anyone could say the farm system has gotten so much worse over the past 4 years." - the ranking by Baseball America - that is the main publication that ranks farm systems.

But I think a little looking into you need to see why the farm system is not ranked as high. It is partially because they traded away the players and partially because players they had didn't pan out (i.e. it really wasn't the best farm system after all).

BTW - Ring doesn't count - he really wasn't in our farm system for any of these rankings. We practically traded him as soon as he signed with us.

kempsted
02-26-2004, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by skottyj242
I wasted all that time reading that article to find out the sox have been mediocre the last six years? What a waste. I'm so sick of people buying into the whole "Moneyball" mentality, although it was a great book I'm still a seller of the whole concept. If it was so solid why is there already a book about it?

This is incoherent. What does anything in this article really have to do with Moneyball? Also what does the why is there already a book about it mean? Bill James has been writing this stuff for 20 years now?

:?:

kempsted
02-26-2004, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by hold2dibber
I'm going to throw out the ones that come to mind off the top of my head:


Ring for Alomar Jr.; to be determined


Arrrg. All these replies and no one corrected this. It was Ring for Robbie Alomar not Alomar Jr. It was only a good move if you are worried about perception and Sox attendance. Ring might have still at least been trade bait for someone decent. Robbie is gone and really wasn't better than Jimmenez last year anyway.

gosox41
02-26-2004, 08:09 AM
Originally posted by Kittle
KW must've banged this guy's wife or something.

One's farm system tends to go downhill when you trade prospects for proven players in an attempt to win right away. But I thought that would've been obvious...

I agree that the Koch and Ritchie deals were bad moves, but this guy needs to give KW some credit. He doesn't do that bad of a job, considering JR's contraints (financial and otherwise).

But the Sox farm system has fallen fast. Some of it is due to the fact that overhyped guys haven't panned out and some of it is do to trades. Also, I blame KW for not doing a better job drafting.

I enjoyed this article because it pretty much says what I've been saying about KW this whole time. He's nothing. The best word to describe him here is'aggressive'. Anyone can be aggressive, but there's a fine line between aggressive and stupid and KW's crossed it many a time.

Bob

Dadawg_77
02-26-2004, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by kempsted
Arrrg. All these replies and no one corrected this. It was Ring for Robbie Alomar not Alomar Jr. It was only a good move if you are worried about perception and Sox attendance. Ring might have still at least been trade bait for someone decent. Robbie is gone and really wasn't better than Jimmenez last year anyway.

Robbie was gone last year, the corpse playing second base was a hallowed out version of himself. I honestly think Robbie help lost us the division.

lowesox
02-26-2004, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by kempsted
Arrrg. All these replies and no one corrected this. It was Ring for Robbie Alomar not Alomar Jr. It was only a good move if you are worried about perception and Sox attendance. Ring might have still at least been trade bait for someone decent. Robbie is gone and really wasn't better than Jimmenez last year anyway.

The same thing could be said about the Everett trade and you could argue that we gave up even more in that trade. And all the talent we gave up aside, the worst part of it could be that Rowand was looking pretty good right before that trade happened. I hope having Everett take his spot didn't derail him.

rdivaldi
02-26-2004, 11:46 AM
But the Sox farm system has fallen fast.

I can't agree with that statement. We still have a good collection of talent in our farm system. Again, it would only take good performances by a couple of our low level guys for the system to vault up the ladder again. Prospect rankings are very fickle.

Mickster
02-26-2004, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by lowesox
I agree that it seemed like a good short-term solution at the time - but now looking back at how things finished would you make that trade?

You could say that for EVERY trade that doesn't work out. If the sox went all the way, KW would have been hailed as a hero.

The deal took guts, showed that if they are in the race, KW will pull the trigger. I honestly believe that he'll do it agian under the same circumstances. Somehow, i don't see another "white flag" while he is the GM, unless we are waaay out of it by the break.

Kittle
02-26-2004, 12:24 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
Kenny should have worked just slightly harder and fired the dead wood managing..... err, sleeping..... this team through the second half of '03.

I don't think that KW has much of a choice when it comes to that. At least not with JM last season. You think JR would've paid the remainder of JM's contract AND that of a new manager at the same time? No way.

lowesox
02-26-2004, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by Mickster
The deal took guts, showed that if they are in the race, KW will pull the trigger. I honestly believe that he'll do it agian under the same circumstances. Somehow, i don't see another "white flag" while he is the GM, unless we are waaay out of it by the break.

There it is again: the excuse. He tried but it didn't work out. When are KW defenders going to start holding him accountable for results? That is after all what is job is, isn't it? To build a winning team. And he's failed. Any GM can pull the trigger on a stupid trade. I personally would rather have a GM who walks away from a bad trade, then to do it to show how ballsy he is.

I'm actually shocked to see how many supporters he has.

Mickster
02-26-2004, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
There it is again: the excuse. He tried but it didn't work out. When are KW defenders going to start holding him accountable for results? That is after all what is job is, isn't it? To build a winning team. And he's failed. Any GM can pull the trigger on a stupid trade. I personally would rather have a GM who walks away from a bad trade, then to do it to show how ballsy he is.

I'm actually shocked to see how many supporters he has.

So... Lowesox, you were opposed to the trades when they happened?

I certainly wasn't. I suppose you were opposed to D. Wells and Colon as well at the time that they happened (seeing that they were one and out pitchers).

I will hold him accountable for piss-poor spending: the Koch debacle, Konerko's contract, and even for Valentin's contract. Not for pulling a trade that in hindsight didn't work out quite like he (or any of us for that matter) expected.

jeremyb1
02-26-2004, 02:33 PM
First, as far as prospects go you guys are forgetting a top 2000 prospect: Myette. He was once ahead of Garland and one of the top 30 prospects in the game.

As far as evaluating KW goes, I see two problems here. The first is that you can't evaluate every trade with hindsight bias. KW wasn't able to look into a crystle ball and see how good of a pitcher Royce Ring would be in the future so you can't say "TBD, we have to wait until all the facts are in and then blame KW for being unable to perfectly project the future." Sometimes unexpected events happen and you can't always blame the GM for that. The example I always give is, assume Maggs gets injured next week and is out for the season (knock on wood), should we say "KW should've traded Maggs in the offseason since he got hurt." Of course not! So for the same reasons we can't say that KW is terrible if some journeyman minor leaguer is let go and depite a lack of past success suddenly becomes a superstar. You have to evaluate trades reasonably with the information you have in front of you at the time the deal was made.

Along the lines of the above logic, I don't think the Bradford and Marte deals were good moves by KW. Identifying Marte as a talent was an excellent find by KW but did all the other GMs in baseballs feel the same way?! Clearly, the Pirates and the Yankees didn't or they wouldn't have looked to move Marte. Being a good GM isn't always just about getting the most talent in return its about trading and receiving proper value in light of each sides leverage. Its like a business negotiation. It was widely reported that Dave Littlefield was going to place Marte on waivers if he couldn't trade him. Now, I have heard that other teams were interested in trading him or claiming him against us so it makes sense for KW to try to make a deal but how did he end up parting with Guerrier! Now, this is the part where are bunch of you say "What are you talking about Guerrier is terrible, he did nothing with the Pirates and is floating around the majors now." The point is that no one knew that at the time. What we knew at the time was that Guerrier was coming off a strong season with AAA experience, making him our most advanced starter and he was rated the fifth best prospect in a strong system. That's an incredibly high price to pay for a player that is most likely waiver wire bound. Even if we need to outbid the other clubs, do you really think any of them were offering their 6th or 7th best prospect? I highly doubt it.

With Bradford for Olivo, it is true that Olivo has the potential to be a strong player at a tough position and redeem this move. However, at the time the deal was made Bradford was already a stud reliever (he'd posted a sub 3 ERA with outstanding peripherals at Charlotte two seasons in a row) and we didn't exactly have an unbeatable pen at this point. We've missed out on four dominant seasons of relief pitching. Olivo is going to have to be an all-star calliber player for this deal to work out for us and what were the odds of that happening when KW dealt for a minor league catcher who was old for his league and posted poor numbers? If this deal works out I'd argue its largely due to luck and maybe a little bit of good scouting.

While we're still on trades a few more horrible trades KW has gotten off the hook for are Myette for Clayton and the deal that never was, Garland and Singleton for Erstad. Where do you think our finances would be now if we had Erstad on the club? Frank, Maggs or someone wouldn't be here and we'd have three holes in our rotation instead of two. Best case scenario is that we wouldn't have resigned Erstad meaning we would've lost Garland for one crappy season or Erstad.

The second problem here with evaluating KW's deals is that we're only talking about trades. Trades are really a small part of a GM's work. Drafts and trades that weren't made are also very important. However, they're much harder to evaluate. Something that's not so hard to evaluate that is absolutely essential however is signings. The deals KW signed Konerko and Koch to certainly haven't helped this organization any.

rahulsekhar
02-26-2004, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
First, as far as prospects go you guys are forgetting a top 2000 prospect: Myette. He was once ahead of Garland and one of the top 30 prospects in the game.

As far as evaluating KW goes, I see two problems here. The first is that you can't evaluate every trade with hindsight bias. KW wasn't able to look into a crystle ball and see how good of a pitcher Royce Ring would be in the future so you can't say "TBD, we have to wait until all the facts are in and then blame KW for being unable to perfectly project the future." Sometimes unexpected events happen and you can't always blame the GM for that. The example I always give is, assume Maggs gets injured next week and is out for the season (knock on wood), should we say "KW should've traded Maggs in the offseason since he got hurt." Of course not! So for the same reasons we can't say that KW is terrible if some journeyman minor leaguer is let go and depite a lack of past success suddenly becomes a superstar. You have to evaluate trades reasonably with the information you have in front of you at the time the deal was made.

Along the lines of the above logic, I don't think the Bradford and Marte deals were good moves by KW. Identifying Marte as a talent was an excellent find by KW but did all the other GMs in baseballs feel the same way?! Clearly, the Pirates and the Yankees didn't or they wouldn't have looked to move Marte. Being a good GM isn't always just about getting the most talent in return its about trading and receiving proper value in light of each sides leverage. Its like a business negotiation. It was widely reported that Dave Littlefield was going to place Marte on waivers if he couldn't trade him. Now, I have heard that other teams were interested in trading him or claiming him against us so it makes sense for KW to try to make a deal but how did he end up parting with Guerrier! Now, this is the part where are bunch of you say "What are you talking about Guerrier is terrible, he did nothing with the Pirates and is floating around the majors now." The point is that no one knew that at the time. What we knew at the time was that Guerrier was coming off a strong season with AAA experience, making him our most advanced starter and he was rated the fifth best prospect in a strong system. That's an incredibly high price to pay for a player that is most likely waiver wire bound. Even if we need to outbid the other clubs, do you really think any of them were offering their 6th or 7th best prospect? I highly doubt it.

With Bradford for Olivo, it is true that Olivo has the potential to be a strong player at a tough position and redeem this move. However, at the time the deal was made Bradford was already a stud reliever (he'd posted a sub 3 ERA with outstanding peripherals at Charlotte two seasons in a row) and we didn't exactly have an unbeatable pen at this point. We've missed out on four dominant seasons of relief pitching. Olivo is going to have to be an all-star calliber player for this deal to work out for us and what were the odds of that happening when KW dealt for a minor league catcher who was old for his league and posted poor numbers? If this deal works out I'd argue its largely due to luck and maybe a little bit of good scouting.

While we're still on trades a few more horrible trades KW has gotten off the hook for are Myette for Clayton and the deal that never was, Garland and Singleton for Erstad. Where do you think our finances would be now if we had Erstad on the club? Frank, Maggs or someone wouldn't be here and we'd have three holes in our rotation instead of two. Best case scenario is that we wouldn't have resigned Erstad meaning we would've lost Garland for one crappy season or Erstad.

The second problem here with evaluating KW's deals is that we're only talking about trades. Trades are really a small part of a GM's work. Drafts and trades that weren't made are also very important. However, they're much harder to evaluate. Something that's not so hard to evaluate that is absolutely essential however is signings. The deals KW signed Konerko and Koch to certainly haven't helped this organization any.

I disagree. You're right that GM's dont' have the benefit of hindsight (and the Mags example is a good one), but it IS the job of a GM to try and project players to ML rosters and out-project other GMs. That's why if KW sees a highly rated and well-performing Myette and says "I don't think this guy has it", he SHOULD deal him while the value is high. If he's right, it's a good trade. If he's wrong, and the guy pans out well - it's a bad trade (depending on who you get for him).

Circumstances beyond the control of GMs are:
1) Managing (assuming he didn't have the authority to can JM)
2) Injury
3) Dramatic declines in performance that couldn't be anticipated (the players have to have some responsibility).

So - the Wells trade was a good one - hard to predict David would get a major injury. Same with Koch (although you could use point #3 above to say KW should have expected a decline in his performance based on his stats).

With that - Myette for Clayton's a wash. Myette's doing little to nothing for Texas, so if someone else rated him highly and KW rated him more accurately, kudos to him (but no kudos for getting Clayton).

Garland/Singleton for Erstad - hard to slam a guy for a deal that didn't happen. Might as well give him kudos for the Mags-Nomar deal since he had that all in place and it fell through for no fault of his.

Marte for Guerrier - a steal. Give up a guy who's done nothing (again - good evaluation by KW to see that), and get a guy who's been lights out as a reliever and occasional closer.

IMO - KW's been a decent GM who's improving. Ritchie & Koch are obviously huge weights on him, and he's given bad contracts to Konerko & Valentin (although I'm not sure who we'd have at SS if we'd let Jose go - is there anyone who really wanted Uribe penciled in there?). But he's made some good moves and for all the "decline in the farm system", only 1 trade is responsible for that (Ritchie). The rest of the guys either haven't done much or are still here. Slam the development staff for that one, but don't say KW "gutted" the system.

jeremyb1
02-26-2004, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by rahulsekhar
I disagree. You're right that GM's dont' have the benefit of hindsight (and the Mags example is a good one), but it IS the job of a GM to try and project players to ML rosters and out-project other GMs. That's why if KW sees a highly rated and well-performing Myette and says "I don't think this guy has it", he SHOULD deal him while the value is high. If he's right, it's a good trade. If he's wrong, and the guy pans out well - it's a bad trade (depending on who you get for him).

Circumstances beyond the control of GMs are:
1) Managing (assuming he didn't have the authority to can JM)
2) Injury
3) Dramatic declines in performance that couldn't be anticipated (the players have to have some responsibility).

So - the Wells trade was a good one - hard to predict David would get a major injury. Same with Koch (although you could use point #3 above to say KW should have expected a decline in his performance based on his stats).

With that - Myette for Clayton's a wash. Myette's doing little to nothing for Texas, so if someone else rated him highly and KW rated him more accurately, kudos to him (but no kudos for getting Clayton).

Garland/Singleton for Erstad - hard to slam a guy for a deal that didn't happen. Might as well give him kudos for the Mags-Nomar deal since he had that all in place and it fell through for no fault of his.

Marte for Guerrier - a steal. Give up a guy who's done nothing (again - good evaluation by KW to see that), and get a guy who's been lights out as a reliever and occasional closer.

IMO - KW's been a decent GM who's improving. Ritchie & Koch are obviously huge weights on him, and he's given bad contracts to Konerko & Valentin (although I'm not sure who we'd have at SS if we'd let Jose go - is there anyone who really wanted Uribe penciled in there?). But he's made some good moves and for all the "decline in the farm system", only 1 trade is responsible for that (Ritchie). The rest of the guys either haven't done much or are still here. Slam the development staff for that one, but don't say KW "gutted" the system.

I agree with your overall points, I just disagree about how KW should've went about making decisions I guess. D Wells was overweight, 36 years old, in poor shape, and had missed games in recent seasons due to injury. Anyone who has any knowledge of baseball should realize that Wells is a much, much bigger injury risk that someone like Sirotka.

Additionally, Sirotka's numbers, with the exception of wins, trumped Wells numbers from '00. As you point out with Koch, his numbers were nowhere near as good as Foulke's the season before in what was a downseason for Foulke. Additionally, Koch had a huge workload in '02 and many publications such as BP suggested Beane traded him largely based on the concern he'd injure his arm.

Again, saying Myette's done nothing since we dealt him is hindsight bias. KW kept him in the minors allowing his stock to drop and then decided to deal him for a player Texas should've begged us to take off their hands (a 5 million dollar salary and terrible numbers!!!). KW should've receieved more or simply realized he blew the opportunity to get value for Myette and stick with him til the end.

I think you could slam KW for the Nomar deal just like the Garland deal with the exception the Nomar deal isn't so bad. Like you said, through no control of his own the deal didn't happen.

Again, to say Gurrier has done nothing is using hindsight bias. Baseball America, Dave Littlefield, and other sources certainly didn't think he was worthless.

rahulsekhar
02-26-2004, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1


Again, saying Myette's done nothing since we dealt him is hindsight bias. KW kept him in the minors allowing his stock to drop and then decided to deal him for a player Texas should've begged us to take off their hands (a 5 million dollar salary and terrible numbers!!!). KW should've receieved more or simply realized he blew the opportunity to get value for Myette and stick with him til the end.

I think you could slam KW for the Nomar deal just like the Garland deal with the exception the Nomar deal isn't so bad. Like you said, through no control of his own the deal didn't happen.

Again, to say Gurrier has done nothing is using hindsight bias. Baseball America, Dave Littlefield, and other sources certainly didn't think he was worthless.

My point is this: If Dave Littlefield, etc all think a guy is a stud and KW doesn't - and he ends up being right, that should be a plus for him, not a "he got lucky". Think of it this way - there are a ton of guys who are acknowledged by the "experts" to be supposed studs - most of them don't pan out. The GMs that can identify those that will and those that won't make it are better than the GMs that can't. Judging the talent and character of prospects is what the job's all about. (And to the comment on keeping Myette in the minors - if he wasn't ready, all bringing him up would do is lower his value. And based on his performance in Texas, he wasn't ready.) If you think he could have gotten more for Myette, fine. But I didn't see a ton of offers for him. At the time, Clayton looked like a great field, no hit SS and we were worried about our team D. So seems like a decent deal to me.

And FWIW - I don't understand how you could slam KW for the Nomar deal. I for one thought it was a pretty decent deal, especially if he'd been able to turn Nomar into Mota+Perez+Jackson/Miller or Valentin into Garcia. At worst it was a wash.

lowesox
02-26-2004, 03:32 PM
Guys - saying that Williams should not be held accountable for things that are unforseeable is rediculous to me. It's like saying that a player shouldn't be blamed for swinging at a curve ball when he's expecting a fastball.

He's the GM - it's his job to anticipate everything. I know he can't always be right - be he should be most of the time.

lowesox
02-26-2004, 03:42 PM
I had a few points of contention with your post....

Originally posted by rahulsekhar
So - the Wells trade was a good one - hard to predict David would get a major injury.

Not really. David Wells is fat and old. He has a bad back. He pitched a lot of innings the year prior. And if I'm not mistaken spent some time on the DL at the end of the year prior. This wasn't that unforseeable.

Originally posted by rahulsekhar
Myette's doing little to nothing for Texas, so if someone else rated him highly and KW rated him more accurately, kudos to him (but no kudos for getting Clayton).

The point is here that Williams traded away a player with high perceived value for little in return.

Originally posted by rahulsekhar
Garland/Singleton for Erstad - hard to slam a guy for a deal that didn't happen.

I think on this trade it was Anaheim that backed out. From what I remember Williams was all for it. But you're right - we should evaluate him for the Nomar/Maggs trade. Let's see what happens this year.


Originally posted by rahulsekhar
Valentin (although I'm not sure who we'd have at SS if we'd let Jose go - is there anyone who really wanted Uribe penciled in there?).

True enough, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't rather have had another decent starter and a cheap serviceable shortstop instead.

Dadawg_77
02-26-2004, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by rahulsekhar
My point is this: If Dave Littlefield, etc all think a guy is a stud and KW doesn't - and he ends up being right, that should be a plus for him, not a "he got lucky". Think of it this way - there are a ton of guys who are acknowledged by the "experts" to be supposed studs - most of them don't pan out. The GMs that can identify those that will and those that won't make it are better than the GMs that can't. Judging the talent and character of prospects is what the job's all about. (And to the comment on keeping Myette in the minors - if he wasn't ready, all bringing him up would do is lower his value. And based on his performance in Texas, he wasn't ready.) If you think he could have gotten more for Myette, fine. But I didn't see a ton of offers for him. At the time, Clayton looked like a great field, no hit SS and we were worried about our team D. So seems like a decent deal to me.

And FWIW - I don't understand how you could slam KW for the Nomar deal. I for one thought it was a pretty decent deal, especially if he'd been able to turn Nomar into Mota+Perez+Jackson/Miller or Valentin into Garcia. At worst it was a wash.

Are you related to Kenny, because you lack any objective analyst here. This pigeon holing arguments lack any merit what so ever. First giving up a bag of balls for Clayton is too high pf a price. The very fact Clayton was in the lineup hurt the Sox chances in 2001. Plus to trade a pitcher, who may have helped while the staff was having major injury problems, for a backup SS (not even sure Clayton is that good) is a horrible deal.

The Erstad trade displays the lack of good judgment Kenny has. He was going to trade a very young pitcher still developing for a no bat center fielder who is highly over rated because of a fluke season. He could catch the ball but so could slow-swing.

Looking back the numbers before the trade Sirotka was a better and younger pitcher then Wells. Either Kenny knew about Mike's arm or he is a dip ****, not really sure which one is correct, maybe both. Kenny took a young hungry team in 2000 and turned them into stuff veteran team.

If the Sox had Mark Johnson at the plate with Foulke and Bradford, the Sox are defending the Central crown (maybe more) this year.

Dadawg_77
02-26-2004, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
I think on this trade it was Anaheim that backed out. From what I remember Williams was all for it. But you're right - we should evaluate him for the Nomar/Maggs trade. Let's see what happens this year.




True enough, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't rather have had another decent starter and a cheap serviceable shortstop instead.

Mags for Nomar, depending on PTBNL was a good deal for both team. The Red Sox would have needed to get rid of one of their SS and White Sox would get second best SS in the game for a top 10 Corner outfielder.

lowesox
02-26-2004, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
If the Sox had Mark Johnson at the plate with Foulke and Bradford, the Sox are defending the Central crown (maybe more) this year.

Well put.

rahulsekhar
02-26-2004, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
I had a few points of contention with your post....



Not really. David Wells is fat and old. He has a bad back. He pitched a lot of innings the year prior. And if I'm not mistaken spent some time on the DL at the end of the year prior. This wasn't that unforseeable.

The 5 prior years in a row he made 30+starts and pitched over 200 innings. He was old & fat & had a bad back for all of those, why should KW think that would be the year it would catch up with him? I could see the argument if he hadn't had that stretch, but plenty of vets can take that workload year to year.



The point is here that Williams traded away a player with high perceived value for little in return.

That argument I'd buy, although I don't remember a ton of offers out there for Myette.

I'm not saying he's a great GM by any means. My initial point was that he should get credit for identifying guys who aren't going to pan out and dealing them before that happens. No one he's traded outside of Wells has really done much of anything (although the jury's still out on Ring, etc from last year). So I don't buy the argument that he's "gutted" the farm system.

rahulsekhar
02-26-2004, 04:11 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
Guys - saying that Williams should not be held accountable for things that are unforseeable is rediculous to me. It's like saying that a player shouldn't be blamed for swinging at a curve ball when he's expecting a fastball.

He's the GM - it's his job to anticipate everything. I know he can't always be right - be he should be most of the time.

Then why isn't Billy Beane to blame for not signing Giambi, Tejada, etc to really long deals when they were rookies? Shouldn't he have forseen that they'd develop? I'm sure if he'd offered them $3-5m/year in long term deals, they'd have taken them early on in their careers.

My point is that there are things that a GM can and should forsee - how players develop, areas they can improve in, etc. In most cases, there is no way to forsee injuries, so unless the guy was injury-prone, it's ridiculous to blame them for a guy getting hurt. In Wells case, he'd pitched 5 straight years with an old, fat back and still put together 30+starts & 200+IP.

However, it is 100% legit to blame him for Clayton cancer-ing up the clubhouse, for giving Paulie a contract based on a good half-season, etc. That's part of his job.

Mickster
02-26-2004, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by lowesox
Guys - saying that Williams should not be held accountable for things that are unforseeable is rediculous to me.

KW = Nostradamus? :D:

Soxfest
02-26-2004, 09:38 PM
The article was correct KW has been a disaster as a GM and should of been fired with JM. KW took us from point a to point BLANK

lowesox
02-27-2004, 12:47 AM
Originally posted by Soxfest
The article was correct KW has been a disaster as a GM and should of been fired with JM. KW took us from point a to point BLANK

ACtually, I think he took us from point B to point A.

jeremyb1
02-27-2004, 02:23 AM
Originally posted by rahulsekhar
My point is this: If Dave Littlefield, etc all think a guy is a stud and KW doesn't - and he ends up being right, that should be a plus for him, not a "he got lucky". Think of it this way - there are a ton of guys who are acknowledged by the "experts" to be supposed studs - most of them don't pan out. The GMs that can identify those that will and those that won't make it are better than the GMs that can't. Judging the talent and character of prospects is what the job's all about. (And to the comment on keeping Myette in the minors - if he wasn't ready, all bringing him up would do is lower his value. And based on his performance in Texas, he wasn't ready.) If you think he could have gotten more for Myette, fine. But I didn't see a ton of offers for him. At the time, Clayton looked like a great field, no hit SS and we were worried about our team D. So seems like a decent deal to me.

And FWIW - I don't understand how you could slam KW for the Nomar deal. I for one thought it was a pretty decent deal, especially if he'd been able to turn Nomar into Mota+Perez+Jackson/Miller or Valentin into Garcia. At worst it was a wash.

Well, first of all no one knows which minor league players will be good and which will fail. Some people have much better ideas than other, but tons of young prospects and pitchers in particular fail due to unforseen health problems. Some prospects that look like sure things to everyone end up struggling for some other reason.

However, the key point here is that it is fine for a GM to trade a prospect if he has good reason to believe the player won't succeed in the majors, he simply must still get good value for the player. For instance if the average evaluator thinks Guerrier is rated a 7 on a scale of 10 as far as prospects go and KW thinks he's actually a 4 because he's really intelligent or has inside info, KW should still get close to a 7 in value for Guerrier because that's his market value. As I tried to establish in my previous post as great a find as Marte has been, that doesn't change the reality that he had very little market value at the time he was traded. He was only worth however much it took to keep him away from the other clubs that were supposedly interested. That obviously wasn't much or the Pirates would've planned on auctioning him off to the highest bidder in the first place (or keeping him) instead of placing him on waivers. To summarize: it is a good idea to trade players if you think they're overhyped but you must then get their hyped value instead of what you view as their actual value. That's why you're dealing them because since they're overrated you can get more in return than you're moving.

You may be right in regards to Myette that he wouldn't have brought up his value had he been lit up in the majors but it seems to me that it would've been hard to hurt it much more than we did. We'd already deemed him ready the previous season, then we sent him back to AAA where he posted a sub 4 ERA and still kept him in the minors. I would think that screams to other clubs that he's not in our plans (giving them leverage) and that we feel despite his positive performance in the minors he's not ready to face major league pitching. Even if he is bad maybe we bring him up and use him only in relief where he performs better or maybe he has a few good starts and we can move him.

I didn't mean to necessarily slam the Nomar deal but I wasn't a huge fan. A lot of it depends on whether we would've moved Nomar (reportedly we weren't going to), our odds of signing Nomar compared to Maggs, and what we would've done with Jose had Nomar come to town. Assuming the move was Maggs for Nomar and no other moves were completed, I don't like the move because Nomar's strength lies in the amount of offense he contributes at an offensively challenged position. However, since we already have a well above average shortstop, that value would be lost on us.

jeremyb1
02-27-2004, 02:28 AM
Originally posted by lowesox
Guys - saying that Williams should not be held accountable for things that are unforseeable is rediculous to me. It's like saying that a player shouldn't be blamed for swinging at a curve ball when he's expecting a fastball.

He's the GM - it's his job to anticipate everything. I know he can't always be right - be he should be most of the time.

No offense but that seems like complete insanity to me. There are simply some events so unlikely that no one could reasonably anticipate the outcome. If a GM has to anticipate anything you could make a good case that most other GMs in baseball are poor GMs and maybe should even lose their jobs because no one drafted Maggs the year he was available in the rule V draft or because no one else signed Loaiza to a bigger deal last season. Again, how do you blame Brian Cashman for trading for Aaron Boone and watching him tear his ACL playing basketball or Brian Sabean for Jeff Kent injuring himself washing his truck or crashing his motorcyle. There are obviously degrees of unlikliness for all events and some are greater than others but even as far as talent and development goes I'm not sure any GM in baseball - KW included - thought Marte would perform as well as he did or one that thought that Maggs would be a perennial all-star ten years ago. GMs cannot see the future so they shouldn't be held responsible for predicting events with a 1 in 100 chance of occuring.

jeremyb1
02-27-2004, 02:34 AM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
If the Sox had Mark Johnson at the plate with Foulke and Bradford, the Sox are defending the Central crown (maybe more) this year.

I'd never really thought about having both Foulke AND Bradford last season. Its incredible really. BP puts Foulke at 4 wins last season, Bradford at 2.5 compared to 0 for Koch, putting us over 90 wins. Foulke, Bradford, and Marte would make for one incredible bullpen. That'd have to be the best three pitchers in one pen in baseball.

gosox41
02-27-2004, 07:16 AM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
First, as far as prospects go you guys are forgetting a top 2000 prospect: Myette. He was once ahead of Garland and one of the top 30 prospects in the game.

As far as evaluating KW goes, I see two problems here. The first is that you can't evaluate every trade with hindsight bias. KW wasn't able to look into a crystle ball and see how good of a pitcher Royce Ring would be in the future so you can't say "TBD, wwwe have to wait until all the facts are in and then blame KW for being unable to perfectly project the future." Sometimes unexpected events happen and you can't always blame the GM for that. The example I always give is, assume Maggs gets injured next week and is out for the season (knock on wood), should we say "KW should've traded Maggs in the offseason since he got hurt." Of course not! So for the same reasons we can't say that KW is terrible if some journeyman minor leaguer is let go and depite a lack of past success suddenly becomes a superstar. You have to evaluate trades reasonably with the information you have in front of you at the time the deal was made.



I agree with jeremyb. One thing I love about baseball is to analyze a deal the day it happens taking into account all variables (salary, team trying to win now or rebuilkding depth, etc) and breaking it down. Anyone can say something after the fact, but that's easy. It's more fun to project and see what happens instead of complaining about it after the fact. If you make your prediction right (like I did with Koch/Foulke) then you get to go around with the "I told you so" attitude and have a hatred of KW. If you liked it at the time and it didn't pan out you look bad for calling out KW when the trade was made you liked it.

Bob

gosox41
02-27-2004, 07:17 AM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I'd never really thought about having both Foulke AND Bradford last season. Its incredible really. BP puts Foulke at 4 wins last season, Bradford at 2.5 compared to 0 for Koch, putting us over 90 wins. Foulke, Bradford, and Marte would make for one incredible bullpen. That'd have to be the best three pitchers in one pen in baseball.

If the SOx had just kept Foulke htey would have win the division.

Bob

gosox41
02-27-2004, 07:22 AM
Originally posted by rahulsekhar
Then why isn't Billy Beane to blame for not signing Giambi, Tejada, etc to really long deals when they were rookies? Shouldn't he have forseen that they'd develop? I'm sure if he'd offered them $3-5m/year in long term deals, they'd have taken them early on in their careers.

My point is that there are things that a GM can and should forsee - how players develop, areas they can improve in, etc. In most cases, there is no way to forsee injuries, so unless the guy was injury-prone, it's ridiculous to blame them for a guy getting hurt. In Wells case, he'd pitched 5 straight years with an old, fat back and still put together 30+starts & 200+IP.

However, it is 100% legit to blame him for Clayton cancer-ing up the clubhouse, for giving Paulie a contract based on a good half-season, etc. That's part of his job.

In regards to Wells, it's not necessarily expected that he'd stay healthy. There was a trend in place. I remember when the Sox first got him I thought it was a great trade...if he stayed healthy. But 38 year old over weight pitchers with back problems (and gout) are a risk. It wasn't the worst move KW made but it certainly wasn't great.

Also, when we first got Koch here, I immediately made reference to him being burnt out and suffering from 'Bobby Thigpenitis' I nailed that one, I think.

Lastly, I'llmake the same prediction again. I don't think Colon is going to hold up over the 4 years of his contract. I give him until mid-2005 (unless he drops a few punds, but he hasn't yet.) What do I mean by effective. He's getting paid $14 mill. I'd say he needs to be pitching 220+ innings and and winning between 17-20 games for that money and maintaining an above average ERA for the league(consdiering how the Angels offense is).

Bob

BannisterE6
02-28-2004, 11:09 AM
I wrote the Sox ptp last week. Kenny Williams has not, as far as I know, slept with my wife. She's a Cubs fan.

I usually think it's tacky for a writer to intrude in forums where his work is being discussed, but I think it's in the spirit of being a Sox fan to be willing to take a few punches.

Obviously most die hard fans -- I consider myself one -- know the Sox have been flat. But (a) BP is a national (global) forum, and at this time of year we're tasked with doing a state of the organization analysis, and the state of the org is defined by stasis; (b) it's not really true that we all perceive the problem, because if we did, there wouldn't be so many posts to this board in defense of Williams; (c) the article aimed to give some objective support to the notion that Manuel should not be missed; and (d) PTPs are designed to provoke fan reaction.

I never said Williams was a bad GM. I said he's a wheel spinner. there are worse GMs for sure. Someone's post said that his defining trait is that he's aggressive. I wouldn't take issue with that. I said that he does a lot of things that at the end of the day amount to nothing, hence the admittedly juvenile theme of masturbation running through the article, and hence the Sox being on course for another season in the low-to-mid 80s for wins.

KW does some good things. No one mentioned that I said you have to give him credit for getting the Sox to #1 in BA's rankings and for landing Loaiza (though my praise for that one was a bit qualified).

On Koch: Even at the time the trade was made, we at BP said the it was a terrible idea.