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Shortly after the season there was a lot of speculation (not sure what if any real basis there was) that the Rays would be willing to deal Matt Garza and/or James Shields to shed even more payroll. I haven't heard anything more in a while. Has anyone heard any more about this? You all may think I'm an idiot, but I like Garza more than I do Greinke and my amateur perception is that if the Rays were willing to deal him it wouldn't take as much to get him as it would to get Greinke. Greinke really scares me since he's never really had to pitch under pennant race or playoff pressure, already has some anxiety issues, and although I have no basis for it seems like he might be injury prone since he's really skinny. Garza, on the other hand is a competitor who seems to look forward to high pressure games. If we could give a significantly lesser package and get Garza sign me up.
I would take Garza... but I think this is his last contract year, so the amount of prospects would/should not be equal to a Greinke deal with just that alone, I also think the Royals probably value Greinke and his talents higher than maybe the Rays would value Garza (in terms of what they would expect in return). Plus, if you look at Garza's numbers vs Greinke's for the past 3 years... not bad. I would be on board with this.
The funny thing is though, if you acquire Greinke most everyone would automatically pencil him in as the number 1 starter in this rotation (without Lee) and if Garza were acquired, where do you think the average fan would project him in this rotation? You could make an argument for him to be anywhere from your number 1 to 3 starter depending on what numbers you deem most important. But any order of Garza, Lewis, Wilson I would take, especially if you can throw Lee in there as your ace.
Time to talk package deals for Garza? But I do also remember hearing that the Rays might look to move either of those guys to save money as well, so I don't think this is too far-fetched.
Amigo, I won't try to talk you into Greinke, but just to bring it up, Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus evaluates injury risk and said he was the least likely pitcher to sustain an injury that he had ever seen, and less likely than many position players. Granted, this is more of an art than a science, I suppose. Here's what he had to say:
"There's one pitcher, however, who comes out as such an outlier that I have to mention it. As I've explained, there's a baseline risk, then several factors that can add or subtract. Zack Greinke, last year's AL Cy Young winner, has such a ridiculously low rating this year that it bears watching. I've seen position players this low, but never a pitcher. The underlying percentage for Greinke is 12 and while Royals fans are screaming "don't jinx it!", I just have a hard time believing that any pitcher could be this low. No, Greinke's off-field issues are not factored in, but in essence, they worked in his favor. Greinke didn't rack up big workload totals while he was below the injury nexus and now that he's passed it healthy, who knows where he could go. I often wonder if we don't have pitchers out there who could be the kind of four-man rotation workhorse that Bob Feller reminds us he was. I'd start with Greinke if I were tasked to find him. And yes, look above. We have no idea what Greinke's joint loads are and I guarantee you, neither do the Royals. Think about that when the inevitable new contract comes up for him."
Here's the link, it's not subscriber only: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10018
People are reading WAY too much into the anxiety issue. Greinke is not going to dissolve into a puddle of goo out there. He has openly said that it's one-on-one situations and small groups where he is uncomfortable, and that he has never had the problems with being watched by thousands of people out on the pitching mound. He's actually a guy who thrives under that type of pressure and he is highly competitive.
I do agree that the prospect price for Garza would be less. I have also heard that the Rays are way more open to dealing Shields, however.
I meant to add also, re Greinke and injury risk: He's been a professional pitcher for ten years now and has never sustained any kind of injury...at all.
That's great to hear about Greinke and makes me a little less uneasy about him. The only argument I have with you is your statement that he's a guy who thrives under that type of pressure and is highly competitive. That may very well be right, but he hasn't had to prove that yet since he's never had to pitch in "that type of pressure" before since he played for the Royals. I know he's pitched against good teams, but he's never pitched in pennant race or playoff games like Garza has (no fault of his own, but I still view it as an unknown about him). I bet you're right on the Rays wanting to deal Shields more. That guy threw meat up there last year. Maybe I'm just afraid of being on the other end of the Texiera trade this time and am looking for things to pick at. When it comes down to it, even at $13 million per year, I think I'd rather just pony up $10 or $12 more million per year to secure Lee and keep the Perez, Scheppers, Beltre, Holland's of the world who we could have for cheap for a while or could use for other deals. Does Greinke's more down to earth year this past year not scare you a little if we have to give up 2 or 3 of the names I just mentioned?
In regards to Greinke's down-to-earth numbers:
I'm not a huge stats guy... I don't follow every fancy 'important' stat like a lot of guys here, but here are the basic numbers to look at comparing his 08-10 seasons:
His ERA was .48 higher last year than in 08 and his WHIP was .03 lower. He also allowed basically a hit per inning pitched in both years. Walked 1 fewer last year and struck out 2 less than he did in 08. So essentially his 2010 and 2008 numbers are very similar. It's his 2009 season that stands out. An ERA 2.01 runs lower than last year and a WHIP .18 lower than 2010. He struck out about 60 more guys than he did in 08 and 10 and walked just a few less guys.
In my very amateur eyes: he was essentially the same pitcher all three years -- HOWEVER, His stuff was just more dominate in 09 (duh, right?): the higher strikeout totals, 6 complete games, 3 were shutouts. It was a good year for him. Can he do it again, I would think so... Will he? Who knows. The Ballpark is a more "hitter friendly" park than Kauffman Stadium and I would just randomly project his 2011 numbers to probably be more similar to his 2008 numbers, instead of his 2009 or 2010 numbers.
Riveting analysis wasn't that?
I made the statements about Greinke's competitive nature etc. based on things said about him in published interviews with people who know him well. If I get a chance I'll try to find links.
So the question is, would you take 2008 Greinke or 2010 Garza (for the package you'd have to give up):
[Greinke][GS] 32 [CG] 1 [SHO] 0 [IP] 202.1 [H] 202 [R] 87 [ER] 78 [HR] 21 [BB] 56 [SO] 183 [WHIP] 1.28 [BAA] .260 [ERA] 3.47
[Garza][GS] 32 [CG] 3 [SHO] 1 [IP] 204.2 [H] 193 [R] 94 [ER] 89 [HR] 28 [BB] 63 [SO] 150 [WHIP] 1.25 [BAA] .248 [ERA] 3.91
Garza is a very mediocre starter. He was only worth 1.8 WAR last season, the same as Tommy Hunter in 2009. His FIPs have risen each of the last 3 years (4.14, 4.17, and 4.42). He is basically a #3 starter who has looked better because of his defense. He is not even in the same conversation as Greinke.
Even in his "down year" last season, Greinke was worth 5.2 WAR. The year before, he had one of the single best seasons in pitching history with 9.4 WAR. His FIPs have been consistently dominant (3.74, 3.56, 2.33, and 3.34). Garza is only marginally better than Tommy Hunter. Greinke is probably one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL. Absolutely huge difference.
@Stephen: Yeah, see... those are the stats I don't know how to calculate. What is a good website to find complete sabermetrics stats on players? I know what they mean, but not really where to find them/how to calculate them. Those numbers would have helped with the argument.
I like both Greinke and Garza. If you go through Greinke's 2010 season. He losts a ton of close game where the Royals didn't score for him. When he won the Cy younbg he was winning those games 1-0 or 2-1. I think he would have a renewed spirit here with the offense the Rangers can produce. so, I am ok if we loose out on Lee and trade for Greinke. But I also like Matt Garza too. He just battles out there and he pitches very well when the pressure is on. But I like the idea of having Greinke for 2 years rather than risk great prospects for just 1 year. Trade for the both if you can't get Cliff Lee back..
@thenamesjordan, the best place to go for sabermetric stats is fangraphs.com. All calculated and ready to go on all players.
(It's worthwhile to point out that Fangraphs calculates WAR differently from Baseball Reference, so it's always good to know whose WAR is being referenced. Most people use Fangraphs.)
Fangraphs is MUCH better than Baseball Reference for calculating pitchers' WAR. BR obviously uses ERA heavily in its formula for WAR, because Greinke didn't even make their Top 20 Starter list -- IN THE AL!!!!
@geo: thanks man, I was actually looking at Baseball Reference when Joey wrote his article on Cliff and was confused by why he was projecting a 6 WAR when BR never had him with a WAR over 4, except for in 2008. Then I found my way to Fangraphs by the way of google and was confused to see they had totally different numbers. I liked the Fangraphs page, thanks for the tip.
Here's a nifty Fangraphs explanation of how their WAR calculation differs from B-Ref:
thanks again geo...I love baseball and I love stats that can quantify and separate players' abilities and help determine who is "better" -- but I hate math and I hate formulas and sometimes a majority of this type of reading just gives me tired-head.
Just to reiterate what others have already said...check out www.fangraphs.com. That is probably the single best website to research players statistics. WAR stands for wins above replacement. Most people prefer FanGraphs as opposed to Baseball Reference WAR calculations because it uses Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) instead of ERA to calculate pitchers values. So FanGraphs takes into account how "lucky" a pitcher has been and how their defense has affected their performance. FIP suggests that Zack Greinke has been consistently one of the best pitchers in baseball, even if his ERA fluctuates from one season to the next.
The stats can be a little confusing for sure. But FanGraphs is awesome.
@Stephen: thanks, I understand what WAR and FIP and other saber stats are... I just don't know about the formulas and how to figure them out, nor until earlier today, did I know the best site to find them. But now I do, so thanks guys.
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