What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Should we sign Lohse?
Eric,I agree the Rangers need more steals but more importantly, they need to improve their success rate per attempt. I don't know what happened in 2012, but the efficiency was low and both Kinsler and Gentry fell off the table in terms of their success rates. If those two return to form things will be much different.
My question is why they were so out of form in 2012. I don't know if the declined were attributable to the runners or the field managing. My guess that it is mostly the latter.
Aggressive baseball is fun to watch and can be a winning theme, but it has to be smart.
Eric contends, The way I see it, if his quote is actually out there somewhere, it's less real than what he says behind closed doors -- which we will never know about.
Not only did he say it, Beane went on to speak specifically how he views offensive strategy in Arlington, "Yes, it’s pitching and power in this league. Nobody has done it better the last 15 years than the Yankees. Listen, you go into Texas and you’re playing that lineup? You’re not going to bunt and steal your way to winning games. Not eight, nine, 10 games a year in that ballpark. Then they come here. You can call that my opinion but you can certainly prove it mathematically. It’s simply not going to happen without the home run. We haven’t had power and this year we did. That was a huge difference."
Beane must be loving that Ron Washington is managing the Texas Rangers. And per your suggestion, Eric, that Beane might be less than sincere in public comments...I'd like to remind you that Beane has unhesitatingly talked about a lot of his baseball "secrets" over the years. Rightly or wrongly he's never seemed worried about people stealing his ideas.
Want to read for yourself?
For emphasis I post it again:
Billy Beane, 10/25/2012"You’re not going to bunt and steal your way to winning games. Not eight, nine, 10 games a year in that ballpark (Arlington)"
If you look at the *actions* the Rangers have taken this offseason...their actions shout "REBUILDING" Whether you can hear that declaration of actions or not I suppose depends on your receptivity to the obvious message.
They jettisoned Young, Hamilton and Napoli and have only added a bandaid catcher. They refused to swap prospects for immediate talent. Culling old wood and patiently waiting to inject young, unproven players is by definition: REBUILDING.
I'd say the Rangers have about a 30% chance of winning the division in '13. I'm not saying they are dead. They are doing the smartest thing to maximize their win count over the next five, six years and are refusing to myopically and mistakenly chase this off-seasons' ill-advised options.
I am not criticizing the Rangers. I'm applauding them. But at the same time...regarding the upcoming 2013 season, I again must say, The war of the worlds is at hand...and we are unprepared.
Primi said "First, the [Dodgers] team is highly leveraged. Oddly, the new debt was provided by insurance companies controlled by Guggenheim. I am not at all knowledgeable of the investment rules for insurance companies but lending money to an affiliate...."
None of that is stated in the article, and from what it said and Guggenheim's business model, it's most likely the polar opposite. The concepts are often confused. But per the implications in the article, the insurance companies are some of the equity partners in the Dodgers, investors who obtained stock and will get an ownership share in return, and not lenders.
That means there was no "lending to an affiliate" (or to anyone else, for that matter), little-to-no leveraging, and no purchase mortgage payments due, just partners sharing in profits and losses as they happen. Life without debt produces a completely different dynamic for a business, and the article went on to say that all the entities were so flush with cash that they are still looking for more places to invest, clearly the opposite of the idea that they are highly leveraged and will be struggling to keep their heads above water.
Eric declares, This is why we need Justin Upton. (power)
3 of the last 5 seasons Upton has had 17 homers or less.
Which player would we be getting?
Ansel, here is the quote that sparked my leverage and affiliate debt comment:
"Boehly, president of Guggenheim Partners, and Walter, the chief executive, each contributed $100 million of their own money toward the purchase of the Dodgers. Three other investors put in a total of $175 million, according to records obtained by The Times. The majority of the money used to buy the team — more than $1 billion — came from insurance companies managed by Guggenheim Partners and controlled by Walter."
Upon closer reading the character of the insurance company investments is not identified with specificity. Traditionally, the great majority of insurance company investments are bonds, real estate, and publicly traded stocks, with private investments in companies like the Dodgers representing a very small percentage of the investment portfolio.
The article states Guggenheim manages the insurance companies, not the investments, so from my point of view the companies are certainly affiliates if they are controlled by Guugenheim.
Regardless how you may wish to label the capital structure, the Guggenheim group paid $2B plus for the franchise. They have incurred enormous salary obligations; they will likely have the highest payroll in MLB. These guys are not locals, they are in it for the money. They may have deep pockets but if the predicted investment returns fail to materialize I suspect there will be some fast and strict belt tightening.
BTW, if you have references to the capital structure that is more descriptive, please post, as I would be very interested how it is put together.
Primi, Guggenheim's business is that they have clients who altogether have a massive pool of money, and they help them find places to invest. They and their clients aren't lenders, they are looking for assets to own. The insurance companies alluded to would have come from that client base.
As to the respective insurance companies, undoubtedly investments of this size would had to have been vetted by their boards, but with Guggenheim having a $750 billion client financial base, finding $1.9 billion of willing money would have been like looking for change in the sofa for them - - and the article reveals exactly that, the fact they had far more money available than they needed.
You wondered about what insurance companies can do with money. It depends. They have two pools of money. "Reserve" assets are funds set aside to cover potential losses, and are regulated to be fairly conservative, trying to ensure the money will be there to cover future payouts. That's the stuff you noted and that we associate with insurance company use of funds: lots of bonds, prime real estate, blue chip public stock, and so on.
But there are other funds called "surplus" assets, those not expected to be needed and in essence being the assets of the shareholders of the insurance company. On those there's wide investment latitude. And some insurance companies are awash in surplus, with tons of dollars looking for a home. The article doesn't specify, but I'm fairly certain that's the source of these funds.
If you get past the fluff in the article, it's describing the same general format that has bought the Rangers several times. There's a visible group up front, and then some incredibly deep pockets lurking in the shadows. With the current Rangers, those deep pockets belong to Simpson and Davies. With the Dodgers, it's insurance companies. And when there's huge money being brought to the front end of this kind of deal, those deep pockets will be there demanding - and getting - an ownership stake (which has all the upside) to make it worth their while. Think Shark Tank, on a much bigger scale.
You are dismissive of the differentiation in capital structure between equity partners and a highly leveraged business, but it makes a huge difference. If they were leveraged, cash flow and profit are a perpetual sword over their head, and missteps can lead to a Hicks-like situation. But in this format, they're always profitable, and the issue each year becomes the size of the profit they want to create. At the same time, they'll be generating massive tax write-offs for those deep pocket investors, while the investors are actually making big money and holding an appreciating asset.
It's nothing different than where the Yankees have been for years. They decide what they want to make, create a budget to fit, and their options allow them oodles of spending room no matter what. We can sit here and say, "Ah, no biggie, they'll go broke," but that's almost certainly just whistling past the graveyard. They're going to be a big factor, with huge revenues and deep pockets as well.
primi...your initial post about Dodger revenue was relevant to this thread's topic. But the subsequent discussion between you and Ansel has morphed into a complete rabbit trail.
How about you boys move the Dodger/Guggenheim discussion to a different thread?
Now back on topic...where I was schooling Eric...or did he already concede? ;-)
From Profar: "Look at road run production, comparative to other teams. It tends to better filter out the park differences. We've been generally in the middle of the pack in scoring for 3 years in a row."
Yeah, and over that period won more games than any other team and went to two World Series.
What's your point? In fact, what's your point in this endless non-sense about The War of Worlds?
Oakland developed some young players and had everything hit right last year. Unlikely they do it again despite your certainty. Young players regress, falter, get injured; happens all the time. They're also not going to get career years out 4-5 field players again. Add their inability to add payroll and I look at the A's as a young team with talent and potential...but one that, again, will need all the cards to fall right for them to repeat.
The Angels aren't improved despite taking on yet more payroll. They are older. Pujols and Hammy both entering the inevitable decline of their career. I'll be shocked if Hammy is as good a player as Hunter was last year. Starting pitching is very thin and bullpen still a mess. No farm system meaning depth is almost non-existant. And Trout is almost surely NOT going to be better....and very likely isn't quite as good.
Mariners? Sure, young and likely to be better than last year or the year before or the year before....but if you really thing they're going to be competitive with the Rangers I'll offer you a straight-up $100 bet on which team has more wins. Let's see if you're willing to go out on that limb.
FInally...the Rangers have spent almost no money this off-season offering them salary flexibility in 2012 and for the foreseeable future. They also haven't let go of one of their prospects....so when you emphasize youth the team is doing exactly what you support. With Profar, Olt, Perez, Martin, Grim, Gentry and others poised to play key roles the Rangers could be a team that is BOTH a 4th-time-in-4 years contender AND a team featuring a large number of young players.
See....I can look at the Rangers in the most positive light the same way you look at the rest of the West in the most positive light. Kinda funny when you do that....cuz then it seems like the Rangers are on the precipice of something great...not the end of the world, as you seem to think.
"I'd say the Rangers have about a 30% chance of winning the division in '13. I'm not saying they are dead."
"The war of the worlds is at hand...and we are unprepared."
These two contradictory statements made within a few sentences of each other clearly demonstrate the confusion you're experiencing Profar.
Two things I think you're failing to account for. FIrst, the 2012 off-season ain't over. Unlikely anything major happens but not out of the question. Second, what team will be better equipped for a big in-season move than the 2013 Rangers? While it's possible they find themselves under .500 and 10+ games out in the West by the All-Star break...it's also possible they're in the thick of the race and will have all the piecies and the financial flexibility to make a move.
Imagine the Mariners are again hopelessly out of the race. What team would be best situated to offer a package for a year and a half of Felix Hernandez? Unthinkable? Maybe....but there will be players moved next season and the Rangers are one of the few big market teams who have the ability to pursue those players.
I agree ProfarMVP. Upton has been inconsistent offensively, with a big part of his value coming from base running. He's really nothing more than an overhyped version of his brother. Decent skillset, some pop, some speed, but just kinda underwhelming overall. He'd be better than any of the outfielders we currently have, no doubt... But I don't see the difference between having him and not having him worth a Profar, Olt, or really even Andrus.
Well, you are selectively picking your spots here. In the last 6 years (Upton's age-25, 24, 23, 22, 21 and 20 seasons, mind you), he's played played more than 138 games only twice (in his 6.4 fWAR season of '11 and his injury-plagued 2012).
You're talking about a hitter who's yet to reach the prime of his career, which, if we acquired him, we'd be getting him for. Add that to the slight- to significant bump he'd receive offensively playing his home games in Arlington, and you're looking at an MVP candidate.
How many guys do you know that have generated 17.5 fWAR before their 26th birthday? The list is finite.
As Natural contends, "Decent skillset, some pop, some speed, but just kinda underwhelming overall," he actually has an elite skill set, 35-40 home runs power, and plus wheels/plus speed. Those guys don't grow on trees.
If you're going to judge his overall production on incomplete seasons before the prime of his career, that's fine. I tend to look at things moving forward.
should have said plus wheels and plus defense
This notion that Justin Upton and BJ Upton are the same player simply b/c they are brothers is as silly as the argument that Yu Darvish is Dice K 2.0 b/c they are both from Japan. Would Justin Upton be a better ball player if (like most MLB players) none of his siblings were good enough to be professional athletes. I addressed this in another thread:
"B/w 2009-11 Chase Field added nearly 50 points to the OPS of righties relative to the Trop. If BJ played half his games at Chase Field instead of the Trop, that might add roughly 25 points to his OPS. So his career OPS would be about .785. That's still 50 points less than Justin. And as Eric points out, Justin's younger."
Below are the Fangraphs park factors for Chase Field and RBIA for righties. The 2 parks are roughly equally generous. For his career (you should look at the whole sample, not just subsamples that happen to support your hypothesis), Upton has been elite at Chase Field (.399 wOBA). Upton is still in his prime and may actually improve. There's absolutely no reason to believe that he won't put up similar #s (and possibly better #s) at RBIA.
And you have to consider the alternative. The alternative to 3 years of Upton is 2 years of Andrus. Andrus plays in a hitter friendly park as well. Yet he's never posted offensive #s anywhere close to Upton. (Elvis has a .314 career wOBA in RBIA.) Upton is clearly a better hitter than Andrus. And according to both DRS and UZR, Upton is an average to above avg. defender.
Trading Elvis Andrus for Justin Uption is a no brainer. Either JD is way off the mark here or else Ariz is asking for Profar and not Andrus.
Here are the park factors:
MrMan disputes, "Yeah, and over that period won more games than any other team and went to two World Series. What's your point? In fact, what's your point in this endless non-sense about The War of Worlds?"
We've had a great run. And going into next season we won't have many of the core pieces that created that success:No Feliz. No Lewis. No Adams. No Hamilton. No Napoli. No CJ. The War of the Worlds is the greatness that is the AL West. They won (by far) the most games over the last third of the season, and will be scary good in '13. Meanwhile our starting pitching won't be as good (and not nearly as deep), our bullpen has taken a step back...we are taking a step back at catcher....and we've lost our best power hitter.
MrMan continues, "Oakland developed some young players and had everything hit right last year. Unlikely they do it again despite your certainty. Young players regress, falter, get injured; happens all the time. They're also not going to get career years out 4-5 field players again. Add their inability to add payroll and I look at the A's as a young team with talent and potential...but one that, again, will need all the cards to fall right for them to repeat."
Oakland didn't have money to do much last year...and in the last half of the season they literally did a Usain Bolt on the rest of the American League. They dominated. Even regression with a player or two won't be enough to sufficiently slow them down. See above what the one scout predicted regarding the projected growth/regression of their young pitchers. On the net they will likely be *better.*
MrMan on LAA "The Angels aren't improved despite taking on yet more payroll. They are older. Pujols and Hammy both entering the inevitable decline of their career. I'll be shocked if Hammy is as good a player as Hunter was last year. Starting pitching is very thin and bullpen still a mess. No farm system meaning depth is almost non-existant. And Trout is almost surely NOT going to be better....and very likely isn't quite as good."
The Pujols and Hamilton signings were massive blunders. In the long term. In the short term that team will be scary good offensively and defensively and can get away with being mediocre with their pitching.
MrMan summing up, "…cuz then it seems like the Rangers are on the precipice of something great...not the end of the world, as you seem to think".Where did I say the end of the world? I've repeatedly said in this thread the Rangers are doing exactly the right thing. Rebuilding/Reloading. I expect that in 2014 they might re-emerge as the AL West favorite. But it's ridiculously competitive now and I'd have to put the odds like this:A's: 30-35%Angels 30-35%Rangers 25-30%Mariners 5-10%
It's the War of the Worlds and we are unprepared. For 2013.
Eric declares,"You're talking about a hitter who's yet to reach the prime of his career, which, if we acquired him, we'd be getting him for. Add that to the slight- to significant bump he'd receive offensively playing his home games in Arlington, and you're looking at an MVP candidate."
BJ had the same kind of hype and promise. And the greatness never arrived. Waiting for Godot.
RFan disputes, "This notion that Justin Upton and BJ Upton are the same player simply b/c they are brothers is as silly as the argument that Yu Darvish is Dice K 2.0 b/c they are both from Japan."
Being from the same continent is the same as sharing 99.9% DNA and being raised under the same roof? I think not! And the Upton brothers could almost pass for twins.
Sure sometimes you have great disparity in sibs...a real life Brothers Karamazov. But when you have the same mom, the same dad...and when children clearly favor the same parent in appearance and disposition...then I'd suggest you can view one as a template for another.
Furthermore, rarely does a younger brother outdo the older.
Examples? Look at J.D. Drew and younger brother Stephen. Jerry and Scott Hairston. Look at Dmitri and Delmond Young. Delmond was supposed to surpass his older brother and was the #1 selection in the amateur draft. Delmond has been Just-Another-Guy, not as good as Dmitri.
While we're at it, Aaron and Bret Boone were the exact same player, both Jr. and Sr. Griffey, both LaRoche brothers, Barry and Bobby Bonds, and everyone else who's ever been related. No need to take the individual into account. Just look at their last names and all the answers are already proven. Q.E.D.
Of the examples you listed:Barry and *father* Bobby Bonds had eerily similiar playing styles and results (both borderline all-star)...until Barry blew himself up with steroids.
Brett Boone and Aaron Boone fall into that same scenario I mentioned in my last post, where the careers are either quite similar or the older brother is invariably better. But interestingly both of those players had steroid-spiked heavy home-run seasons. Brett was able to essentially complete his career before the roids crackdown.
But check out this similarity:On the all-time steroid time, Brett is listed at 20. Brother Aaron at 23.Link:http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/340138-major-league-baseballs-104-member-all-steroid-team.
The Laroche's I already mentioned.
I hope you can do better than this, Eric. This is too easy.
In the previous post I meant to say that father and son Bonds were borderline HOF before Barry juiced his body into a human bomb.
Some article about an All-Steroid team proves me wrong? No. BJ and Justin Upton are two different players. They may have similar skill sets, they both may be black, but it doesn't make sense to say just because BJ never lived up to his ungodly potential that it automatically means his brother will do the same.
Just like people you see walking down the streets in Alaska, every baseball player is different, and independent of any other. I can guarantee you the Rangers evaluation of Justin Upton has absolutely nothing to do with his brother.
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