I guess I’m just a nit-picking, nay-saying, pessimistic, cynical jerk, but what is wrong with a professional sports writer issuing these words:
You can debate all you want as to whether the going rate was advisable for a pitcher with a career record of 106-101 (Suppan’s 44-26 record over the past three seasons is more relevant). But when the price of gas goes up, you either pay at the pump or become a hitch-hiker.
(From this article.)
Suppan has pretty much been the exact definition of league average in his career (101 lifetime ERA+), and pitched in front of above average defenses in St. Louis and in what has been a pitchers’ park over the last three years. Both of those things change in Milwaukee, but to mention the fact that we haven’t won 250 games as a team in the last three years like the Cardinals have, and might be hard pressed to do that in the next three years.
How then, is his 44-26 record over the last three years more “relevant” than when he was pitching for bad teams in Pittsburgh and Kansas City (also a pitcher’s park, btw)?
Furthermore, how is his W-L record more significant than, say, ERA, or WHIP, or K:BB, or HR/9, or VORP — things that are independent of his team’s defense, his home park, run support, and (at least somewhat) luck?
If there ever was a stupid stat, it’s Wins. Not that any old bum can get 20 wins in the Major Leagues, although, theoretically, that could happen — you give up 6 runs in 6 innings every game (a 9.00 ERA, pretty crappy), but your team scores 7 runs in the first seven innings and your relievers don’t blow it for 20 or more of your 30 starts. You stink, and still win 20 games. Granted, that’s not likely to happen, but it could. Usually, a Win says something about how you pitched, AND something about how your team played around you in the form of offense, defense, and relief pitching (a lot of times more about the latter than the former). If you look at Ben Sheets’ 12-14 record in 2004, and Jeff Suppan’s 16-9 record in the same year, you might think Suppan was the better pitcher. But, if you thought that, you’d be dumb. Sheets was better by every other conceivable measure (by far in most of those), and yet Suppan’s record was much better.
And that’s just a footnote in the encyclopedic volumes on why Wins is a useless stat. Someone needs to purchase Tom Haudricourt a copy of this book.
Also from the article:
“He’s not only going to win games,” said Attanasio. “He’s going to teach us how to win games. This is something, up and down the organization, we wanted to do.[“]
I can teach you for less than $10million a year for four years and $2million buyout for a fifth year. In fact, Mark, I’ll tell you for one year, $5million — that’s a steal to teach you how to win, right? Okay, okay. I’ll tell you for free, but only because I love the Brewers so much, and I want to stay in Milwaukee — call it the hometown discount.
So here it is — I’m going to teach you how to win, ready? It’s simple: have Albert Pujols bat third in your lineup. There: a $42million secret for free. In fact, to tell you the truth, you might be able to add 60% of Albert to your current lineup, and still walk away with the division crown. Since Doug Melvin is a good buddy of Walt Jocketty, why not see if he can swing a deal: 100% of Geoff Jenkins, and two starts from Chris Capuano for 60% of Pujols?
Seriously, how do you teach guys to win? You score more runs than the other team, that’s how you win, and you do that by having better players. That’s that.