Tagged: Players

We’ve got figures…


As reported by Adam McCalvy, the Brewers exchanged salary arbitration figures with all of the arbitration-eligible players that haven’t signed a contract to avoid the arbitration process (i.e. Kevin Mench and his $3.4 million, one-year contract).

That means that the Brewers and five players will possibly have arbitration hearings with 2006 Brewers Chris Capuano, Bill Hall and Tony Graffanino, along with new acquirees Johnny Estrada and Claudio Vargas.

The breakdown…

Chris Capuano—>Submitted salary by player = $3.7 million—>Offered by Brewers = $2.8 million—>2006 Salary: $450,000
Bill Hall—>Player = $4.125 million—>Club = $3 million—>2006: $418,000
Tony Graffanino—>$3.7 millon—>$2.8 million—>$2.5 million
Johnny Estrada—>$3.9 million—>$3 million—>$2 million
Claudio Vargas—>$2.85 million—>$2.15 million—>$1.275 million

For what it’s worth…Doug Davis (now of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the key piece of the 6 player deal that got the Brewers Estrada and Vargas) is also arbitration eligible. He filed for $7.5 million while the D’Backs offered $5.25 million.

Arbitration Explained…

For those of you who might not fully understand the arbitration process, allow me to help simplify it.

First, all that has happened so far is that the two sides of each individual "case" have submitted figures to the other side. This not only lets both sides know what the other is thinking, but also provides a jumping off point for further negotiations.

Just because both sides have filed does NOT necessarily mean that there will be a hearing on any case. The club and the player have until the scheduled hearing time (in February) to continue to negotiate a contract. Most of these tend to be one-year deals so that the player can then file for arbitration again the next offseason should the team and and the player not agree to an extension at some point prior to that.

So, should the two sides come to an agreement, then that’s the contract the player plays under and the salary that he earns for that year.

On the other hand, should the case need to go before an arbitration committee, both sides are given a chance to present their case before said committee. The committee consists of three people. Those three individuals reach a consensus on which salary figure to choose for the player’s contract and their decision is binding. They must choose either the player’s filed amount or the club’s filed amount. There will be no middle ground nor compromise from an arbitration hearing. Middle ground and compromise are what the time between now and the hearing is for.

Fantasy Hearings…

Let’s have a bit of fun for this next segment. Let’s pretend that I’m the arbitrator panel. Yup…all three people = just me.

Personally, here is how I would rule based on the information that I know of all the players. (Again, this assumes that all above cases reach a hearing instead of the team and player reaching a compromise in advance).

Chris Capuano: I would award him the $3.7 he filed for. Cappy has been a solid member of the pitching rotation for multiple years and seems completely healed from his Tommy John surgery. He doesn’t seem to be a repeat-injury risk at all. Also, he won 18 games last year and might have done the same this year with a bit more run support.

Bill Hall: I would take the team’s offer of $3 million. If Hall had submitted a number more around $3.5 million (or if he had made over $2 million in 2006), I’d probably have taken Hall’s offer. Billy had a GREAT season (aside from the strikeouts) and definitely deserves a sizeable raise. However, he not only has only had production like this for one season, but he is also most likely going to be switching positions from the infield to the outfield. He could become a liability defensively in center field which could lead to more playing with a slot for him or, if it got really distracting, a benching. The team shouldn’t be committed to pay what truly is still an experiment so much of an increase over the prior season’s salary.

Tony Graffanino: I would accept the team’s figure of $2.8 million. Graffer had a stellar half-season with the Brewers filling in admirably for Rickie Weeks at second base. However, Graffanino is returning to the team in a role that will primarily be as a backup. The only way he would see significant enough playing time to warrant such an increase in salary is if somebody gets injured again. You can’t play "what-ifs" with health, in my opinion, and have to rule as though everybody on the roster will be available to earn their salary, not just collect it.

Johnny Estrada: This is easily the toughest call for me. Estrada’s offensive numbers last year were very solid, especially out of a position that isn’t usually counted on for much with the bat at all (if not viewed as a liability like Chad Moeller was in 2006), catcher. Estrada hit .302 with 11 HRs and 71 RBI in just 115 games. What’s more, in 414 AB, he only struck out 40 times (about 10% compared to, for example, Bill Hall: 537 AB, 162 K for just over 30%). Yes, he only took 13 walks, but he puts the ball in play more often than not. He also just turned 30 and hasn’t been over-worked in his career. All that being said, he is a catcher and will truly only play about two-thirds or so of the games. Last season he started 70%, but Milwaukee also has a very capable backup in Damian Miller. Ultimately, though, I think the fact that he was the key cog in Milwaukee’s trade with Arizona lends itself to how valuable he is to the club. I’d probably end up going with Estrada’s figure, the $3.9 million.

Claudio Vargas: Here is where I can save the team some money back, not that that would have any bearing at all in how I would rule. Vargas is asking for $2.85, but I would accept the ballclub’s $2.15 figure instead. Vargas is a notoriously up and down pitcher, and being that he is the 5th starter in a rotation and there is a legitimate chance that he could end up not even making the rotation depending on how Spring Training goes with other invitees…all that adds up to a decision that $2.15 is sufficient. Yes, he had his best season, statistically, in his career, but a bit more consistency would provide for more of a chance at getting the $2.85. He has shown that more starts equated to better numbers, but in 30 starts in 2006 he only threw 167.2 IP. That’s an average of not even 6 IP / Start. That’s a number that needs to improve before I would rule for more than doubling his previous salary.

Final Thoughts…

So…what’s it all mean? Well, just consider this. Say all of our cases settle for the mid-points of the difference between submitted figures. That would be a total of: $16,012,500 in increase salary. Now, think about the arbitration eligible player we traded away getting his figure awarded to him of $7.5 million. The difference there? $8,512,500. Eight and one-half million bucks for a major upgrade (offensively at least) at catcher, a good 5th starter, and maintaing the contracts of two of the brightest youngsters in baseball in Cappy and Billy…..

Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Doug Melvin knows what he’s doing.


Anybody else want to play fantasy arbitrator? Let me know which figures you’d pick. If you want to spend the time writing, I’d love to hear why as well……especially if we disagree. 🙂

Until next time, this is the Big Rygg saying "Go Brewers!"

Oh…that and P&C in just 32 days! (Yes, this is being posted on 1/17, but I haven’t gone to bed yet so it still counts at 1/16 to me. Plus, nearly the entirety of 1/17 has yet to come.)

I have this friend named Doug, and he likes your friend: Jeff…


Earlier today, GM Doug Melvin confirmed to the press that he is interested in the possibility of signing post-season stud, and career Brewer killer, Jeff Suppan to a contract. This is the same Jeff Suppan who is being pursued by a number of teams.

Let’s first analyze Mr. Suppan…

Jeffrey Scot (Yes, one ‘t’) Suppan was born on January 2, 1975 which makes him 31 years old (32 soon, and therefore all of the 2007 season.

Suppan has been in the major leagues since 1995, when he pitched all of 22.2 innings, included 3 starts. A model of consistency, he then pitched exactly the same number of innings in 1996, and gave up the exact same number of hits (29) as the previous year.

But, enough about the distant past! (Hey, this let’s me skip analyzing those years in Kansas City, right?)

Let’s cut right to 2004, Suppan’s first season with the Cardinals. He went 16-9 in 31 starts, throwing a solid 188.0 IP. His ERA was a serviceable 4.16 that season.

In 2005, Suppan enjoyed his best ERA season as a full time starter, holding himself down to a 3.57 ERA in 194.1 IP over 32 starts. That was while compiling a 16-10 record.

And last year, Suppan didn’t have as many decisions, only amassing 12 wins coupled with 7 losses. He started another 32 times last years, tossing 190.0 IP.

You know what stat I think I like the best? Over the past three years, Suppan has allowed the following walk totals: 65, 63, 69 respectively. Into IP of 188.0, 194.1 and 190.0, those are some nice BB/IP ratios.

Which brings us to the intangibles…

Suppan has great career numbers against the Brewers, with 2006 seeing him only win 1 game, but not lose in 5 starts against the Crew. His ERA was 2.57. The only non-"quality" start he had against Milwaukee came in June, when he gave up 5 ER in just 4.0 IP thanks to three Brewer homers.

Other than that blip? A total of 4 ERs over 27.1 IP. He only gave up one more HR all season to us.

As far as pressure situations, let’s review his NLCS MVP performance, shall we?

Suppan’s stats in two starts were 15.0 IP, 1 ER, 0.60 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP.

Yeah…he pitched that well.

Look, I don’t know whether or not we are going to be able to sign Suppan (based on whether or not he’d be interested in coming here), but the numbers don’t lie. He’s a solid pitcher who will give 30+ starts. And with his DEFINITE edge in certain key problem areas over Mr. IP Doug Davis, I’d be more than happy with Suppan as our #3.

Hardy Lost For Season


Official Milwaukee Brewers Press Release

As first posted at 2:04pm CDT, the news we all had expected was coming finally came.

Hardy_jjJames Jerry Hardy will undergo season-ending surgery on his troublesome right ankle. The procedure is called a "retinacular repair". It will stablize the tendon that keeps snapping in and out of place, a condition that Hardy developed after severly spraining his right ankle while being blocked from home plate by Phillies backup catcher, Sal Fasano.

It was a clean, if rough and ultimately unfortunate, play. Good, hard, clean baseball sometimes results in injury. Hopefully Hardy will bounce back better than ever. His recovery time is supposedly 3-4 months. This is his second major injury in the last 3 years though.

Want some encouragment? Hall of Famer Gary Carter had this surgery twice, and his career turned out pretty well. Curt Schilling also had this ailment ("Bloody Sock" game, anybody?) and had surgery after the season. 2005 wasn’t much of a year for Schilling, but 2006 has been MUCH better. Besides, Hardy won’t exactly be driving off of a pitcher’s mound 100 times a game.

Time will tell on this one.

The Rob Garibaldi Story: A Future Movie ???

As a huge fan of the game of major league baseball, this story hit me really hard. It’s not about the Brewers. It’s about a kid with all the baseball talent in the world. The problem was (In his mind), he was too small.

Honestly, I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to post something like this and it wasn’t until I got to the last chapter in the book "Game of Shadows" that I decided to post something in regards to what I’ve read.

My 12-year-old daughter who loves baseball, volleyball, bowling, and basketball just asked me, "Was the book good?" I didn’t even know how to give her an honest answer.

As a father of two athletic daughters still quite young from any serious competition, I’m sitting here thinking of ways to convince them about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. I don’t want to lie to them. Lord knows there has been enough of that going on for the past 10+ years on the subject. I just don’t want to know what it feels like to be the parents of Rob Garibaldi.

My review of the book "Game of Shadows" is short and simple, "Draw Your Own Conclusions". While Barry Bonds and other athletes mentioned in the book have already been convicted by public opinion, the authors were very clumsy in a good portion of the book quoting people close to the players involved but never revealing their names. Who said what? Oh, a close member of the Bonds family? To me, that is poor journalism.

I also walk away from reading this book thinking about the new drug-testing policy in baseball. You know, the first offense 50 games, the second offense 100 games, and then you are banned for life. Remember how self-proclaimed baseball experts like Peter Gammons saying this was an aggressive and huge step to cleaning up drug cheats in baseball. I believe this to be false. Being tested once a year is a joke. Although baseball is a seasonal occupation, the players are still drawing annual salaries. Until there are numerous random testing taking place on all major-league players, I believe that the players will continue to do whatever it takes to achieve whatever they want without regard to what is right and what is fair.

I accuse the commissioner of baseball as well as all of the other baseball owners of not wanting to cleanup the game. After all, their all-star players are their biggest assets. They cannot risk them being banned from a game that their own wealth is drawn from. Now that I think about it, why didn’t Bud Selig ask the government for all the evidence they had on Barry Bonds? Maybe it would have got in the way of the celebration they were planning when Bonds surpasses Babe Ruth for 2nd on the all-time home run list. Think about it.

Remember Judge Landis back in 1920? The owners hired him to cleanup baseball and he did just that. I remember one of the last things uttered in the movie Eight Men Out. You hear judge Landis giving a statement that said something like, “Regardless of outcomes in the Grand Jury indictment, no ballplayer who discusses fixing a game or consults with others about fixing a game and does not properly tell his team about it, will never play baseball again”. And so it was. Than ban held up under several appeals.

Bud Selig could never be this aggressive. The money lost from banning some of the highest profile players would send baseball owners to court against the commissioner, which is funny since it’s the owners who pay the commissioners’ salary.

OK. I’ve complained enough. I read the book and was saddened by the story of Rob Garibaldi.

Here are a few links that I would like you to read and comment on:



A statement read by Rob’s mom at the baseball congressional hearings last spring:


Starting Pitching in the NL Central

A Closer Look At This Year’s NL Central Starting Pitchers

As of January 22nd, 2006, according to mlb.com, these are the cadidates for starting pitchers in the NL Central. The Depth column is where mlb.com considers where each pitcher falls in the rotation. When playing fantasy baseball, I try to put every starting pitcher into 3 different groups. I deem the top third as quality starters, the middle third as average starters and the bottom third as shaky starters. For this comparison, I’m only using last year’s statistics as the basis for grouping these pitchers. To be honest, a better comparison would have been to take an average of each pitcher’s last 3 Major League seasons. In future article(s), I want to examine another way of trying to project how successfull each pitcher may be based on thier age and how many years of Major League Experience.

I use the scoring system set by the mlb.com fantasy games which is as follows for pitchers:

  1. 30 points for each win and/or save.
  2. 5 points for each third of an inning pitched.
  3. 3 points for each strikeout.
  4. -3 points for each walk.
  5. -5 points for each hit allowed.
  6. -10 points for each earned run allowed.
  7. -15 points for each loss.

The TOT column are the total fantasy points accumulated for the season and the last column PPG is the fantasy points per game average for the season. This is the statistic I use to group the pitchers.

Quality Starters
Name Team Depth Throws W L ERA G TIP H ER BB SO TOT PPG
Chris Carpenter Cardinals 1 R 21 5 2.83 33 725 204 76 51 213 2886 87.45
Andy Pettitte Astros 2 L 17 9 2.39 33 667 188 59 41 171 2570 77.88
Paul Maholm Pirates 4 L 3 1 2.18 6 124 31 10 17 46 467 77.83
Zach Duke Pirates 1 L 8 2 1.81 14 254 79 17 23 58 1020 72.86
Carlos Zambrano Cubs 1 R 14 6 3.26 33 670 170 81 86 202 2368 71.76
Ben Sheets Brewers 1 R 10 9 3.33 22 469 142 58 25 141 1568 71.27
Roy Oswalt Astros 1 R 20 12 2.94 35 725 243 79 48 184 2448 69.94
Mark Prior Cubs 3 R 11 7 3.67 27 500 143 68 59 188 1717 63.59
Doug Davis Brewers 2 L 11 11 3.84 35 668 196 95 93 208 1920 54.86
Chris Capuano Brewers 3 L 18 12 3.99 35 657 212 97 91 176 1870 53.43
Mark Mulder Cardinals 2 L 16 8 3.64 32 615 212 83 70 111 1668 52.13

Average Starters
Name Team Depth Throws W L ERA G TIP H ER BB SO TOT PPG
Aaron Harang Reds 1 R 11 13 3.83 32 635 217 90 51 163 1661 51.91
Jeff Suppan Cardinals 3 R 16 10 3.57 32 583 206 77 63 114 1598 49.94
Greg Maddux Cubs 2 R 13 15 4.24 35 675 239 106 36 136 1585 45.29
Tomo Okha Brewers 4 R 11 9 4.04 29 541 189 81 55 98 1274 43.93
Jason Marquis Cardinals 4 R 13 14 4.13 33 621 206 95 69 100 1398 42.36
Anthony Reyes Cardinals 5 R 1 1 2.70 4 40 6 4 4 12 169 42.25
Brandon Claussen Reds 1 L 10 11 4.21 29 500 178 78 57 121 1157 39.90
Dave Williams Reds 2 L 10 11 4.41 25 416 137 68 58 88 940 37.60
Rick Helling Brewers 6 R 3 1 2.39 15 147 39 13 18 42 557 37.13
Brandon Backe Astros 3 R 10 8 4.76 26 448 151 79 67 97 965 37.12
Jerome Williams Cubs 4 R 6 10 4.26 22 368 119 58 49 70 758 34.45

Shaky Starters
Name Team Depth Throws W L ERA G TIP H ER BB SO TOT PPG
Dave Bush Brewers 5 R 5 11 4.49 25 409 142 68 29 75 778 31.12
Oliver Perez Pirates 2 L 7 5 5.85 20 309 102 67 70 97 581 29.05
Wandy Rodriguez Astros 4 L 10 10 5.53 25 386 135 79 53 80 696 27.84
Victor Santos Pirates 6 R 4 13 4.57 24 425 153 72 60 89 652 27.17
Kip Wells Pirates 3 R 8 18 5.09 33 546 186 103 99 132 839 25.42
Glendon Rusch Cubs 5 L 9 8 4.52 46 436 175 73 53 111 899 19.54
Ezequiel Astacio Astros 5 R 3 6 5.67 22 243 100 51 25 66 328 14.91
Eric Milton Reds 3 L 8 15 6.47 34 559 237 134 52 123 498 14.65
Ian Snell Pirates 5 R 1 2 5.14 15 126 43 24 24 34 205 13.67
Sidney Ponson Cardinals 6 R 7 11 6.21 23 391 177 90 48 68 275 11.96
Paul Wilson Reds 5 R 1 5 7.77 9 139 68 40 17 30 -51 -5.67

Now, I know, a few adjustments are probably in order.

First off, Zach Duke and Paul Maholm were late callups last season for the Pirates and basically mowed down the September schedule. I really can’t say for sure that Duke and Maholm will remain quality starters heading into the 2006 season.

Secondly, we see a few pitchers who, only last year, were shaky starters. Paul Wilson spent a good deal of the season on the disabled list. When he was finally activated, he did not perform well. I doubt that he will be shaky this year unless he continues to spend time on the DL. Oliver Perez had a great 2004 season but had a very bad start to 2005 and wound up on the DL for the majority of the season. Both Wilson and Perez would be considered as average starters, Perez could even be considered a quality starter if he finds that electric stuff he had in 2004. Fantasy players should keep an eye on Perez because he will fall into the later rounds of your draft and could become a steal.

Glendon Rusch (I’ll admit, I hate him), a.k.a. "The Launching Pad" numbers are a bit skewed as he went from short relief to long relief, to even a spot-starter. Honestly, he probably rates at the very edge of what I would consider to be an average starter. You notice that Kerry Wood is not in any of these tables. The news out of Chicago is that they are going to use Wood out of the bullpen.

I want to say Eric Milton is a better pitcher than what he did for the Reds last year. But to pitch so bad and to have the Reds continue to send him out there for 34 starts, his numbers are downright scary. An ERA of 6.47, he gave up 237 hits and 134 earned runs. Yikes! As you can see, the only new starter in Cincinnati is Dave Williams who came over in the Sean Casey deal from Pittsburgh. Clearly, Cincinnati will again have the worst starting pitching in the NL Central.

Good luck to St. Louis with Sidney Ponson. His numbers last year is just about what you’ll get from him. One of the most over-hyped starting pitchers the majors have seen the last 3 seasons.

Some teams have six pitchers listed. That is because they are not certain what 5 they will use heading into the season. Spring Training will be used to answer rotation questions. I believe in most cases, any pitcher listed 1 through 3 is pretty safe to not losing their job. Number 4 starters are on close watch but most of them will remain in the rotation. Number 5 and 6’s are clearly on the bubble and need good springs in order to get into their team’s rotation.

Finally, I averaged the points per game for each staff of the players listed and the results are as follows:

  1. Milwaukee Brewers 48.62 PPG.
  2. St. Louis Cardinals 47.68 PPG.
  3. Chicago Cubs 46.93 PPG.
  4. Houston Astros 45.54 PPG.
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates 41.00 PPG.
  6. Cincinnati Reds 27.68 PPG.

What does this study tell us? Nothing much on January 22nd but it’s interesting to look at the numbers and draw a few conclusions. First off, 5 of the 6 Brewers who made up that number above all pitched for the Brewers last season. Chicago’s decision to put Wood in the bullpen hurts their starting rotation. Last year, they were considered to be the best staff of the division. Houston probably should have tried to keep Roger Clemens. Had they signed him for 2006, the Astros would clearly be the best staff in the division. Unless the young arms in Pittsburgh continue the hot pace they ended last season with, and if Perez should find his form of 2004, I still do not think they will be as good as the four teams above them. I believe that the top 4 staffs are very close. I also believe that its important to put your hitting shoes on when Cincinnati comes up on your schedule.

All of this work means nothing without comments from my viewing audience so as always, your comments are greatly appreciated…