Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Paul DePodesta would rather work for the Cleveland Browns than the New York Mets

The Jets ripped my heart out yet again Sunday, but at least I could take solace in the fact that I was not a fan of the Cleveland Browns. As ESPN notes, in a little over three years, crazy owner Jimmy Haslam will have had four coaches, four GMs and three team presidents/CEOs. What NFL executive in his or her right mind would want to work in such an environment? Apparently none, since Cleveland's latest hire is none other than the Mets' Paul DePodesta.

At first glance, it seems insane to leave a team that just made the World Series for a team in another sport that last won a title during the early days of Beatlemania. A team whose troubled quarterback reportedly put on a disguise to party in Vegas last weekend when he was supposed to be recovering from a concussion. Maybe DePodesta wants to be the next Theo Epstein, who brought a championship to the title-starved Red Sox and is well on his way to doing it again with the Cubs. Maybe he thought he was going to the Cleveland Cavaliers. More likely, before too long it will be DePodesta who will feel like wearing a disguise.

The last time a prominent member of the Mets organization left the team after a World Series appearance for a surprising destination, Mike Hampton claimed it was because of the school system.  Perhaps DePodesta will claim that he just wants to be closer to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

But what if DePodesta simply decided that the time was right to leave the Mets? That his marketability would never be higher after the 2015 World Series, because that was as far as this franchise was going to go? Maybe DePodesta saw a franchise still unwilling to spend and figured that there was no place for the Mets to go after last season's unexpected success than down. Every article about DePodesta talks about how smart he is, and he knows what is really going on behind the scenes, as opposed to people like me who continue to naively hold out hope that the Mets will upgrade their offense before the 2016 season starts.

In the meantime, let's see who the Mets pick to replace DePodesta. I just hope it's not John Idzik.

****

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is holding a parallel vote for the Hall of Fame. Here are the players I voted for, in alphabetical order.

Jeff Bagwell
Ken Griffey Jr.
Trevor Hoffman
Edgar Martinez
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Alan Trammell

Unlike Squawker Lisa, whose ballot is here, I am not ready to support Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. While Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer without steroids, it is far less clear with Clemens. At age 33 in 1996, Clemens had come off four straight mediocre years with the Red Sox, who were happy to let him leave. According to Baseball Reference, Clemens was statistically most similar in those years to Dwight Gooden. But while Gooden failed to realize his Hall potential, Clemens went on to four more Cy Young awards and 162 more wins with the help of his, uh, workout regimen.

What I find particularly galling is how many people refer to Bonds and Clemens as among the greatest players of all time. I concede it could be true with Bonds. Let's say he didn't do steroids and ended up with 625 homers instead of 762. Still pretty amazing.  But would a clean Clemens have topped 300 wins, let alone make it to 354?

With all the statistical analysis in baseball, it would be nice to see someone speculate on how Bonds and Clemens would have done without the juice before we start considering them for GOAT.

When I first heard about the Mike Piazza rumors, my reaction was to cover my ears and start yelling out nonsense syllables. Based on everything I've read and heard, I'm a lot more confident in giving the PED label to Bonds and Clemens than I am to Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. But I'm admittedly a biased Met fan.

And even if Clemens eventually gets in, at least let it not be alongside Piazza. Clemens has ruined enough special Piazza moments already.

Mike Mussina was a very good pitcher for many years, but he was never considered close to being the best pitcher in baseball, much less even on his own team. Mussina never won a Cy Young, finishing second once, and never finished higher than 19th in the MVP voting. 

Curt Schilling may have won far fewer games than Mussina did, but he was a more standout performer in his best years, particular in the postseason. Schilling also never won a Cy Young but finished second four times. He had two top-ten MVP finishes and finished 11th and 14th two other times.

Most of all, Schilling was sensational in the postseason, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 0.968 WHIP. Schilling was the co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, with a 1.69 ERA and 0.656 WHIP in three starts. In the 2004 ALCS, Schilling and his bloody sock earned one of the most famous postseason wins ever.

I also voted for Alan Trammell, who, according to Jay Jaffe's JAWS analysis is more worthy of the Hall among shortstops than future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and current Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.

****

Squawker Lisa, I'm glad you resisted temptation when you saw the complete ballot -

Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Luis Castillo, Roger Clemens, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Jeff Kent, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Mike Sweeney, Alan Trammell, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Randy Winn.

- and did not cast  a vote for Luis Castillo. You could have specified that his Hall plaque be sturdy enough that it would not break if he dropped it.

I'm also glad you did not vote for Billy Wagner, knowing that I would not be able to forgive his 16.88 ERA in the 2006 NLCS. But while Wagner's regular-season numbers are actually worthy of Hall consideration, his overall ERA in 14 postseason games was 10.03.

As for Hampton, at least his induction ceremony would make for a nice Colorado school trip.

1 comment:

Edgy DC said...

Isn't it possibly more true that DePodesta is motivated to move to higher profile job, from scouting director to a position that appears to be de facto GM? And happy to receive a salary commensurate with the bigger role?

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