Posts Tagged ‘Jason Kendall’

The All-Decade Team

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Happy Holidays everyone! Since we are on the cusp of a new decade, I decided to put out the Milwaukee Brewers All-Decade team! This was quite an up and down decade for the Crew. We saw the end of our beloved Milwaukee County Stadium, but enjoyed the beauty that is Miller Park. We saw the worst of the worst (3 straight years of finishing last in the NL Central including a 100 loss season) and something we hadn’t seen in over 20 years: Playoffs.  We saw managers change (Lopes, Royster, Yost, Sveum, and Macha). We saw fan favorites come and go. We saw the rise of baseball in HD and a rise in Brewers payroll. Yes, it was quite a roller coaster being a Brewer fan in the 00’s. To look back on the decade that was, Here’s my 25-man All-Decade Roster.

Starters

C - The list of Brewers’ catchers from this decade reads like a sick joke: Bennett, Estrada, Bako, Moeller. It was hard to pick, but Damian Miller is my catcher of the decade. In ‘05 and ‘06, he was a solid catcher both offensively and defensively and had a lackluster ‘07 because of the amazingly underwhelming Johnny Estrada.

1B - Prince Fielder - It’s only been since ‘06 that the Brewers have had Fielder as their starting first baseman, but he’s only gotten better over time. He’s even had 2 seasons with over 40 HR’s. He’s been the leader of this team and has shown maturity beyond his years. He even improved his defense!

2B - Ron Belliard - We started off the decade with Belliard at second. He hit alright, but was great at the double play. He was part of turning 129 double plays in 2000.

3B -Ryan Braun - I don’t care how bad his defense was. I don’t care that he’s an outfielder more than a third baseman. He was the best third baseman the Brewers have and I’m putting him here dammit. What else can you say about Ryan Braun? He’s a stud. He does it all. He hits for power and average. He’s the Hebrew Hammer. He likes really ugly MMA shirts. He’s cocky, but says the right things almost all the time. The best thing you can say about him: He’ll be a Brewer far into this next decade!

SS - JJ Hardy - This JJ brought all the ladies to the yard, but behind his female appeal was a great defensive shortstop with a lot of pop in his bat. He made the All-Star team in 2007. His fire continued in 2008 with over 20 home runs again (which is great for a shortstop).

OF - Carlos Lee - We put up with his lazy outfield because you could count on 100 RBI’s. Before Prince was ready for Prime Time, there was Carlos Lee. Even though the Crew only had him for 1 3/4 years, he delivered over 60 home runs and almost 200 RBI’s.

OF - Geoff Jenkins - Roaming the outfield until 2007, Geoff hit 182 home runs and 71 Outfield Assists for the Brewers this decade. Jenks was also voted into the All-Star game in 2004 by the Brewers fans! He ended up having a stellar year that year hitting .296 with 28 HR’s.

OF - Scott Podsednik - Milwaukee’s ROY runner up was the beginning of the resurgence of interest in the Brewers. While he really only had one good year with the Brewers (and only two overall), he set a Brewers record for most SB’s in a year.

Bench

1B - Richie Sexson - While I have never been the biggest fan of Sexson because he would choke under pressure, his numbers as a Brewer don’t lie. He hit 133 home runs in a Brewer, including two seasons with 45 (2001 and 2003). He was  a two time All-Star and was involved in an amazing trade for the Brewers.

1B - Lyle Overbay - OK, so I have three first basemen. The Big O was a doubles machine after coming over in the Sexson trade and bridged the gap perfectly between Sexson and Fielder.

OF - Brady Clark - Most people laugh about Brady, but he was a solid member of the Brewers outfield for 4 years this decade. He hit an average of .283 and was a big part of 2005’s .500 year (which people forget was a big deal at the time)

INF - Mark Loretta - Mark had a really strong run in Milwaukee to start his career. And while most of his career was played in the previous decade, he still played for 2 3/4 of this one. Always one you could count on to get on base,  Mark never had more than 60 strikeouts in a season.

OF - Corey Hart - Hart made his debut in 2004, but didn’t recieve the role of everyday starter until 2007. His speed and his bat make him a dynamic player even though his head has gotten in the way.

C - I guess you need two catchers on a 25 man roster so I pick Jason Kendall. I know there are a lot of fans who hate Kendall (such a strong feeling), but many of those fans don’t remember most of the catchers from this past decade. We didn’t have a Surhoff or a Nilsson. And I wouldn’t mind having a Jason Kendall who busts his ass every day on my team….problem is if this was real, he wouldn’t let me put him on the bench.

Pitchers

SP - Ben Sheets - Ben’s entire MLB career started in 2001 even though it seems like he’s been around for longer. In 2004, he was a finalist for the Cy Young and threw over 1200 K’s this decade. I won’t ever forget the day Jared and I saw Sheeter the night after he threw 18 K’s at a Bucks game (Jenkins had front row and Sheeter was sitting 8 rows back by us). He’s Milwaukee’s first legit ace since Higuera and I’d like to see him back in Brewer Blue.

SP - Doug Davis -Doug Davis isn’t flashy. He isn’t dominant. He isn’t fan friendly. He’s just there. And for 3+ years, he was the team’s dependable workhorse. Doug is the reason most Brewer fans check quality starts because 70% of his 2004 starts were quality, although he just won half.

SP - Chris Capuano - Yet another part of the Richie Sexson trade, Cappie was an All-Star in 2005. What people remember most about Capuano was his insane pick-off move which prompted umpires re-check their rule books about balks. He’s the final part of the MM3 (See Kolb)

SP - Yovani Gallardo - This young star in the making was better than expected in ‘09.  He also was helpful down the playoff stretch in ‘08 (even though a freak accident derailed almost all of that season). I’m excited to see how Yo matures in this next decade.

SP - C.C. Sabathia - Sure he grabbed the cash and left, but before he did, he gave Milwaukee a hero they have not seen in a long time. C.C. delivered the team the playoffs and for that, he will never be forgotten. We were able to see what C.C. would have been like in the playoffs had he not been used up, but most people would agree that the Brewers would have never gotten to the playoffs had he been used more sparingly.

RP - Dan Kolb - There are a group of pitchers I like to call the Mike Maddux Three. These pitchers had their highest levels of success under his tutelage and most came out of nowhere to become All-Stars, then fizzle away. The first of those three is Dan Kolb. Dan was all sorts of mediocre until in 2003 when he had an ERA of 1.99 and saved 21 games. The next year he saved 39 and became an All-Star. The following year, he was traded for Jose Capellan which was a move that benefited NO ONE.

RP -Derrick Turnbow - Turnbow is another member of the MM3. A fireballer picked off of waivers, Turnbow was known as the “Wild Thing”. He had wild hair and a wild streak, but his fastball could touch three digits. This streak caught up with him, but not before he was named to the All-Star game. Sadly, his bobblehead ended his career.

RP - Francisco Cordero - Another in the streak of Brewers All-Star Relievers, Cordero was a name on the Carlos Lee trade that quickly became so valuable, people forgot how bad Kevin Mench was. CoCo came in to Click, Click, Boom and saved 44 games with a 2.98 ERA. He was lost to Cincinatti because they offered him a couple extra million the following year.

RP - Brian Shouse - Lefty specialists are in high demand nowadays and the Brewers had a great one in Brian Shouse. When he was picked up, most people said “Who?”, but this lefty had 2+ strong years in Milwaukee and had a cult following.

RP - Trevor Hoffman - OK, so he only had one year in Milwaukee, but you would agree it was a great one, right? He exceeded expectations and was a highlight in a disappointing ‘09 effort. Plus he was the capper on a decade that saw 6 Brewers pitchers become All-Stars.

RP - I have one more reliever spot and it’s hard to give it to just one person because there were so many players that were similar. They weren’t great, but they were who the Brewers had so my last reliever is Matts DeSkanick. That’s right. A hybrid of Matt Wise, Mike DeJean, Curtis Leskanic, and Brooks Kieschnick. They were all middle of the road relievers, but were necessary or had a small following of fans at the time. (If Jared or Tyler could make a photoshop of this, that would be awesome)

Manager - Ned Yost - Love him or hate him, he’s the man that took the Brewers from awful to competitive.

There you have it! Feel free to post your own! I know we’re all looking forward to another up and down decade of Brewer baseball. I hoped to do a Brewer of the Decade Vote in lieu of a fan favorite vote, but we’ll see if the site is around long enough for that.

Melvin’s End-of-Season Media Blitz

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Doug Melvin had his year-end press conference then he went on 620 with Bill Michaels…some highlights of both:

- Melvin basically said Braun and Prince won’t be traded. On 620, Michaels asked if they were going to look into locking up Prince and Melvin said something to the effect of when we have those discussions, it will be quiet like how we approached Trevor about an extension. Does this mean that Melvin will talk huge extension with Boras this offseason???

- Probably not, because right after that he said that he wants to figure out pitching before position players

- That included decisions on Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, and Craig Counsell he said on 620.

- He said that keeping both J.J. and Escobar would be “very difficult”, which Haudricourt basically believes (and I agree) means “OPEN MARKET ON HARDY”

- Lopez and Weeks were brought up. Listen up, everyone…no matter how many message boards you read or sports talk shows you listen to, Rickie Weeks ISN’T moving to the outfield. Rickie is considered the second base starter right now. Lopez might fall into that group of players that Melvin won’t decide on until some pitching is figured out.

- Finally, Melvin very bluntly said that the Brewers were looking to get two starting pitchers.

Melvin will also be on 620 tomorrow morning for his last Brewers 360 of the year where he will probably rehash all of this…but maybe there will be some new news

InReview (9/21/09)

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Weekly Record: 5-2

Current Record: 74-75

I’m introducing my own September call-ups; I’m trying out new sections for next year and seeing how they play. Let me know what scores and what sucks.

A Glance:
Monday: Suppan good, but Flippy Magoo (Dumpster Dempster) better (L)
Tuesday: Cubs get a 5 run 6th the blow the game wide open…this blows (L)
Wednesday: Alcides and Corey give Loop even more run support..can David Patten always throw against the Brewers?(W)
Thursday: Jody “Shake Ya Groove Thing” Gerut hits a grand tater..bullpen holds! (W)
Friday: Great come from behind win…McGehee deserves more pub (W)
Saturday: Prince passes Cecil (Cooper), Suppan was strong (W)
Sunday: Prince passes Burnitz, Yovani finally gets run support, but doesn’t need it as the pitching staff dominates for the sweep(W)

Likes:

Sweeping the Astros

Winning 5 in a row…but it’s a little late to finally get the hot streak

Prince Fielder breaking records and Yovani getting to 200 K’s

Dislikes:

One loss away from being mathematically eliminated

Poor Counsell finally looks tired out

I realized during the semi-empty bobblehead game on Sunday just how amazing and electric it was last September…

Good for the Week

Jody Gerut has been beaten up all year, but finally has something to smile about. This week, Jody has hit .583 with 2 home runs, 8 RBI’s and more total bases than any other player (and he played in two fewer games)

Goat for the Week

The offensive offense from the catchers…we’re pretty sure Kendall isn’t coming back, but Rivera hasn’t inspired much confidence either.

This Week in Stats

Weekly ERA: 3.69  (14th in the ML)                                     YTD: 4.72 (26th in the ML)
Weekly BA: .273 (11th in the ML)                                         YTD: .260 (17th in the ML)
Weekly Opponents BA: .247 (12th in the ML)                 YTD: .266 (20th in the ML)
Weekly Slugging Percentage: .403 (16th in the ML)     YTD: .423 (10th in the ML)
Weekly Fielding Percentage: .988  (11th in the ML)      YTD: .985 (10th in the ML)

Quick Hitter:

Prince is trying to play in all 162 games…Carlos Lee was the last Brewer to do it in 2005. Prince Fielder is also trying to START every game…Richie Sexson in 2003 was the last Brewer to do that feat.

Something to Think About:

What would have happened if Prince would have had THIS year’s stats last year? What would have happened if Braun would have hit over .300 last year? What would have happened if Cameron had a full season? What would have happened if Yovani didn’t get hurt and we had the rotation of Sabathia, Sheets, Gallardo going into the playoffs?The “if’s” drive me absolutley batty.

Roster Decisions - Take 1

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Brewers.com had a story about some of the roster decisions for 2010 since this year has been a bust (or an EPIC FAIL). Here’s what I think might happen to some of the current Brewers and why. Feel free to add your takes:

Options:

Option on David Weathers for 3.7 Mil - Let him go to free agency or retire. It’s a lot of money to spend on an old reliever who couldn’t get too many people out in Milwaukee this year.

Mutual Option on Braden Looper for 6.5 Mil - Bring him back. Braden’s been a pretty good innings eater…he’s basically what I thought Suppan would be. Plus, here’s the worst-case scenario: You sign an upper level starting pitcher and you put Braden back in the pen where he’s had all kinds of sucess earlier in his career. Also, he then becomes an emergency starter which as you saw this year, is always helpful.

Free Agents:

Mike Cameron - Make a big push to sign him. His leadership and defensive ability is worth it and he still has some pop and speed. I know he disappointed in 08, but he’s done well enough in 09. Plus, who else do you have? As long as he isn’t over 12 large, he should be a Brewer.

Jason Kendall - Goodbye, and thanks for helping our young pitchers. I am in the minority by still believing that Kendall was a good pick up. He helped our young pitching staff and he always busted his a$$. I also believe he has made Mike Rivera into a better game caller. That said, I don’t think it makes sense to bring him back.

Felipe Lopez - Even though he was awesome at getting on base and was possibly the most underrated move of the mid-year, Felipe’s going to be too expensive. Also, the last time he got paid, he hit .245 the next year. I’d like to keep him as a Craig Counsell like player, but he’s going to be too expensive for that.

Craig Counsell - He’s had an amazing year and I have done a 180 on him, but this excellent year might be Craig’s swan song. It also seems that pitchers have figured out the holes in his new swing. The Brewers should feel free to let him go out on top, but if there are a lot of injuries, I’m pretty sure he isn’t a long distance call.

Frank Catalanotto - Frank was a great veteran presence off the bench for the outfield and I’d like him to stay a Brewer. I think he will be re-signed since he’s a left handed outfield bat and the Brewers need a strong backup.

Corey Patterson - Meh…he could have been something, but Corey can be someone else’s reclamation project. There’s an off chance that he will be signed to a minor league deal in the offseason.

Trevor Hoffman - What an amazing year Trevor Hoffman had as a Brewer! He showed San Diego that you still had a lot in the tank (but Heath Bell showed that he deserved the job too). I’d like to keep Hoffman a Brewer, but he’s probably either going to garner too much money/attention or he’s going to retire.

Claudio Vargas - Even though Clardo was the pitcher no one wanted, he was an above average reliever during the second half. I’d give him a shot, but it wouldn’t be for much money. After abusing the arms of Todd Coffey and Mark DiFelice this year, a righty who didn’t pitch too many innings might be nice to have.

What’s Wrong With Kendall’s Eye?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

While watching tonight’s pregame on FS-Wisconsin, I noticed Kendall’s right eye is all jacked up. It’s very dark and it appears as though he’s bruised underneath the eye too. A little while after I took this shot, it even looked as though he might have had some smelling salt in his hand that he was taking a whiff of.

Maybe he got nailed by a ball in BP, maybe he walked into something, maybe Prince decked him… Who knows? He’s catching tonight so it’s nothing serious, just thought it was a little strange.

 

UPDATE:

Adam McCalvy of Brewers.com responded to an e-mail on the subject in record time.

He got whacked in the eye on the off day but everything checked out fine. It’s one of those deals that looks much worse than it is. Much, much, much worse, because it’s even more knarly in person. - Adam

Appreciate the response, Adam.

 

UPDATE2:

trwi7 and 1992casey on BrewerFan.net report that Kendall’s niece caused the black eye by hitting him in the eye with a bat.

I’m told Bill and Brian also mentioned it on a game broadcast. Missed that…

 

UPDATE3:

Tom Haudricourt responded to an e-mail too:

Got whacked by an aluminum bat swung by a little girl while playing with some kids. — TH

Thanks, Tom.

Brewers Fan Favorite - Round 2

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

OK, so it wasn’t very close after all. Stetter beat out current-non-Brewer Gagne easily as was expected especially once Gagne was released. What was a little surprising was seeing how badly Suppan lost against Braden Looper, the newest pitcher who hasn’t thrown one pitch as a Brewer. Overall, most of this week’s winners won by about 30%. Final results:

Stetter DEF Gagne 89%-11%

Looper DEF Suppan 65%-35%

Weeks DEF Gwynn 63%-37%

Kendall DEF Counsell 68%-32%

Here’s how the bracket looks as we start round 2. Most everybody who filled out an entry is still in it.

For the second round, we’re keeping the schedule the same. That said, vote away…Polls close on Friday! Keep your Favorite Brewers in the Game!

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Brewers Fan Favorite ‘09 - Round 1 Concludes

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This weekend, Villanueva and McClung rolled while the other two races were pretty tight. It was nice to see Chris Capuano get a respectable amount of votes probably meaning that not everyone has given up on the guy. Mat Gamel has the first upset of the Bracket, which tells us that Brewer fans are fed up with Bill Hall and are ready for the future. Mike Cameron was able to fend off the other top prospect, Alcides Escobar, but not by terribly much. Here are the final results:

Cameron DEF Escobar 60% - 40%

Gamel DEF Hall 59% - 41%

Villanueva DEF Capuano 73% - 27%

McClung DEF Riske 81% - 19%

Here’s the updated bracket:

This round might give us some more upsets and close matches:

[polldaddy poll="1441323"] [polldaddy poll="1441331"] [polldaddy poll="1441335"] [polldaddy poll="1441340"]

Polling for this round, which is the end of Round 1, will end Wednesday Night!

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Strengths and Weaknesses?

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

This Week’s Topic: Doug Melvin has said that the Brewers are basically done making moves. As of right now, what are the team’s strongest and weakest points? Who should we watch for to step up this year and who should we lower our standards on?

Bryan -

With the latest Ben Sheets development, it doesn’t look like the Brewers will get another starter until mid-year. I think starting pitching is the weakest point of the team right now. I think most of the pitchers will have a good year, but if one pitcher gets hurt (and it’s baseball so it WILL happen), we then have to rely on Villa in a starters role or the triumphant return of Chris Capuano. We also shouldn’t count on our catchers much for offense, so I’m lowering my standards on Kendall and Rivera. Mike Rivera was amazing in very limited play last year, but I doubt he does the same this year. I hope he does, but I’m not expecting him to. I’m also not expecting Kendall to start the year off like a man possessed like last year.

The strongest part of the team is their outfield, both defensively and offensively. I expect Mike Cameron to have a better overall year, especially since he won’t miss the first 25 games due to suspension. Corey Hart’s mindset scares me a little. He ended last year with a massive slump and isn’t getting offered as much as he thought he should. This will either make him start tearing it up at the beginning of the year or it will cause the slump to carry over. Ryan Braun is basically gold in Milwaukee now. He will continue to work to improve on his already strong list of accomplishments. Even though the Brewers lost uber-benchie Gabe Kapler, I have a feeling Tony Gwynn is going to turn it around this year and be a strong part of the Brewers bench.

Jared -

I think the strongest area of the team is the offense. With the same starters as last year, the offense is obviously good. And I think a number of the guys on the team will contribute more this year than they did last year. They might have to in order to make up for the starting pitching.
The starting pitching is the team’s weakness. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the starting five. In fact, they’re probably above average. But the Brewers have no depth and there is no way they can make it through the season pitching just five starters. The Chase Wright trade was a step in the right direction and Chris Capuano could come back from injury, but there are just question marks after that… I think the team needs to add a starter or at least some more AAA depth.
I expect David Bush to step up this season. He’s flirted with pushing his game to the next level the last couple of seasons and I think he’ll take that step this year. I’m not saying he’ll be an ace by any means, but I think he will be a very solid starter (ERA under 4) that will consistently eat innings and be a level performer for the Brewers.
I like what Jason Kendall brought to the table last year, but I worry about him becoming a weakness on the team. He made up for his weak offense with his defensive play and how he handled the pitching staff last season, but if he takes a step back offensively or defensively, his value will be pretty limited.

Valuing Jason Kendall

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Personally, when it was announced that we had signed Jason Kendall to a major league deal last season, I was worried. Kendall was coming off of a 2007 season where he hit near the mendoza line, putting up a wOBA of .272 adding up to a combined batting runs above average of -25.6 between his time in both Oakland and with the Cubs. This put Kendall dangerously close to replacement level at catcher. Not only was Kendall terrible at the plate, he was questionable behind it as well, allowing 111 stolen bases while catching only 20 runners, for a runner success rate of 84.7%, compared to a league average rate of 74.4%. To sum it up, although he was a liability at the plate, he was also a liability in the field.

Kendall had a very hot start to the 2008 season, hitting over .500 for much of the first month of the season. However, Jason was due for the mother of all regressions, finishing with a batting average of .238. Kendall’s poor batting average, combined with very little power, resulted in -17.0 batting runs above average. Neutral to position, this is barely above a replacement player, who is assumed to acquire -20 batting runs over the course of a season. So there’s one fear that was realized.

The other fear was that he would continue to be the defensive liability that he was in 2007. In his stint in Chicago, 52 of 57 runners who attempted a steal against him were successful, for a success rate of 91.2%. Runners were only successful against him 69.6% of the time in ‘06, but in ‘05 he posted a rate of 82.1%. The question was whether or not Kendall could return to his pre-2004 form, back when he was with Pittsburgh, when his worst runner success rate was 73.2%.

As anybody who watched the Brewer season knows, Kendall smashed all expectations behind the plate. He was brilliant at fielding balls in front of him, rating at +4 runs by David Pinto’s probabilistic model of range. This number is not necessarily predictive, due to a small sample size, but it still speaks volumes for the results from 2008. He also threw out a whopping 41 runners out of 96 attempted steals, for a runner success rate of only 57.3%, the best number from any full season for Kendall (he had a 56.5% runner success rate in 1999, but he only started 75 games at C that year).

So let’s see if we can put these numbers to some use. Really, the fact that 57.3% of runners against him were successful is meaningless without some sort of way to translate that into the “currency of baseball,” namely, wins. And the easiest way to do that is using the run values derived from linear weights. Although the value of the stolen base is highly dependent on context (stealing 2nd or 3rd in the top of the 9th in a tie game is much more valuable in terms of wins then stealing 2nd down by 4 in the bottom of the 3rd, for instance), we want to eliminate context for simplicity’s sake. The run value of the average stolen base is .18 runs, and the run value of the average caught stealing is -.47 runs. Note that the average run value of the caught stealing is much higher than that of the average out (which is approx. -.3 runs) because not only is the runner making an out, he is also removing himself from the basepaths. So in order to find the amount of runs saved by a catcher, we apply the following formula.

Runs Saved = -.18*SB + .47*CS

Thanks to this formula, we can find the “break-even point” for the stolen base – at which runner success rate does Runs Saved = 0 - The answer is roughly 72% - that is, any catcher who is allowing less than 72% of the runners against him to successfully steal is saving runs for his team, or conversely, any runner who successfully steals more than 72% of the time is creating runs for his team.

Now let’s get back to Kendall. We know that he allowed 55 stolen bases and caught 41 runners stealing. Applying our formula, we find that Kendall saved.(-.18*55 ) + (.47*41) = 9.37 runs. That’s nearly one whole win.

This is all very nice and uses lots of pretty numbers, but it still doesn’t tell us quite exactly what we need to know. What we really want to find out how many runs better he was than the average catcher. So we need to find the average rate of success for base stealers in 2008. A quick use of the Baseball Databank spits out 2799 SBs and 1035 CSs for the 2008 season. That gives an average runner success rate of 73.0%. Here, let’s apply this success rate to the number of stolen base attempts Kendall faced (96). This gives us, that if Kendall were an average 2008 catcher, he would’ve allowed 70.08 SBs and 25.92 CSs. Applying our runs saved formula again, this gives

AverageRunsSaved = (-.18*70.08) + (.47*25.92) = -.43 runs

Now to see how much above average Kendall was as a catcher, we take Kendall’s runs saved (9.37) subtracted by the average runs saved (-.43), and we get 9.80 runs saved above average for Jason.

Of course, this analysis isn’t perfect. There are many factors that come into why a runner gets caught stealing. It’s much harder to steal against left-handed pitchers, for instance. So really, I’m not entirely sure how many of the 9.80 runs should be credited to Jason – to a point, they deserve to be spread between Jason and the pitching staff. For now, let’s just go with it and say that it was all Jason, hypothetically.

Then Jason was worth

-17.0 Batting Runs

4.0 runs by PMR

9.80 runs by SB/CS

10.61 runs by positional adjustment (that’s 12.5*(594/700), since it’s the 12.5 run catcher positional adjustment pro-rated by plate appearances).

16.97 runs by replacement adjustment (pro-rated, similarly to above)

Adding that all together gives us that Kendall was worth 24.38 runs, for a WAR of 2.4, which makes Kendall  an above-average player at a premium position, which is a very valuable piece going forward.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - 2008 Decisions

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This Week’s Topic: Think back through the entire year of 2008. What were the best and worst decisions made in 2008?

Jared -

I’d say the worst decision of the year had to be the Eric Gagne signing. Melvin needed to bring in somebody to close out games. The team looked like it could be competitive and somebody needed to pitch in the ninth with the lead. The market for relief pitchers was through the roof and Gagne got $10 million despite some injury concerns, declining velocity and his ineffective pitching at the end of the year in Boston. Every Brewers fan (and Doug Melvin too, I’m sure) prayed that Gagne could recapture the momentum he had in Texas previous to the Boston trade in 2007 and we all dreamed of him being as dominate as he was in his prime in LA. No such luck… Gagne struggled from the get go. He came back strong in a lesser role as the season progressed, but he was not worth anywhere close to $10 million. That said, the guy can pitch and he proved to be a class act. I’d be happy to see him in a Milwaukee uniform again in 2009, just not for $10 million…

An under-the-radar move that came back to haunt the Brewers was trading away Gabe Gross. Gabe is not a world beater, but he’s a decent player offensively and defensively. The team could have used a left-handed hitting outfielder many times during the season and Gross’ patient approach at the plate would have been nice off the bench or in spot starts, especially on a team full of free swingers. How nice would it have been to have that Gabe after our other Gabe (Kapler) got hurt and couldn’t play late in the season? Gross could have given Hart a few days off and maybe Corey would have shook out of that horrible funk he was in. The Brewers basically gave Gross away too…

I think the best decisions the Brewers management made in 2008 were the little ones. They filled the roster with veterans and role players and it worked out beautifully. Jason Kendall played outstanding behind the plate. Gabe Kapler came out of retirement to play a huge role as a reserve and spot starter. Russell Branyan provided a much-needed offensive spark as the Brewers were struggling in May. Salomon Torres filled in admirable as the closer. Ray Durham and Craig Counsell were important reserves and got plenty of starts too. Even Todd Coffey and Mike Lamb contributed down the stretch. Melvin and company did an outstanding job filling in the gaps on the roster and it was the difference between reaching the playoffs and watching them from home.

It’d be blasphemous not to mention the CC Sabathia trade as a great decision too. The big man put the Brewers on his back and carried them into the playoffs. The package Milwaukee gave Cleveland is impressive and one or more of LaPorta, Brantley or Bryson could easily turn into good Major Leaguers, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The moments CC and the 2008 Brewers gave us will be among some of my fondest Brewer memories for the rest of my life.


Jack -

I could go with the obvious answer here and say that the greatest move of 2008 was the CC Sabathia trade, but I think I’ll take the high road and find something a little more under the radar. My personal favorite move was the signing of Russell Branyan, who in his short time on the Milwaukee 25-man roster was worth 1.2 wins. Next, I’d go with the decision to put Gagne on the DL. Easily.

As I’ve already mentioned, the potential move of 2009 for me would be the signing of Joe Crede. However, hopefully that’s unnecessary, and Mat Gamel’s promotion to the ML level will turn out to be the big move of 2009.

On the other side of the spectrum, we again have an obvious pick for the worst move of 2008 – namely, the signing of Eric Gagne. But I think that clearly worse was the multi-year signing of David Riske, a player who was below replacement level last year and will likely continue to hover around that level.

The move going into the new year that I fear most is a possible signing of either Oliver Perez or Jon Garland. These are two players who have terrible peripheral stats but have nice and pretty W-L records and ERAs. I think that signings of these two could turn out as bad as the Suppan signing, and I hope we stay away.

Bryan -

There are two decisions that were the best this year: The first was signing Ryan Braun to a long term deal. The second was trading for C.C. Sabathia.

Ryan Braun is now the face of the team. I know big Prince is still a great leader, but the fans have this feeling that we know he’s going to chase the money in a bigger city so it limits our love for the big man. With Ryan, we have a young All-Star who says all the right things and is a complete team player. How many amazing moments has Braun already given Milwaukee? It’s amazing to think that I’ll be in my 30’s when Ryan Braun’s contract runs out.

The C.C. trade ultimately brought the Brewers to the playoffs. The Brewers were going to do their September collapse again, but C.C. wouldn’t let them. Yes he was costly and yes, we don’t even get a first round pick anymore, but for 4 months, C.C. was the biggest star in Milwaukee and the main reason the Brewers didn’t completely collapse again.

There were many more, such as the Kapler signing and Torres trade (which is still underrated by fans), but those two were the best.

As far as worst decisions go, Gagne was a rough one, so was Julian Tavares, perhaps it was batting the pitcher 8th, or using Cameron in the leadoff role, but one thing stands out in my mind as the worst decision.

This summer, we saw gas prices rise massively. It almost reached 4 and a half dollars a gallon. It became financially hard for many fans to make it to the game. Once fans were finally in the stadium, what did we see? A HUGE gas pump with numbers that kept going up, up, up all summer long! What an awful move by Citgo. I understand they put the thing up in 2007, but the decision to keep it was awful. Were they trying to find a silver lining to the gas price crisis? There are soooooooo many ways to tally home runs. There are soooooooo many ways for Citgo to promote themselves. But to have a gas pump rise all summer while real prices were rising causing fans to sweat more than ever was the worst decision of 2008.

Thankfully gas prices have fallen for now, but if they start climbing again Citgo should think about maybe sponsoring a concession stand instead of a giant gas pump. What would be smart would be for an investment company to put something out there so even though stocks are falling right now, the Brewers home run totals are up, up, up!

Tyler -

I’m probably not the only one who will mention this, but I view Eric Gagne’s one-year/$10 M contract to be Milwaukee’s most siazable front office error. As easy as it is to jump on Gagne, Doug Melvin and anyone else with bearing to this occurance now, I - as I know many others were - was happy with the transaction initially. Yeah, the price tag was a bit hefty, and Gagne’s directly preceeding bout with the injury bug and ineffectiveness in Arlington and Boston carried a great deal of uncertainty, but Milwaukee felt it needed to address the closer situation and went out and nabbed a player a few years removed from legendary closer status.

But alas, every legitimate worry of failure that accompanied Seth Rogen reincarnate was almost immediately realized, his mention in the Mitchell Report left Milwaukee’s brand new (ironically very old) bullpen with another PED-related black eye and the funds cherished by a mid-market franchise seemed sucked into an empty hole. Sure, he pulled it together to be a pretty good option for the 7th and 8th innings, but the price tag wasn’t fitting of a middle reliever. At the right price, I would welcome Eric back with open arms, and (as the current bullpen sits) even ponder letting him battle for the closer’s role in Spring Training. But you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who doesn’t feature Eric Gagne high on his or her (well hello, there) list of 2008 Brewers disappointments.

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