Posts Tagged ‘Trevor Hoffman’

Rosenthal’s Idea

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Ken Rosenthal stole my idea. He thinks Adam Dunn is a good fit for the Brewers too:

Here’s another idea:

Trade Prince Fielder for premium young pitching. Sign free agent Adam Dunn to replace Fielder. Secure cost certainty at first base instead of fretting over Fielder’s rising salaries through his arbitration years.

Melvin said Thursday that he is not trying to make such a play, but he showed interest in Dunn when the Brewers considered trading center fielder Mike Cameron, envisioning Dunn in right and Corey Hart in center.

Imagine if Melvin could trade Fielder to the Giants for Matt Cain, or to the Angels for Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana. Neither move is likely — Cain appears close to untouchable, and the Angels keep gushing over Kendry Morales at first base. But the concept is not without merit.

Rosenthal provides some more analysis of the proposed move, but that’s the basics.

Originally, my “plan” with Dunn, would have been for the Brewers to sign him, trade Cameron to the Yankees for pitching and have Dunn play right for now with Hart shifting to center. Once Fielder is traded or leaves in free agency, Dunn would shift to first.

Now, it appears Cameron is staying put (also from Rosenthal’s column):

With Mike Cameron due $10 million next season, the Yankees probably won’t go after the Brewers’ veteran outfielder.

The Brewers’ Melvin joked that he no longer can trade center fielder Mike Cameron, who turned out to be his best recruiter for Hoffman, his former Padres teammate.

Melvin will never say never, but the Yankees’ interest in Cameron seems to be waning.

That’s fine. Cameron is a nice player and there really is no need to replace him. If they can get a valuable piece for him that’s one thing, but if it’s a salary dump, I’d rather hold onto him.

I’ve said all along that I don’t see the Brewers trading Prince this offseason, but if the circumstances are right, it might be a prudent move. Frankly, I think Dunn is better and more consistent than Prince. If you can replace Prince’s production at a similar cost (and a locked in cost since Dunn would be under contract, not due arbitration) while also improving the rotation, why not?

The pitchers that Rosenthal mentioned (Cain, E. Santana and Saunders) are nice, young arms (though, without analyzing stats, Saunders is less appealing to me than the other two) and one of them would certainly improve the rotation. I’d think the Brewers might even be able to get another mid-level prospect in return in a Fielder swap for one of those guys.

I’m all for it. It would improve the team this year and push the Brewers one step closer to another postseason appearance. Of course, the Brewers would only be able to pull this off if the team they’re trading Fielder to thinks he’s better than Dunn because they could just sign Dunn if they wanted to. In fact, the team would have to think having Fielder is better than having Dunn and the pitcher they’d be trading. Probably a longshot…

Rosenthal also had this note about Trevor Hoffman in his column:

Hoffman’s 2008 season, Melvin says, was better than it appeared. Hoffman allowed more than one earned run in only three outings, and that his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 46-to-9. Hoffman’s strikeout rate was his best since 2002, his groundball rate his best since ‘05 …

And speaking of people stealing my ideas… Someone else actually used the term “slumbermetrics.” I knew I should have copyrighted the phrase when I used it in the comments in this post.

In the News (1/9)

Friday, January 9th, 2009

 

Sup bitches?!?!


Brewers News

- As we all well know, Hoffmania has ensued in Brewertown. And with Milwaukee coming to terms with the game’s most accomplished closer comes varying reactions along the blogosphere.

• Scout.com: Milwaukee got the “Right Guy.”

• Bernie’s Crew: “Doug Melvin has made a good baseball move to sure up the back-end of Milwaukee’s bullpen… Trevor will not be=2 0a superstar for Milwaukee, but he should be a solid closer throughout the season.”

• Justin’s Brewers Blog: “Don’t Hassel the Hoff.”

• Brew Crew Ball: “Best of all, relations with the opposite sex are at a peak.” (It’s not what you think… it’s Hoffman Horoscope)

• Baseball Digest Daily: “Hoffman will be good, not great, and may not be there for too long. Given the burnouts and short-timers the Brewers have had there in recent years, however, that may be sufficient cause for jubilation in Mil Town.”

• San Diego Union Tribune: It was time to end Trevor Time.

• In-Between Hops: Hoffman as closer > Jeff Suppan closing.

• ESPN’s Eric Karabell: “Hoffman’s time in Milwaukee might not be pretty.”

• FanGraphs: “I’m betting that this isn’t going to work out as well as Milwaukee would have hoped, and they’ll be right back in the market for a closer again next winter.”

• RFB’s own Jack (in the post below): “Clearly we overpaid, because Hoffman would have to basically be above the best projection we have for him to be worth his contract. However, given the closer market, I’m not totally disappointed by this.”

• Bugs & Cranks’ handsome ace in the hole, Tyler Maas: “’Hell’s Bells’ kind of sucks. … New uniform, new song, Trevor. I suggest Ginuwine’s 1996 boner ballad ‘Pony.’”

Non-Hoffman Brewers News

- SI’s Jon Heyman sees Milwaukee among the suitors for Derek Lowe: I don’t. If Lowe is asking for more than $12 M/year, I certainly hope not.

- Quevedo at the Buffet (sweet name, btw) doesn’t want Milwaukee to have any part of Ben Sheets: I agree with every reason he cites except No. 5, which read “Teddy Fucking Higuera.” Jesus Christ is the poor man’s Teddy Higuera.

- Chuckie Hacks disagrees with Quevedo’s views on Sheets: No word on what they think about Higuera

- Just how bad is Rickie Weeks?: Evidentially not as bad as one would be led to think. They raise some good points. On a side note, I’d like to arrange an RFB shirt swap for Chuckie Hacks neck ties.

Other News

- Red Sox signed John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli.

- If you do one thing today, please make that thing voting for Baby Mangino.

Trevor Hoffman By The Numbers

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

By now, everybody’s heard about the new addition by Doug Melvin - closer Trevor Hoffman joins the crew. Let’s take a look at what we might be able to expect out of him this year. Here, we’ll take a look at 3 different pitching metrics - ERA, FIP, and tRA to get an idea of what we might expect out of Hoffman.

First, let’s look at ERA. I’m not a fan of using ERA to judge pitcher talent because there are too many other variables involved - mostly defense, and also luck. Still, it is sometimes worth looking at. I’ll also look at ERA+, which measures against the league average, and, more importantly, is park-adjusted for how easy it is to pitch in Petco (or how difficult it is at Coors). For ERA+, 100 is average, 80 is 80% of average, and 120 is 120% of average.

Year

ERA

ERA+

2006

2.14

189

2007

2.98

135

2008

3.77

101

Career

2.78

144

Projected 2009: Marcel (NOT park adjusted)

3.74

-

Projected 2009: Chone (Park adjusted)

4.17

-

OK, well this here says that Hoffman is on a pretty clear design, but I’m not quite convinced just looking at this metric. Let’s try again with FIP. FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, and is based completely on K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 (things of which the pitcher has complete control). Unfortunately, I don’t have FIP+ numbers for this, but we might still see some trends.

Year

FIP

2006

3.46

2007

2.94

2008

3.99

Career

3.00

Projected (Marcel)

4.00

Projected (CHONE)

3.90

Well, we don’t really see that same trend here. His FIP was very low in 2007, although it spiked last year due to a major rise in HR/9 (.31 in 2007 to 1.59 in 2008). That will probably regress a little bit, but consider that a move to Miller Park from Petco Park will also lead to an increase in HR rate. I still expect it will go down, however, because the last time Hoffman had a HR/9 even comparable to 1.59 was in 2001 (an era with many more HRs to boot).

Year

tERA

tERA*

2006

3.47

3.97

2007

2.44

3.74

2008

3.38

3.26

Projection (Marcel)

3.42

3.84

Alright, so we see two different things here. One thing to keep in mind is that Hoffman will get a good amount of contact, and if he’s giving up a bunch of line drives, it won’t matter that his fielding-independent stats look good. A metric that looks both at the fielding independent rates as well as batted ball data is needed here. That metric is tRA. To see the backbone of tRA, check out statcorner. Luckily for us, there’s also tRA*, which is park-adjusted and is a better indicator of true talent (it also regresses highly volatile HR/FB rates and other such rates towards the league average). Unfortunately for us, CHONE doesn’t project tRA, so we’ll have to rely on a Marcel-type analysis for this. I’ve adjusted tRA, which is based on Runs/9 to tERA, which is based on Earned Runs/9. To do this, simply multiply tRA by .92 (92% of runs are earned).

Well, here the trend that we saw using ERA is completely reversed. I’d say that expecting a decline is just as likely as an increase in production. So right now we have a range of projections that goes from 3.7 to 4.2 earned runs per 9 innings. Given potential error with projections, let’s expand this range from 3.5 to 4.4. With replacement level set at 4.65 runs per 9 for RPs, that means that Hoffman is somewhere from 1.15 to .25 runs above replacement per 9 innings. So that means if Hoffman pitches 50 innings, he’ll be worth anywhere from 1.5 to 6.5 runs above replacement. Almost there! Applying the average leverage index for closers (1.93), we get a total leveraged runs saved of 2.9 on the low end or 12.5 on the high end. So Hoffman could be worth anywhere from .3 WAR (1.2 million dollars) on the low end or 1.3 WAR (6.1 million dollars) on the high end.

Clearly we overpaid, because Hoffman would have to basically be above the best projection we have for him to be worth his contract. However, given the closer market, I’m not totally disappointed by this . We’re not handcuffed for the future and it’s a given that Hoffman will at the very least eat up important back end innings. Also, it gives us that “veteran presence” we so dearly need.

It’s Trevor Time in Milwaukee

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Trevor Time is about to meet Miller Time.

If reports are true (AP, MLB.com, LA Times), the Brewers are about to sign all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman.

Pending the financial details, I’m thrilled with this signing.

More details as they arrive.

UPDATE (9:30 a.m.): The Brewers have sent Hoffman an offer sheet and are awaiting Hoffman’s agent to confirm the deal is finalized, according to Adam McCalvy. This should get done early today if there are no hitches.

UPDATE 2 (9:45 a.m.): Buster Olney just said on 540 ESPN that Hoffman has agreed to terms with Milwaukee and will become a Brewer.

UPDATE 3 (11 a.m.): Haudricourt says it’s a one-year deal worth $6 million plus up to an additional $1.5 million in incentives. There is a team option for 2010. The Brewers will not announce the signing until Hoffman passes a physical.

That’s about what I expected the financial terms to be. I think it’s a nice signing for the Crew. I hope we hear a lot of “Hell’s Bells” in Miller Park next year.

UPDATE 4 (12:45 p.m.): Haudricourt has an update and there is no club option for 2010. He adds that Hoffman will reach all of his incentives if he finishes 52 games this season and the incentives start kicking in at 35 games finished.

“If You’re Into Evil, You’re a Friend of Mine”

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Trevor Hoffman? Of course, I’d love to see him in Milwaukee.

It seemed like Hoffman wasn’t about to give the Brewers the time of day earlier this offseason. And even if he would, the Brewers interest only seemed luke warm. So, I sort of erased him from the list of plausible options in my mind… Now that his agent seems to be listing the Brewers among two finalists, I’m all about having Hoffman here.

Yes, Hoffman is old (41), but I think the age argument is overblown. Hoffman is still pitching great (3.77 ERA, 1.037 WHIP, 30 for 34 in save opportunities in 2008). Plus, he was an All-Star in ‘06 and ‘07. And he’s a change-up specialist. Declining velocity will not effect him like it could most aging pitchers (and has not thus far).

But what about the fact that he’s pitched half his games in PETCO Park, a notoriously pitcher-friendly field? Also overblown. His park-aided career home ERA and WHIP stands at 2.52 and 0.97 respectively and his career away ERA and WHIP is 3.09 and 1.15. Looks like he can hold his own away from PETCO. Last season, his home ERA was actually 1.4 runs higher than his road ERA. I think the fact that he’s primarily a change-up pitcher negates some of the park effect too.

Hoffman should also be relatively affordable (around $7 million a year, I’d guess) on a short-term commitment (probably two years if they want to beat the Dodgers offer). That’s exactly what the Brewers should be in the market for. And he’s probably the best option out there now. Every available reliever has question marks and none have anywhere near the track record that Trevor Hoffman has. The guy is the freakin’ all-time saves leader. You can’t tell me his veteran presence in the locker room alone wouldn’t help the team. And I’m pretty sure every pitcher on the team could learn a thing or two from the man who is on pace to reach 600 career saves in the 2010 season.

But more than anything, the Brewers should sign Hoffman for “Hell’s Bells.” You have no idea how jacked up I’d get watching Hoffman trotting out to close games in Miller Park to bells ringing and AC/DC blaring. Classic.

 

 

In the end, a 41-year-old Trevor Hoffman is not K-Rod and he’s probably not even Brian Fuentes, but he is a hell of a pitcher and he’d improve the Brewers in arguably their weakest area. In an offseason that seems to be littered with bad news for the Crew, I’d take a Trevor Hoffman signing as an outstanding development. Bring him in, Doug.

In the News (1/7)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

The Newest Name on the Brewers Hot Stove

The Newest Name on the Brewers Hot Stove

Brewers News

- Rumors are buzzing today about Trevor Hoffman and the Brewers. The last time they signed an aging closer, it didn’t work out well. However, Hoffman is a completley different kind of pitcher so it could work (but the fact that he closed in PETCO for the most part doesn’t help his argument either).

- As of late Thursday Night, 68% of JSOnline voters believe that Trevor Hoffman is the answer at closer for the Brewers.

- Bernie’s Crew invited the 6 families…er Blogs…together for a 6 Pack Roundtable. Some main talking points: Bernie’s Crew doesn’t think much is going to happen so McClung or Villa should vie for the closers role and Oliver Perez might be this years Kyle Lohse. Brew Crew Ball wants a back up infielder and thinks the Brewers should look at Chuck James, Odalis Perez, or Rodrigo Lopez as their 5th starter. Brew Town Beat thinks Melvin will pull a Thompson and do nothing, but maybe hit up some “under the rader” type guys. The Bucky Channel wants a lot of things including bringing back Durham, Sheets, and Shouse. Chuckie Hacks is more simplistic in their wants; they want bullpen help and a back up infielder. Finally, we…well…you already know what we want (Sheets, Looper, Lyons, and Dunn).

- Speaking of Packs, the Brewers 9 pack will go on sale Friday and will include opening day tickets.

- Brew Crew Ball talks (almost) worst case scenario for Sheets->He would go to the Yankees and we would get a 4TH ROUND PICK ONLY for his departure. With Andy Pettitte turning down the Yankees, it’s possible…

- It’s rumored that three teams are interested in Kapler and that the Brewers are none of them. I think most of Milwaukee has a man-crush on Gabe and is saddened by this news.

- Here’s a look at what the 2009 draft would be if it were to take place today. The Brewers would have numbers 27, 37, and 66.

- I’m pretty sure this is insider, but Olney has 10 things for fans to keep an eye on. Just in case it is insider only here’s a couple nuggets: Olney is interested in seeing how much Howard and Prince will get. He also thinks that whoever loses out on Manny will be after Dunn and Abreu and the Brewers should get in the bidding for Garland.

Minor Leagues

- Bernie’s Crew talks about  aptly named Brent Brewer.

- Good News: Pitcher Zach Braddock should be OK after his procedure and won’t need Tommy John on top of it after all.

- Can you sing? Greer Stadium in Nashville is looking for National Anthem Singers. I would sign up Johnny’s hip hop alter ego.

NL Central

- Jason Marquis officially got sent to the Rockies. Hendry said that he felt Gaudin and Samardzija will be quality starters and that this move wasn’t a payroll cutback. Mmhmm.

- The Cubs new owner should be made official soon. Really. It’s coming this time. Isn’t it?

- This was supposed to be funny, but I could actually see someone making and selling these:

- The Reds signed Jerry Hairston Jr. A glorified backup.

Other News

- Beyond the Box Score wonders what’s going on with Chad Cordero? That’s a name that I wouldn’t mind seeing if the Brewers can’t land anyone else in the bullpen by Spring Training.

- Quick Hitters: JC Romero was caught performance enhancing, Carl Pavano is going to the Tribe (underrated pick up), Giambi is going back to the A’s, and the Nationals keep lowering their standards but no one is drunk enough to go home with them.

Insomniac Ink