Thursday, October 23, 2008

K.Law sets the record straight

Leave it to uber-analyst Keith Law to douse me in an icey cold water bath that is sometimes called reality (Insider Access required).

The team acquiring Peavy would get something similar to what Arizona got financially in Haren -- three years of control at below-market prices -- but they're not getting the same pitcher on the field. Peavy missed time this year with elbow trouble after notching a career high in innings in 2007. When he did pitch, his strikeout rate was down, his walk rate was up, and his home run rate was back up after an exceptionally low rate in 2007. His velocity was about normal, sitting 92-93 on the four-seamer, a few mph below that on the two-seamer, but his slider didn't have the same bite. He uses the slider heavily, which isn't good for the elbow, and without that as a primary weapon, he's not going to be as effective.

Peavy has also benefited tremendously from his home environment. Petco Park is one of the toughest places in baseball in which to hit a home run, good news for pitchers like Peavy who don't keep the ball on the ground. In fact, Peavy has allowed far more home runs (81) in his career on the road than he has at home (47), despite throwing 95 more innings at home. And that's before we consider the soft competition that he's faced, between his league and the weak offenses in his own division.

I know Petco skews heavily as a pitcher's park and certainly the competition is easier in the NL West than it is in the AL East. Maybe Peavy knows this and that's why he wants to stay in the NL, which I had been surmizing for some time now:
"Maybe Peavy looks at likely AL teams (for now, let's just consider the two financial superpowers, NY and Boston) and tells himself that he wants no part of pitching against the rest of the AL East. Could you blame him?"

And a bit more on these topics from Padres Assistant GM Paul DePodesta, interviewed here earlier this year:
IIATMS: Do you think people make too big a deal about “park effects”?
PD: I think it might be a little overdone. Park effects are definitely important when evaluating an individual player’s performance, but on any given night our collective mission is to beat the other team and we’re both playing in the same park. In short, I think there’s a fine line. You can’t ignore the nuances of your own park since you’ll play there 81 times a year, but you can’t be myopic either.


IIATMS: In your blog, you question how difficult the trade/rumor mill process must be for the players. How do you deal with players during this time? Do you actively seek them out to keep them in the loop? Do they call you? Are you able to share info
with them?

PD: It depends on the situation. There are times when I’ve kept a player in the loop about his situation when I thought it was appropriate. Other times it’s more difficult because trades are tenuous, and you don’t want to burden a player unnecessarily.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

I think he has a point. However, do you really think he went at it when he came back from injury? Reports indicated the Padres told him to take it easy considering they were already out of it. As much as you can look at statistical analysis, there's as much of a chance this is a blip instead of an indication of what is to come. Was this year a reaction to his exceptional last season or an indication of things to come? He's still only 27, and I'd take the risk. There's always risk involved. With Peavy, it's mainly injury. I doubt he'd just lose all ability to pitch. With prospects, you have the risk of injury and them not working out talent-wise. For the record, Peavy's career road ERA is 3.80. Does that mean that's how he'll pitch from now on? Remember, the NL West was really good last year, and he pitched great. It's a risk either way you go, but I'd still rather bet on the guy who has proven himself.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Just saw this, the Braves won't part with their big prospects (I don't know if I'm relieved or not) for Peavy. Wren said it, so I'll believe it.

Jason @ IIATMS said...


Would I still deal some prospects, plus Cano and/or Melky for Peavy? You betchya, risk included. There's risk everywhere.

And interesting to see the Braves not push their chips into the middle of the table. Thought that would be a good fit.

Perhaps Peavy will remain in San Diego after all

tHeMARksMiTh said...

It looks to be the case. I can't imagine anyone really stepping in to wow them with an offer, and they definitely don't have to move him.

WebSoulSurfer said...

Law missed the mark on many of his points.

I could repost my blog post but its 1200 words. Easier to post my blog address. I hope you don't mind.

Keith Law said...

Jason, thanks for pointing this out to me. I think Wren's stance makes sense: Recent history shows us that you don't give up top-shelf prospects and/or top 0-3 players to acquire even a front-end starter, especially not when there's a red flag or two. The lone exception, the Bedard trade, got the GM fired shortly afterwards.

Jason @ IIATMS said...


Thanks for taking the time to visit. I appreciate you taking the time.

Websoulsurfer: I checked your site out and will try to get to it shortly.