On Miles, Ankiel and the Hall

On Miles, Ankiel and the Hall

Posted by Bruce on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 23:39
I was working on this blog when news came around dinnertime that the Cubs had traded Aaron Miles, Jake Fox and cash to the A’s. It’s a cut-your-losses deal for the Cubs as far as Miles is concerned. They had to send the A’s a cool mil, but they point out they save $1.7 mil on the deal. Miles may have been the worst veteran position player in all of baseball this year, with his line of .185/.224/.242. That’s an OPS of .466. Miles’ OPS-plus was 20. Twenty. The Cubs were enchanted by Miles’ performance the year before with the Cardinals. Speaking of the Cardinals, there are rumblings that the Cubs also may be interested in St. Louis free-agent outfielder Rick Ankiel. Those rumblings are a bit premature. The Cubs are merely looking at this point, and they still have to move money. It says here they ought to stay away from Ankiel. Didn’t we go through this “left-hand bat” thing a year ago? Or maybe Larry Rothschild is going to change Ankiel back into a pitcher. Let's see of Ankiel is out there one month from now. Ankiel’s line with the Cardinals this year was .231/.285/.387 for an OPS of .672. His OPS-plus was 76, and his wOBA (weighted on-base average) was .288 Ankiel had 11 homers and 53 RBI this year. Bill James projects his line at .253/.310/.453 for 2010. That’s an OPS of .763. Ankiel’s performance this year was essentially replacement-level. One thing the Cubs should have learned, if they’re looking at advanced stats, is that they wasted money on Miles when “replacement-level” players such as Bobby Scales and Andres Blanco came up and did better for a fraction of the cost. Ol' Jake Fox didn't do so bad, either, and I'll miss him personally. I saw him from his first day in big-league camp a few years ago, and he always remained friendly and upbeat. We’ll talk more with Jim Hendry before heading to Indy Sunday and have more in the paper and right here over the weekend. On another, important, topic, my Hall of Fame ballot arrived today. This is my eighth year of voting. New names on the ballot this year include Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin. I will consider both carefully. Help me out here. Should Alomar’s spitting incident with an umpire cost him first-ballot votes? It’s one thing I’ll definitely weigh. Here are guys I’ll either vote for or consider seriously before marking the X: Alomar Larkin Bert Blyleven Andre Dawson Jack Morris Mark McGwire Tim Raines Lee Smith Alan Trammell We get a packet of stats and a paragraph on each candidate’s qualifications. The instructions say: “Voting shall be based upon a player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” As big a stats guy as I am, I know that it’s called the Hall of Fame and not the “Hall of Stats.” That’s why I’ve given the nod to Jack Morris in the past while some of my stats friends have said he doesn’t quite measure up based on the stats. I’ve talked with players who played with and against Morris, and they say he belongs. Blyleven had 287 wins, 242 complete games (think about that for a sec) and the damndest curveball I’ve ever seen. He gets my vote. I’ll let you know how the ballot turns out.
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