Ranking the Series matchups I'd like to see (cont.)
Once again, VORP has nothing to do with MVP
Zero. There's a number the stat people will understand.
That's the relationship between VORP, the stat that the stat people love, and MVP.
Baseball Prospectus, as of a few days ago, had Alex Rodriguez leading the AL in VORP (which stands for Value Over Replacement Player), the stat its enthusiasts think is the best stat in the world to determine player value, and also the best to help determine who's the Most Valuable Player.
But as you can see, while VORP may tell you something, it shouldn't determine who wins the MVP award. Beyond containing two of the letters in MVP, there appears to be almost no relationship whatsoever here.
I happened to love A-Rod. He's turned himself into a very good third baseman (he's probably the best defender on the Yankees), he's a three-time MVP (though I don't believe he deserved it the year his Rangers finished last), he's the best all-around player in the game and he's not among the prime list of reasons for the Yankees' demise this year (though, there are plenty of Yankees officials who'd have him on that list).
Yet, A-Rod shouldn't sniff the MVP award this year.
If devotees of VORP (I'm already on their bad side after calling them VORPies last year) think their stat is key to determining the MVP, they should think again. It's worth a glance, at best.
But VORP is supposed to be an all-encompassing stat, and it led some numbers people to determine that Hanley Ramirez was a viable NL MVP candidate last year. And led many to say that David Wright was the NL MVP in a year in which Wright's Mets choked (Wright himself says no way was he MVP).
VORP, like other stats, doesn't come close to telling you everything. It doesn't take into account how a hitter hits in the clutch (oddly enough, some stat people think that's just luck, anyway), or how many meaningful games he played in (at last count Grady Sizemore was high up on the VORP list, as well). VORP has some value. But like all other stats, it doesn't replace watching the games or following the season.
A-Rod may have the best VORP. But he shouldn't be on anyone's MVP ballot, much less at the top of the ballot.
Is it the Padres, or the Madres?
The Padres are already a team with a lot of prominent decisionmakers -- too many cooks, some may even say -- but there have been concerns that they may add a new voice at the top of the already crowded hierarchy, as there are whispers that owner John Moores' wife Becky might try to wrest control of the team in coming divorce proceedings. If so, that might make it a whole new ballgame for accomplished front office people Sandy Alderson, Kevin Towers and Paul DePodesta.
People in the industry say they believe it's more likely than not that John Moores will retain the team. And he suggested as much in an interview with MLB.com, saying, "I never say never about anything, but I don't think I'll be out of the picture next year ... I anticipate being part of the Padres next year and into the foreseeable future.''
Moore may have been attempting to allay front-office fears with his comments. Though of course, even if Becky did take control, she could ultimately prove to be a better owner than her husband. John Moores, after all, is the one who insisted a few years back that the team take San Diego-area shortstop Matt Bush with the first pick overall over Justin Verlander, Stephen Drew and several other much better prospects.
Around the majors
Ben Sheets' latest injury represents bad timing for the Brewers, and worse timing for him. Even Sveum acted surprised to hear that Sheets' elbow has been aching since Aug. 26. The talented free-agent-to-be will still make a lot of money this winter, but any more than a four-year contract should be out of the question. Should be, anyway.
The Cubs, say one scout, are "the only team that brings four guys out of the bullpen throwing 95-mph plus.'' The four are Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, Bobby Howry and Jeff Samardzija.
Home plate ump Ed Rapuano, who's got a pretty good rep, took it too far after calling a strike on a ball that was eight inches outside against Jim Edmonds by throwing out Edmonds for what appeared to be harmless complaining. While players aren't supposed to argue balls and strikes, a little more leeway needs to be shown when an umpire is that far off base.
I've heard a lot of folks say that Evan Longoria is as good a third baseman as there is baseball. But it would take a bit to be as good as Ryan Zimmerman (or Adrian Beltre, Eric Chavez or Mike Lowell, for that matter).
Beltre is said to have chosen to have multiple surgeries. Which I guess is better than hanging around with the Mariners.
The Reds and Nationals seem to be in some sort of weird competition to see who can collect the most utility infielders.
Erik Bedard now will have shoulder surgery, which may bring to a close one of the more disappointing trades in recent memory. The Orioles can't be too unhappy, though, as Adam Jones looked pretty good this year, especially defensively.
Freddy Garcia looked very good beating the Rangers 17-4 in his Tigers debut. He threw around 90 mph. Amazing there wasn't more interest in him.
For all the criticism he gets, Carlos Beltran is putting together another excellent season. How many Gold Glove-caliber center fielders will finish with 25-plus home runs, 100-plus runs and 100-plus RBIs?
Johan Santana, who along with Roy Oswalt are the best second-half pitchers ever, was worth every penny to the Mets. And if you're scoring at home, that's 13.75 billion pennies.
And speaking of Santana, Danny Knobler of CBSsports.com had a note that Ian Kennedy (8.17 ERA in nine starts) and Phil Hughes (7.96 ERA in seven starts) are posting the two worst ERAs in Yankees history for pitchers who started at least seven games. Those are the two pitchers they didn't want to surrender for Santana. At one point, a trade of Hughes, Melky Cabrera, minor-league pitcher Jeff Marquez and a fourth undetermined low-level prospect was almost a deal for Santana.
A tribute to Bobby Murcer, who was as nice a man as you'd ever meet and a legend in the Bronx, will be held at 3 p.m. this afternoon at 157th and River Ave., adjacent to Yankee Stadium. Murcer's likeness, painted by the NYC graffiti artist King Bee, will be unveiled on the side of the Ballpark Lane bowling alley across River Avenue from The Stadium. Likenesses of Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Roger Maris, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig already adorn the bowling alley.