Monday, July 13, 2009

Did Anyone Else Catch This?

Like Matt was yesterday, I was listening to most of Saturday's game on the radio and didn't hear Dick Stockton sneak in a quick little, ahem, plug for Just For Men in the top of the 8th inning.

Dan Levy from On The DL Podcast was kind enough to send this over and he added some more thoughts to go along with an LSU Freek photoshop at the Sporting Blog. As Dan points out, it's pretty funny, given Stockton's cranial adornments and marital status, that he's telling other men to "stay in the game" by dying their hair, but aside from that, I'm not sure how I feel about these types of ads.

You can be sure that networks aren't selling fewer advertisements during breaks because of these spots; they are just finding more ways to wring money out of the broadcast and as the customers in this scenario, we aren't getting anything out of this. It's not exactly obtrusive, but it certainly is pretty contrived.

Has anyone noticed the occasional Listerine ad that pops up during the later innings on the YES network? It is accompanied by a gurgling noise that sounds like someone taking a bong hit, and the banner sits on the screen for a few seconds without so much as an acknowledgement from the broadcasters. Again, it's pretty easy to ignore, but seems out of place.

I don't know how effective these spots can possibly be. I already use Listerine, and won't dye my hair even when I do end up going gray. How many people have been introduced to these products or persuaded to use them by these ads? I mean, literally none? Does is just fall under the hazy purposes of brand building? Anyone in the world of marketing care to weigh in?

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Afternoon Link Round Up

The All-Star break is a lonely time for baseball news. Here are a few links for the afternoon:

Joe Posnanski isn't done lamenting the Royals trade for Yuniesky Betancourt.

Rany Jazayerli weighs in as well. As you might imagine, it's not pretty.

Not surprisingly, Keith Law also thinks this was a bad, bad deal (ESPN Insider required)

We've talked a lot about Joba's attitude, approach, and performance of late. Here's some input from Rob Neyer, Mark Feinsand, and Tyler Kepner.

On Friday, the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter against the Pads. He fell a Juan Uribe error short of a perfect game. He K'd 11, and they say Sanchez' stuff was downright dirty.

As was first rumored when the Nats visited the Yankees last month, Manny Acta was finally canned as Washington's manager. Jim Riggleman takes over as interim manager just as he did in Seattle last year. Acta didn't do too well as the Nats skipper, but I think that's just as much a reflection of the ineptitude of Washington's Front Ofice as it is Acta's managerial skills. I still say Acta will be managing the Mets no later than Opening Day next year.

Former Yankee Tony Clark has been released by the D-Backs.

The Future's Game in St. Louis had a four hour rain delay yesterday. Jesus Montero went 0 for 2 with an RBI. Manny Banuelos did not pitch.

Lessons in Overmanagement: Outfield Edition

As if the three game sweep at the hands of the Angels wasn't bad enough for this Monday morning, via Peter Abraham we get this little nugget of idiocy courtesy of the man who wears his heart on his sleeve and his mission on his back:
"As I told all the outfielders today, we have five guys who are playing pretty good," the manager said before a 5-4 loss against the Angels. "Everyone's going to play. It's all about winning ballgames. We know everyone wants 600 at-bats, but it's probably not going to happen."
Well good golly, Skip. We know you want to win the World Series, but if those are the kinds of managerial decisions you're going to make, it's probably not going to happen. And by the way Joe, you have five outfielders who are playing pretty well, not pretty good. You're Northwestern educated, try to act like it.

Here's a look at the numbers of the five Yankee outfielders, plus Godzilla for good measure:

Damon: .276/.362/.510, OPS+: 127, UZR/150: -15.6 LF
Swisher: .237/.360/.464, OPS+: 115, UZR/150: 1.8 RF
Matsui: .265/.367/.517, OPS+: 130
Gardner: .282/.352/.404, OPS+: 99, UZR/150: 20.1 CF
Cabrera: .285/.347/.439, OPS+: 105, UZR/150: -3.5 CF, 11.2 RF, 3.8 LF
Hinske: .263/.379/.411, OPS+: 121, UZR/150: 2.4 RF

I applauded the Hinske move when it was made, and I still feel he was a good acquisition for the bench. I think the Gardner/Cabrera two headed monster has done a commendable job in CF, producing better than the average AL centerfielder. I know Damon has looked pretty bad in the field, and the numbers bear that out. I realize Swisher is prone to adventurous plays in the field and boneheaded decisions on the bases.

That said, any OF/DH lineup that doesn't include Matsui, Damon, Swisher, and one of either Gardner or Cabrera puts the Yankees at a disadvantage. Matsui, Damon, and Swisher are third, fifth, and eighth on the team in OPS respectively. There is a sizeable gap between the worst of those three and the best of the other three, despite Hinske's good numbers in a small sample size. If it really is "all about winning ballgames", this latest idea probably isn't one to pursue.

I don't have a problem with sitting both Damon and Swisher yesterday given their numbers against Lackey. I'm all for giving Damon and Matsui a day off here and there to keep them fresh. I'm all for sitting Swisher down from time to time if he needs to be sent a message. I'm all for sending in Gardner or Cabrera for defensive purposes in the late innings (although it would appear that it's Damon, not Swisher, who needs substitution). But to enter anything remotely resembling a platoon that's taking regular at bats away from Matsui, Damon, or Swisher is going to have a negative effect on this team's chances of winning.

We've talked in the past about our displeasure with Girardi's overhandling of the bullpen. It looks like his "hands on" strategy will infect the outfield as well. I fear that the infield is next, and I'm only half-sarcastic when I say that. "Listen, I know Jeet's having one of his best seasons in years, but we have to get Cody some at bats".

/bangs head against wall repeatedly

I had hoped that Girardi's hiring meant that the Yankees were getting a cerebral manager, someone who would make informed, intelligent decisions. Despite the team's success this year, with each passing day I'm feeling more and more like that is not the case. This situation will bear watching as the second half unfolds.

Bad Trade Friday

Good morning Fackers. Monday mornings are never fun, especially after a brutal three game sweep. But look on the bright side. It could be worse; you could be a fan of the Mets or the Royals, both of whom made awful, awful trades on Friday.

Friday morning, we touched on some the troubles around the Royals. Things only got worse for them that afternoon, as they traded two minor league pitchers, including their third best prospect, to the Mariners for shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Joe Posnanski already detailed how bad this trade is. Simply put, Betancourt is bad ballplayer. He's bad in the field at a premium defensive position, he's bad on the bases, and he's awful at the plate. His career high in OPS+ is 93, his career average is 84, and this year he's at a career low 63.

The Royals felt they needed a shortstop, because thus far they've sent out Mike Aviles (22 OPS+), Tony Pena Jr. (-35, that's minus 35), Willie Bloomquist (90, with a UZR/150 of -22.9) and Luis Hernandez (19). So, they went out and got Betancourt with his 63 OPS+ and and -18.0 UZR/150. Brilliant work Mr. Moore. This one has sparked headscratching and outrage from all corners of the Royals universe.

Meanwhile, Omar Minaya made a boneheaded move of his own. It's no secret that the Braves were dying to unload Jeff Francouer, who at long last lost his starting job. After an impressive debut in 2005, Frenchy has been on a downward spiral. His OPS+ since that rookie year: 87, 103, 72, 68. His walk rate is currently under 4%. He was demoted to AA last summer. He's an absolute mess.

So Minaya went and traded for him, sending Ryan Church to Atlanta. Church was also a rookie in 2005, posting OPS+ of 118, 131, 114 in his first three seasons, before concussion problems - that were mishandled by the Mets' medical team - dropped him to 106 in limited duty last year. This year, he's only at 88, which by they way is 20 points better than the guy the Mets got in exchange for him.

Of course, Jerry Manuel openly despised Church, so such a move was inevitable, even if Church was the Mets CFer with Carlos Beltran and Fernando Martinez on the DL. I just can't see this one working out well for the Mets. But, umm, at least Frenchy plays a lot of games.

Just for good measure, the Mets signed our old friend Angel Berroa to a minor league deal on Saturday. It was bang up weekend for Minaya.

As July 31st approaches, as we all cringe at another bad appearance from Joba Chamberlain or Andy Pettitte or Brian Bruney, as we salivate over the latest Roy Halladay rumor, pray that Brian Cashman doesn't make a trade like either of the two above.