12/18/09

Casey, Kelvim, Clint... and the Puerto Rico Expos

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Casey Stengel:

Stengel is probably more famous for matching up his pitchers against specific rival teams than any other manager in history. Others actually did it more often, but they did not win five consecutive pennants in the process. He platooned his hitters and used many pinch hitters.

LPA: 5.33  -  LPA+: 120

Once in a while I encounter someone who thinks managers have no meaningful impact on teams. (This is especially true when dealing with sabermetric types). These people sometimes use Casey Stengel as an example of how overrated managers are. Stengel experienced unprecedented success with the Yankees, but he struggled in his various National League stints as field general. Stengel’s best season in the NL was a mere 77-75 with the 1938 Braves. If Stengel was such a super-genius, then why could he not achieve more when he was away from the Yankees?

While managers have an impact, the quality of players is much more important. Stengel worked for one great franchise and three utterly dismal squads. The Birnbaum Database gives him a score of +53 runs in Brooklyn and +83 runs with the Braves; rather impressive achievements for such lackluster squads. Stengel had virtually no players to work with in those years. His leading lights were men like Van Mungo and Tony Cuccinello, which is not how clubs win pennants. As a result, Stengel found himself relegated to the Pacific Coast League, where he ran the Oakland Oaks during the 1940s. He had enough success there to land the Yankee job. - waswatching

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-3920-1


Kelvim Escobar:

While the Mets continued to play the waiting game with Jason Bay and Bengie Molina, GM Omar Minaya was busy on another front yesterday -- fortifying the team's bullpen. At the same time the Mets were making official Japanese import Ryota Igarashi's two-year deal for roughly $2 million, Minaya checked in on former Nationals closer Mike MacDougal while continuing to pursue converted ex-Angels starter Kelvim Escobar. Igarashi is expected to be the leading candidate for the role of set-up man to All-Star closer Frankie Rodriguez, but there are other contenders in Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes and Sean Green. - NYP

Mack: Just don't understand this. The one area I thought that was now spot on was the bullpen.



Clint Everts:

Last week, I wrote that the Mets had signed former first-round pick Clint Everts. Omar Minaya was the GM to draft Everts for the Montreal Expos back in ‘02. Today, we learned (via Brian Costa), that it was a major-league deal and he has been added to the 40-man roster. - : theropolitans

Mack: cool beans...  I'm telling you, this is the real deal...


The Puerto Rico Expos

Montreal/Puerto Rico Expos/Washington Nationals

Pros: They finished in last place six times, more than any other team. They had the majors' worst record two years in a row. But to appreciate how truly bad this franchise was, recall that the team began the decade as the Expos in Montreal, where then-owner Jeffrey Loria (hissss!!!) gutted the fan base by not broadcasting their games in English on the radio or on TV in any language. Nice marketing strategy, huh? Then commissioner Bud Selig threatened to contract them. Then the league took them over, in the sort of baseball move rarely seen outside of a movie starring Charlie Sheen. Then baseball had them play 21 of their home games in a stadium more than 2,000 miles from Montreal, essentially forcing them to play 102 games on the road. Then baseball moved them to Washington, where they finished last four times in five years and had their general manager resign amid a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses for Latin players.

Mack: Didn't Omar... err... never mind.

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