The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for August 1st, 2006

Players who won’t be Cavs next season

Posted by disappointmentzone on 1 August 2006

As was reported on this site late last week, free agent Devean George was offered a contract by the Dallas Mavericks but didn’t sign it because he was still looking at other offers. Specifically, the Cavs were interested in George (and so were the Suns). Well, George has agreed to sign a two-year $4.2 million contract with the Mavs.

Meanwhile, another free agent the Cavs are targetingReggie Evanswants to stay in Denver but may not because to sign Evans to much more than a $2 million contract would require going over the luxury tax line, something the Nuggets seem reluctant to do.

If the Cavs don’t sign Gooden–and there is no movement in the negotiations as far as I can tell–Evans is the next best option. If Evans stays in Denver…well, let’s hope the Cavs resign Gooden and, if that doesn’t work out, that Evans follows the money.

In other news, former Cavs benchwarmer Jeri Welsch is (finally) out of the NBA. He’s signed with Spanish team Unicaja. That was a traded first-round draft pick well spent.

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Lineup analysis 8/1

Posted by disappointmentzone on 1 August 2006

Based on July’s performance and tonight’s starting lineup, here is the optimal lineup for this month (without respect to the handedness of the starting pitcher).

Martinez
Inglett
Peralta
Blake
Hafner
Choo*
Sizemore
Michaels
Luna

Hafner is batting below .200 since being moved from cleanup to the three hole early in July. July was the first month this season in which Hafner’s SLG% was below .600. Sizemore saw similar declines in July, although he has improved considerably since getting a game off against the Angles following the All-Star break. Inglett is riding his hot streak, which is bolstered by 48 at bats against right-handed pitchers against five at bat against lefties. Luna had the worst month of all the players.

With respect to the handedness of tonight’s starting pitcher, RHP Jason Johnson, and based on this season’s splits, tonight’s optimal lineup is:

Hafner
Sizemore
Martinez
Blake
Inglett
Choo*
Peralta
Michaels
Luna

Instead, the lineup is as follows:

Sizemore
Michaels
Hafner
Martinez
Blake
Choo
Peralta
Inglett
Luna

There is one glaring problem in the top of the order and that’s Jason Michaels, who is batting only .298/.355 (OBP/SLG) against right-handed pitchers this season. But the actual lineup is still pretty close to optimal: this lineup will produce (on average) only .217 fewer runs per game than the optimal lineup will produce (on average). Simply switching Michaels with Inglett would close that game to only a .052 difference, which, over a 162 game season, is about a 2.7-win increase.

*Choo was given a .275 OBP and .375 SLG% because he doesn’t have enough plate appearances.

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2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers schedule

Posted by disappointmentzone on 1 August 2006

The 2006-07 Cavs schedule has just been released. You can find a copy here. A quick break down:

For those not living with a satellite dish or cable access to Fox Sports Ohio, 33 of the 82 games will be on national television, although this includes games on NBATV (does anybody actually get NBATV as part of their cable package?). For the second consecutive year the Cavs open at home, this time against the Washington Wizards in a rematch of this past season’s first round playoff series. That game, on November 1st, is on ESPN.

In November the Cavs play five playoff teams from last season–Washington (2x), San Antonio, Chicago, Memphis, and Indiana. Non-playoff opponents are: Charlotte, Portland, New York (2x), Toronto, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Minnesota. A favorable month.

In December the schedule gets even easier. The Cavs play Atlanta (2x), Orlando (2x), Charlotte, NO/OK, Toronto, Houston, and Seattle. Playoff teams are Indiana, New Jersey, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The New Jersey game (12/20) and Detroit game (12/21) are on ESPN and TNT, respectively.

January is tough. Playoff opponents: San Antonio, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Sacramento, Phoenix (2x), LA Clippers, and Denver. Of the first seven games only one is against a non-playoff team–Boston–and five of the games are on the road. Filling out the non-playoff opponent list are Seattle, Portland, Golden State (2x), Orlando, and Philadelphia (2x). January also features a seven-game road trip.

February is prime time month, with seven nationally televised games (all on ESPN, TNT, or ABC), three games against LA teams (Lakers twice), and Miami twice, both in prime time. Playoff opponents: Miami (2x), Detroit, LA Clippers, LA Lakers (2x), and Chicago. Non-playoff teams: Charlotte, Utah, Toronto, NO/OK. Another tough month.

March is grind-it-out month, with 16 games in 31 days. Playoff teams: Dallas (2x), Detroit, Milwaukee, Indiana (2x), Sacramento, Memphis, Denver, and Chicago. Non-playoff opponents: Toronto, Houston, Utah, Charlotte, and New York (2x).

April doesn’t get any easier with nine games in 18 days. Playoff teams: Miami, Washington, Detroit, New Jersey, and Milwaukee. Non-playoff opponents: Minnesota, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. The last game is April 18th against the Bucks.

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Platoon means not good enough

Posted by disappointmentzone on 1 August 2006

Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Bud Shaw titled his column today Platoon Just Means Not Good Enough. Shaw finds the Indians’ infield situation “perplexing” with all the different platoons: Casey and Martinez at first, Martinez and Shoppach at catcher, and Luna and Inglett at second. He writes that the Indians, with the Belliard-Luna trade, “added middle infield depth to the organization and overall versatility…But they’re even shorter on players who can hold down one position for multiple games in a row.” He continues: “Mike Hargrove believed regulars were regulars for a very good reason, so his lineup rarely changed”. What manager wouldn’t want that?” I assume Mr. Shaw is referring to managers wanting a roster full of everyday players, not to managers wanting to rarely have to change the lineup. After all, no manager is under dictate to do so. But, yes, having a roster full of everyday catchers and left fielders is nice. But is it necessarily better than a roster full of players who can play only against lefties or righties and never both?

Albert Pujols, if not the best player in baseball, is certainly the best 1B. Yet nearly two months into the season the second best 1B in all of baseball was Benuardo. Pujols is an everyday player. Eduardo Perez and Ben Broussard are not. Yet only the greatest hitter in baseball out-performed the platoon of Perez and Broussard. Certainly Eric Wedge would prefer Pujols to Benuardo; all managers would prefer Pujols to whoever they have manning 1B. But might this not be too high a standard? After all, how many Pujols-type players are there not only in the majors, but also in the history of baseball? Pujols has had the best first six years of any player since Joe DiMaggio. Benuardo wasn’t as good in the field as Pujols to be sure, but Shaw’s argument stems from trading Belliard–a regular player–for Luna, who is, right now, a platoon player. Luna is a better fielder than Belliard. Shaw even admits as much, if not explicitly certainly implicitly, when he says that “[Belliard] played with one foot on the warning track…and made the most of his shortcomings.” What lofty expectations Overcoming one’s shortcomings is impressive and takes courage, but such is not the standard for All-Stars. If I were to overcome my shortcomings as a second baseman I would still be quantifiably worse than Belliard. Overcoming shortcomings is just another term for hustle and grit, not skill and ability. Since Luna is a better fielder (and Inglett is, too), it’s fair to assume that Mr. Shaw’s problem with the platoon is in the offense. Is IgLoo going to match Belliard’s performance at the plate? I don’t know, but the one platoon with a long enough history to approach being comparable to single players–Benuardo–did very well.

The Indians suck this season but it certainly isn’t because of the platoons Wedge has used, whether by design or by lack of everyday players. And I don’t think it’s fair to say that managers should only turn to platoons when all else–everyday players playing everyday–fails, which Mr. Shaw implies. Mr. Shaw writes that Belliard’sdeparture leaves the Indians in need of yet another answer.” Perhaps. But the problems that need to be reconciled aren’t the platoons.

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