Murray Chass Doesn’t Read This Blog

Because Murray Chass hates blogs and is not a blogger, no, not now, not ever, even though he has a blog. And even though, like many bloggers, he feels that he should always blog his bad and wrong thoughts all over his blog. Blog blog blog.

Blog.

The article is called “ONE WIN = $2 MILLION,” and it’s all in caps just like every other blog post title on Murray Chass’ blog because putting the title in all caps means it’s REAL JOURNALISM.

The standard started dropping in 2009 when Zack Greinke won the American League Cy Young award with 16 wins and Tim Lincecum won the National League award with 15 wins. It fell even lower last year when Felix Hernandez won the A.L. award with 13 victories.

Looks like someone didn’t read what I wrote about Andy Pettitte.

Now the standard has hit rock bottom. Ross Ohlendorf has won his salary arbitration case despite having won only one game last season.

I’m confused. First you were talking about the standard for the Cy Young Award (wins and nothing else, apparently) and now you’re talking about the standard for baseball arbitration cases (wins and nothing else, apparently). Should we even bother to keep other pitching stats, or just wins and fuck-offs? I say “fuck-offs” because the word “losses” just doesn’t carry enough emotional weight. We need to really make sure that pitchers with no run support and bad bullpens know that they’re totally worthless pieces of shit for not winning.

One victory equals $2,025,000, the three-member panel of arbitrators ruled last week. The $1.4 million salary Pittsburgh submitted wasn’t enough of a raise from the $439,000 salary Ohlendorf earned last year.

I’m pretty sure that’s not what they ruled. I would challenge you to go to the arbitration ruling and find where it says that one win equals $2,025,000.

Nonetheless, it is still a pretty sad moment for a  Pirates organization that just can’t seem to collect too many sad moments.

But times have changed for pitchers. They don’t have to win games any more. Just throw some good-looking statistics out there other than wins, and they can win Cy Young awards and salary arbitration cases. My goodness, even arbitrators have gone over to the dark side.

My goodness, can you believe that people who are employed to determine the financial value of Major League Baseball players use more than one statistic to do it? It’s almost like they’re taking the decision seriously! You better call Han Solo up, ’cause these motherfuckers are building some kind of enormous baseball Death Star!

Pictured: FanGraphs headquarters. Odd spot for the seam, don't you think?

They basically emphasized statistics other than wins and losses, especially the run support the Pirates provided Ohlendorf. In the new age of judging pitchers run support has become a telling factor. That’s why Hernandez won his Cy Young award.

It’s good that you understand that, Murray.

Under this new-age thinking, if a team doesn’t score more than three runs a game, a pitcher isn’t expected to win. No longer is a pitcher expected to win 3-2 or 2-1. If his team doesn’t score at least four runs, it’s not the pitcher’s fault if he doesn’t win.

Never mind, apparently you don’t understand it at all.

It’s well and good if you win 3-2 and 2-1; everyone endorses winning even when your team doesn’t score a lot of runs. But the fact of the matter is that you can be a good pitcher — or, in Ross Ohlendorf’s case, a sort-of-not-terrible pitcher — and still not win a lot of games because you have a bad bullpen or your team doesn’t score a lot of runs. It’s a lot easier to win games  when your team scores runs because as a pitcher, you can’t be perfect all the time. It also helps you win when your team has a bullpen that doesn’t blow games for you and a defense that catches the ball behind you. Are you really arguing against this?

There was once a time when pitchers were expected to win unless their team scored no runs, and then they were expected to tie.

What fucking time was this? This is a made-up time. This time never happened.

There was once a time when pitchers were expected to win unless their team scored no runs, and then they were expected to tie. But those days disappeared with the advent of the quality start, the questionable creation of a Detroit writer, John Lowe, a nice guy but a little off in his thinking.

If a pitcher pitches six innings and gives up three or fewer earned runs he is credited with a quality start. Never mind that three earned runs in six innings computes to a 4.50 earned run average; that’s a quality start.

At least you know that ERA exists. That’s good.

If they had been dealing with at least occasional paycuts, arbitrators this year might have looked at Ohlendorf’s 1-11 record and said don’t give me that nonsense about poor run support and other impressive statistics. Pitchers are paid to win games, and he didn’t win games. He won one game.

No, pitchers are paid to pitch. Teams win games. You’re aware of this, right? Baseball? Team sport? You’ve heard about this, yes?

Roy Halladay led all MLB in complete games last year with nine out of his 33 starts. That’s barely more than a quarter of his starts. Pitchers don’t pitch complete games anymore. That means that even the best starting pitchers control less than half of the outcome of any given baseball game. The rest is up to the offense and bullpen. Wins are not a good pitching stat because wins are not a pitching stat. How fucking complicated is that for you to understand, Chass? Get with the program.

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The Yankees Are Totally Fucked Now

At least, that seems to be Jon Heyman’s thesis here. Okay, I really don’t know what his thesis is. I think it’s that Andy Pettitte is like the Aaron Rodgers of baseball. Not sure. Let’s find out.

Andy Pettitte’s franchise-crushing decision to retire has solidified the Yankees’ place atop our list of winter non-winners (sounds nicer than losers, doesn’t it?), a rare spot for a team that usually heads the winter winners list.

The New York Yankees, a $1.6 billion sports franchise with 523,489,335 championships and its own TV network, have been crushed by Andy Pettitte’s retirement. GROUND INTO POWDER. LAID OUT TO DRY.

Now all they have is Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano and Curtis Granderson. What ever will they do with only ten star players?

They surely wouldn’t even want to imagine things without Rafael Soriano, perhaps the most controversial signing of the winter.

I think Brian Cashman has made it quite clear that he spent the entire winter imagining things without Rafael Soriano.

But thanks to that $35 million outlay for a setup man, against general manager Brian Cashman’s wishes, at least they have a lockdown back-end of the bullpen. And they’re going to need it.

Unlike all the other teams, who don’t need good relief pitchers.

Pettitte will be recalled as one of the most consistent (he’s the only pitcher ever to throw in at least 16 seasons without a losing year)

Wins and losses are definitely the best way to judge pitchers. That record couldn’t possibly have anything to do with pitching 13 seasons for the team with the highest payroll in professional sports buying every single free-agent superstar hitter. That can’t possibly be relevant.

Andy Pettitte’s ERA by year: 4.17, 3.87, 2.88, 4.24, 4.70, 4.35, 3.99, 3.27, 4.02, 3.90, 2.39, 4.20, 4.05, 4.54, 4.16, 3.28

I’ve never seen such consistent mediocrity! Let’s get this fucker in the Hall of Fame!

and clutch (his 19 postseason victories are a record) pitchers ever.

Literally the only pitching stat that Jon Heyman uses in this entire article is wins.

Things that may help you win 19 postseason games:

  • Starting 42 postseason games
  • Being on the team with the highest payroll and all the best hitters

Things that may not help you win 19 postseason games:

  • Being “clutch”

Things that may not help you win 19 postseason games unless you’re on the Yankees:

  • Giving up 271 hits in 263 postseason innings
  • Having a career postseason ERA of 3.83 and WHIP of 1.30

Pettitte’s postseason numbers are almost exactly the same as his regular-season numbers. He wasn’t clutch in the postseason. He was just himself: a decent starting pitcher with occasional flashes of brilliance playing on a series of great teams. That is to say, a Yankee legend.

He will also be remembered, at least in the near-term, as the man who left the Yankees with a rotation that is extremely questionable beyond ace CC Sabathia and up-and-comer Phil Hughes.

Because he wasn’t just a pretty good pitcher; he was also secretly the general manager, lurking in the shadows and constructing a rotation that relies heavily on soon-to-be-39-year-old Andy Pettitte, only to crush the Yankees franchise with his retirement. Sneaky bastard.

Kevin Millwood is the only viable name left on the free-agent market. He’s certainly a consideration, a solid veteran with a decent track record within the division despite a 4-16 record with Baltimore last year, when a groin injury plagued him.

You know what else has plagued Kevin Millwood? Sucking.

Millwood’s track record within the division:

  • Red Sox: 4.05 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
  • Rays: 5.03 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
  • Blue Jays: 5.17 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
  • Orioles: 3.74 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
  • Yankees: 5.12 ERA, 1.64 WHIP

If you need someone to beat the Orioles and no one else, he’s your guy!

The sad thing is that Millwood’s career numbers are very comparable to Pettitte’s, especially before last season. Too bad he didn’t have the Yankees’ lineup behind him almost his entire career.

As for where the current Yankees may be headed, if they don’t improve their starting pitching situation, some wonder if their usual October trip will be scrapped.

Yeah, all they have is a stacked lineup, two top-flight starters, about five credible-looking starting pitching prospects coming through their system, and the best one-two bullpen combo in baseball. What ever will they do?