View From The Bleachers

November 15, 2012

Morning News: Cy Young Awards and Marlins Fire Sale

Filed under: Featured,General — Noah Eisner @ 7:00 am

Cy Young Awards- The Cy Young Award winners were announced on Wednesday, with David Price winning in the AL and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey nabbing the award in the NL.  Both of these guys were very, very good pitchers this year, although I’d argue that both of the 2011 award winners, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, should have repeated. Sweet Spot guru David Schoenfield posted an excellent piece on ESPN.com regarding why Verlander should have won.

The short version is that Price beat Verlander because Price’s win-loss record, which is not a strong indicator of how good a pitcher is or is not, was 20-5 while Verlander’s record was 17-8. Verlander pitched 27 more innings and had the better strikeout and walk rates.  However, Price had an excellent season in his own right, so you can’t spite him the award, although I can be annoyed that more attention was paid to win-loss record than statistics that are more indicative of success.

Dickey and Kershaw were in a similar situation. Dickey had a great season, Kershaw’s was slightly better. But Dickey had the incredible narrative. A former fireballing top prospect, Dickey has found his greatest Major League success in his mid to late 30s as a knuckleballer. And this season Dickey put up previously unheard of strikeout rates by a knuckleballer.

Despite the fact that they would not have been my first choices, kudos to both Price and Dickey, who had great years on the mound

The Marlins Fire Sale- The Marlins have been heavily criticized in the past 24 hours, and I generally see why. First, Jeffrey Loria has a long history of cost cutting moves like these. Second, the Marlins have an even longer history of it. Third, Loria made promises to Miami that he would run the franchise differently upon receiving a sweetheart deal for public financing of the Marlins’ new stadium, even by the standards of the sweet public financing deals most teams are getting for building new stadiums.

I do think, however, one element is left out of this story: the Marlins generally spent stupidly last offseason. Jose Reyes’ deal could be a good one if he stays anywhere near healthy, but that’s not a strong bet. And if his legs go, his value could fall through the floor. I like Buehrle and advocated the Cubs trying to sign him last offseason, but the Marlins significantly overpaid him. And the Heath Bell signing was just stupidity.

Let’s say the Marlins hadn’t traded anyone over the last 12 months. Let’s say they still had Anibal Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and everyone they just traded away to Toronto. Where would you predict the Marlins would have finished in the NL East in 2013? My prediction would be fourth.

This isn’t to say that the Marlins shouldn’t be criticized. But, just as much as they should be criticized for the fire sale, they should be criticized for spending stupidly on a $100 million team that needed far too much to go right in 2012 to legitimately expect to compete.

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Noah Eisner is a Chicago attorney living in the western suburbs with his wife and son (and impending daughter). When he isn’t practicing law or entertaining a toddler, Noah follows Cubs baseball with a focus on the farm system and sabermetric analysis. His Cubs-related ramblings can be followed on Twitter @Noah_Eisner.

  • FourFeathers

    David Price absolutely should have won the American League Cy Young over Justin Verlander.  Frankly I don’t even think it is debatable.  

    Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in all of baseball when healthy.   Period.  Better than Verlander.   Better than Price.   Better than CC, Hamels, Halladay, King Felix, Cain, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Sale…   That said, I don’t have a problem with RA Dickey winning this year.   It’s hard to argue with his case.    

  • Chuck

    The Marlins situation is Exhibit A on why taxpayer-funded stadiums is the biggest ripoff there is.  Aside from the moral dilemma here (I have a real problem with the taxpayers being forced to subsidize the uber-wealthy as they upgrade their toys.  It makes me sick.  Yet another example of how the government has been subverted to serve the people who need it the least at the expense of those who need it the most.) it has been consistently been proven that upgrading sports arenas is about the poorest investment there is for a city/county.  If I was the mayor/governor/whatever I would only support providing funds if the city/county/whatever was given an ownership stake in the team in exchange for the funds.  Otherwise they could go pound sand.
    If I were the mayor/governor/whatever I would have the police under my jurisdiction arrest Loria for fraud and have him spend some time in holding with other less savory people.  If Loria made public statements in front of a Board or Commission, that is his testimony and I believe he can be held accountable for it.  Any lawyer out there want to chime in? 

  • Noah_I

    Chuck, I actually happen to be an attorney.  Unless Florida’s laws are vastly different than the rest of the country, it’s just not fraud, especially not criminal fraud.  Even trying to sue Loria for the cash, they’d lose.  They’d have to prove, first, that what Loria did is a fraudulent action, which would be incredibly difficult in its own right.  Then they’d have to prove that Loria had fraudulent intent when he made the statements, which would for all practical purposes be impossible.  If they arrested Loria, he’d sue the city for violations of his due process rights, false imprisonment, etc., for a gazillion dollars (gazillion is a precise legal term, by the way).  And Loria would probably win.  

    With that said, I completely agree with your general point on publicly funded stadiums.  Although I wouldn’t say so much it’s government subverting the will of the people, etc.  I’d say its much more ignorance (of the economics of the issue) and fear (of being blamed for a team leaving), they are always a bad deal for the community.  As much of a Cubs fan as I am, I hope Rahm and Pat force the Ricketts to pay for the Wrigley renovations on their own. 

  • Doc Raker

    Tax payer funded stadiums- think about it, the working class paying for a stadium in which billionaires and millionaires will use to make money off the working class all orchestrated by big government. A complete perversion of governments roll where they pick a favored constituency, the club owners and players, over the unfavored, the tax payer footing the bill, in order to create more tax revenue for bigger government so they can continue their costly inefficient redistribution programs or whatever else fits their fancy. If the government was interested in protecting the peoples rights like the US Constitution intends, particularly property rights tax payer funded stadiums would never even be a thought. Tax payer funded stadiums is just another travesty our government has come to.

  • BLPCB

    The Marlins Stadium is one of the worst taxpayer funded deals. It will cost Miami 2.5 billion dollars to pay off, including a 91M loan that will cost $1.2 billion. Loria is a con artist and should be kicked out of MLB forever, and forced to sell the Marlins. But fans don’t care either. When I went for teh Cubs-Marlins series in April, I was getting tickets for 5 bucks on stubhub. If there is any way, the city and county ought to look into forcing Loria to pay some more for this. He’s unloaded 200M of contracts, make him pay that to defray the costs of the stadium.

  • BLPCB

    As for the Cubs, as far as I understand, Ricketts is asking for tax money out of a fund that he pays taxes to, through the amusement taxes on tickets, the same fund other Chicago teams get money from.

  • Norm Bothwell

     I like Price because he faced better competition in the AL East.
    Jered Weaver getting two 2nd place votes over Verlander (both voters being from LA, of course) is laughable.

    But Price vs. Verlander is definitely debatable. Neither was obviously better than the other.

    The NL was a toss up, IMO. I think Kershaw is the best in the game right now, but it could have went to him, Dickey, Cueto…

  • Chuck

    I, personally, have given testimony before zoning boards and other such commissions in support of projects that my company was undertaking and I always thought that what I was saying was subject to legal recourse (either against my project or me personally) if I was caught telling blatant lies.  Not that i would act any other way.  I have personal integrity and a conscience.
    There are other ways for a local government to make his life more difficult such as speed traps, various inspectors, all of the sudden there is a lot of construction around the stadium so people can’t get in or out, etc…  

  • FourFeathers

    Quite simply, Jeffrey Loria needs to be removed as owner of a MLB team.  He has left a trail of wreckage for years, to include in Montreal.   Bud Selig needs to act like a real baseball commissioner and preside over Loria’s ouster from the game.   Remember the Ted Stepian rules they had in the NBA for the wretched owner of the Clippers?   Well baseball needs Jeff Loria rules. 

    Taxpayer funded stadiums are always a bad deal for the taxpayer.   We are asked to build palaces and money making machine for fat cat professional sports teams.   It’s crazy.  Hence why I have zero point zero sympathy for the Ricketts family.   The can definitely privately fund reconstruction of Wrigley.  Either that or they can go build a brand new baseball stadium in Arlington Heights at the racetrack.  But why on earth should the state of Illinois help the Ricketts?   This state is 16 BILLION dollars in debt and businesses are leaving this state on a routine basis because of uncompetitiveness.   Let Ricketts pay for his own damned stadium.   He can partner with private business to co-fund construction if he has to.

  • Seymour Butts

    Sorry to hear that you are an attorney, I had thought highly of you before, but it could be that you are part of the 1% that is given a bad name by the other 99%.
    One possible way to look at stadium financing is that it is simply the cost of owning something that you would otherwise not have. Let’s take a pair of new jet ski’s for example, acquisition cost could be 25K and you only use it 4 weekends a summer. No way it makes financial sense, but if you don’t buy, you don’t play.
    If an owner actually moves a franchise when a city fails to build an arena, the city loses that toy. It happened in Seattle with the Sonics-now- Thunder. Sometimes economics are not the overriding reason to act.

  • Chuck

    If the fund was specifically set up to provide financing for sports teams and the money is not coming from the general fund, I have no problem with it.  The people that use the facilities will pay for it.  That is fine.

  • BLPCB

    There is some sports commission in IL, that’s how teh trash got their stadium when Reinsdorf said he would move them to Tampa. I can only imagine it goes there because why else do we pay an amusement tax on our tickets as opposed to the regular sales tax we pay on other goods?

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