A magic cornucopia

Posted by Steve

FYI, this cornucopia is magic because it can survive an arctic chill.  Let’s get to it…

The day the Brewers signed Trevor Hoffman, one of the local news stations played a clip of an interview with Bill Schroeder.  Schroeder said that Hoffman has “the best changeup in baseball, no ifs ands or buts about it.”  Holy overstatement Batman!  I fully acknowledge that Hoffman has become known for his great changeup–it’s certainly one of the best in the game.  Thing is, the best pitcher in the world–Johan Santana–also has an incredible changeup.  And we just saw Cole Hamels shred his way through the playoffs with a ridonkulous changeup of his own.  Hoffman’s is great as well, but to say his is undoubtedly the best is just homerism.

Do you think Bill would have said that if the Brewers hadn’t just signed him?  Just think of how many times we’ll hear some variation of “the best changeup in baseball” this season (Dan guessed 75).  I’m sure that won’t get old.

I have to admit though, this interview is getting me geared up for 2009.  I can’t wait for Bill’s first scouting report of the season.

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The 538th Piece of Evidence that I Spend Too Much Time on Baseball:  While on brewerfan the other day, I happened to notice my post count.  I’ll be reaching 5,000 posts in the next day or so.  I remember stumbling upon brewerfan.net early in college and being amazed by its awesomeness.  I lurked there for months before I finally got the guts to create an account, and now I have 5,000 posts.  Yikes. Best site out there, and I’m totally serious (I think this sentence was the 539th piece of evidence).

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Speaking of brewerfan, there’s a pretty spirited discussion on a trade rumor reported a few days ago by Tom Haudricourt: Mike Cameron for Nick Swisher.  If this sounds familiar to you, it might be because I suggested this about a month ago ;).

It’s hard to tell from that article how much interest Melvin may have in Swisher.  Brewerfan seems to be split pretty evenly, but I’m definitely in favor of it.  Many are opposed to the idea of trading Cameron for a player who had a .219 batting average last season–sure when you put it that way, anyone would be opposed to that.  But when you look at the rest of his career, 2008 screams ‘fluke year.’  Here’s one good article that explains why Swisher will most likely rebound next season.  How bizarre that he had by far the lowest BABIP in a year that he hit more line drives than ever?  Oh, the ever-overlooked factor of luck in baseball.

In a vacuum, Cameron is likely to be the more valuable player in 2009.  Swisher may be a little better offensively, but Cameron’s great CF defense tips the scale in his favor.  Outside the vacuum, there are other factors at play that make Swisher a better option for the Brewers.

  • Swisher will make $5 million this season.  Cameron will make $10 million.  Five mil is a good chunk of change that could be used to help the team elsewhere.
  • Swisher takes more pitches than just about anybody.  Despite his .219 batting average, his on-base percentage was .332–higher than the Brewers’ team OBP of .325 in 2008 (ouch).  His OBP was .381 in 2007 and .372 in 2006.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him approach this numbers in 2009 considering his bad luck in 2008.
  • Swisher is a switch hitter, and the Brewers are quite right-handed heavy.
  • Cameron would likely be better in 2009, but he’s a free agent after that.  Swisher is under contract through 2011 with a team option for 2012.  Some have used this as a reason not to acquire Swisher–he’ll make 8.5 mil in ’09 and ’10–but if his luck evens out his numbers will revert back to his career norms and he’ll be well worth the money.  Plus, if you go with Cameron in 2009, you’d need to be spending at least most of that 8.5 mil to replace him in 2010 in all likelihood.
  • Swisher gives the Brewers flexibility if they decide to trade Prince Fielder at some point.
  • I don’t think the defensive hit the Brewers would take would be quite as bad as some think.  In all likelihood, Corey Hart would move to center and Swisher would start in right.  Swisher is a better right fielder than Hart, so much of the defense lost by going from Cameron to Hart in center would be made up by going from Hart to Swisher in right.  Obviously, Swisher is a better first baseman than Fielder as well if the Brewers ever ended up playing him there.

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Another idea I’ve been supporting has been suggested by Ken Rosenthal: The Sign Adam Dunn-Trade Prince Fielder Idea.  I believe I’ve discussed the benefits in detail a few times, but I just thought it was interesting that it was suggested at a national level.

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2 responses to “A magic cornucopia

  1. Dirty 30!

    The number of times I’ll hear Bill say Hoffman has the best change up in the game on television this year: zero.

    The number of times I’ll hear Burt Blyleven talk about the grittiness of Nick Punto on television this year: 538.

    The number of times I’ll watch the clip of Burt Blyleven dropping the f-bomb on live television this year: 271

  2. Awesome. On a related note, the number of times Bert Blyleven has now been screwed out of a HOF spot: 12.

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