Tag Archives: Jim Edmonds

Edmonds trade

Posted by Steve

It may have come later than expected, but we finally have a trade to analyze. The Brewers dealt Jim Edmonds to the Reds for outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Edmonds was the most likely player to be traded out of any Brewer this season. He was on a one-year deal and performed well in a platoon role. At 40 years old, it makes sense to send him to a contender rather than have him (possibly) finish up his career on a bad team. Plus, the Brewers are thankfully committing to playing Lorenzo Cain in center for the rest of the season. There was no reason for them to play Edmonds over Cain at this point.

As far as the trade itself, I’m very pleased with the return. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t be impressed by it, actually. They turned a non-roster Spring Training invite into a Major League outfielder with four remaining years of team control. I’m very surprised the Reds gave up a major-league ready player; I assumed the Brewers would have to take a flyer on some low-level prospect. Dickerson is a talented outfielder who plays all three outfield positions well. He’s a defensive upgrade to Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, and he’s an offensive upgrade to Carlos Gomez. He doesn’t have a ton of pop in his bat, but in parts of three seasons, Dickerson has a .367 on-base percentage. His ability to get on base could allow the Brewers to move Rickie Weeks down in the lineup to a run-producing spot after Prince Fielder is dealt this off-season.

A few random thoughts on this deal: It’s interesting to note that the Brewers seem to have gotten a better return for a 40-year old Jim Edmonds than they did for J.J. Hardy last year. I also chuckle at the thought of Dusty Baker considering Dickerson expendable because he doesn’t value walks. Finally, this trade reminds me very much of the one for Jody Gerut last season. Gerut could have been described in the same way as Dickerson: an outfielder with on-base skills but not much power who can play all three outfield positions. Gerut, to my surprise, has not worked out–I’m guessing his time in Milwaukee has run out. I expect Dickerson to have more success.

This gives the Brewers plenty of options for next season. I’d like to see Lorenzo Cain given every opportunity to be the full time center fielder. Unlike Alcides Escobar or Carlos Gomez, Cain has actually earned that opportunity by hitting in the minors. Gomez has a minor league option left; he should be sent to AAA to play full time. Maybe he’ll actually hit. If not, let him go or just settle on him as a fifth outfielder. An outfield of Braun, Hart, Cain, Dickerson, and Gomez sounds good to me. Dickerson can spell any of the three starters against tough righties. He would also be a good candidate for a semi-regular platoon outfielder should the Brewers choose to move Hart or even Braun to first base.

As far as remaining waiver deals, I would not be surprised to see Craig Counsell traded soon. Like Edmonds, at his advanced age, Counsell has no purpose on a team that’s going nowhere. He has value to a contending team as a utility infielder, and the Brewers should get whatever they can for him.

Let’s Talk Lineups

Posted by Steve

After seeing Carlos Gomez hit in the second spot for the first three games, it’s pretty safe to say he’s Ken Macha’s two-hitter for the foreseeable future. To put it bluntly, that’s a bad idea.

To explain why, I defer to The Book by Tango, Lichtman, and Dolphin. They have a great chapter on batting orders, which they back up with years of evidence. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Your two best hitters should hit second and fourth, with the bigger slugger hitting cleanup.
  • Strikeout numbers or the “ability to move runners over” (ugh) should not be considered.
  • The number three hitter should actually be a lesser hitter than the 1, 2, or 4 hitters. This is because the number three hitter comes up in lower leverage situations more often than the 1, 2, or 4 spots–for example, with two outs and nobody on base.
  • The second leadoff theory–hitting the pitcher eighth–gains you a handful of runs over the course of a season.

The one that should jump out to you is that the number two hitter should be your best or second best hitter in the lineup. Instead, the Brewers hit Carlos Gomez there! You’ll even notice on that page for The Book, they say, “If nothing else, we will consider this book a true success if all thirty teams were to never put a below-average hitter in the second spot. While the proper strategy will only gain you a few runs, why do something that is otherwise clearly wrong?”

Applying this theory to the Brewers lineup using CHONE projections, a near optimal lineup looks something like this (projected OBP and SLG in parentheses)

  1. Rickie Weeks (.368, .449)
  2. Ryan Braun (.372, .568)
  3. Casey McGehee (.326, .412) Mat Gamel’s projections were better
  4. Prince Fielder (.387, .577)
  5. Corey Hart (.333, .456)
  6. Alcides Escobar (.334, .389)
  7. Gregg Zaun (.332, .368) Jonathan Lucroy’s projections were better.
  8. Pitcher
  9. Carlos Gomez (.329, .390) Jody Gerut’s projections were better

A few things jump out from that. First: CHONE thinks the Brewers have only three above average hitters on their team. That’s obviously concerning.

Second: CHONE thinks the Brewers have three players within the organization who are better offensively than current starters (yes Gamel’s hurt, but he wasn’t going to win the job anyway). That’s also concerning.

Third: that is a pretty wacky-looking lineup. I don’t recall anyone suggesting Braun and Fielder be broken up in the lineup, but that’s exactly what The Book suggests. People seem to groan whenever the Brewers hit the pitcher eighth, but I’ve always been in support of it.

I know I’ve discussed lineup optimization in the past, and I admitted that for the fairly negligible difference they make (maybe a win or so over the course of a season), the strong response/backlash they would receive may not even be worth it. But that statement was made when lineups were fairly close to optimal. The current lineup Macha is using is so far from optimal that it would likely cost the Brewers more than two wins if he used it all season.

A perfect “real-life” application of this was seen in yesterday’s game. With nobody out, Rickie Weeks stood on second base and Carlos Gomez was up to bat. With the leadoff hitter on second, that is normally a great RBI opportunity for what should be one of your best hitters. Instead, Macha had Gomez sac bunt the runner to third! Terrible move regardless of who was hitting–that move lowers the run expectancy for the inning–but the sac bunt was only a viable option in Macha’s mind because he was hitting Gomez second. If Ryan Braun was up in that spot, do you think he’d have been bunting?

Since The Book’s lineup will never fly, I’m willing to make a compromise. Here’s my suggestion of a happy medium between Macha’s lineup and The Book’s lineup:

Against Righties

  1. Weeks
  2. Edmonds
  3. Braun
  4. Fielder
  5. McGehee
  6. Escobar
  7. Zaun
  8. Pitcher
  9. Gomez

Against Lefties

  1. Weeks
  2. Hart
  3. Braun
  4. Fielder
  5. McGehee
  6. Escobar
  7. Zaun
  8. Pitcher
  9. Gomez

Of course, if I had my druthers, Gerut would be getting a good chunk of Gomez’s playing time, but I chose to go with who the Brewers have decided are their starters. I’m not a huge Edmonds fan, but he still shows nice on-base skills and is likely to have a higher OBP than Gomez. Hart’s on-base skills have been pretty bad the last couple years, but against lefties his career OBP is a solid .357.

I admit that I can at least see what the Brewers liked in Carlos Gomez. He’s carried the “potential” tag with him for years, and he showed why on Monday. There’s still hope that he could become a good offensive player, but the point is, at this point in his career all he’s been is a below average hitter. There’s no reason to hit him in one of the most important spots in the lineup until he has proven he can hit.

Gross

Posted by Steve

In a nauseating move, the Brewers have apparently signed Jim Edmonds to a minor league deal with a chance to make the team in Spring Training.  In terms of a baseball move, it’s low-risk and can’t really hurt.  The Brewers do need left-handed bats, though it’s hard to guess how effective Edmonds will be–he sat out all of last season, remember

In terms of my annoyance, it’s not nearly as good of a move.  I can’t stand Jim Edmonds.  His body language has always oozed of arrogance.  He WAS a good defensive outfielder back in the day, but he’s the king of slowing up on a ball so he can dive or slide to catch it.  I loved hating this guy when he was with the Cardinals, and I was entirely amused when the Cubs signed him after he played for their hated rivals for so long.  That is, until I went to that game in 2008 when Edmonds hit the grand slam off Dave Bush to complete the sweep of Milwaukee.  So there’s another reason I can’t stand Edmonds.

Eh, whatever.  It can’t be worse than the few week period in which they had Julian Tavarez.