MLB’s Winter Meetings are currently going on and nearly every baseball mind in the country is in and around the Bellagio in Vegas for the next few days.
An Milwaukee writer, Tom Haudricourt, was overheard saying that he’s looking forward to the Yankees signing both of Milwaukee’s free agent pitchers, CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets because then the Breweres would “get both the Yankees first round picks”.
And that is why there are only a select few baseball writers that I bother to read anymore. Let me explain. Free agents are classified into two levels based on their production the past two years. Type A or Type B. Although I don’t exactly get how these ratings are handed out, that’s how it is.
If a Type A free agent is offered arbitration and signs with another team, then the original team gets the new teams first round draft pick and a sandwich-round pick. If this happens with a Type B, then all the original team gets is the sandwich pick.
CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets (even though Sheets didn’t hit 200 IP the past two seasons) are Type A free agents. So the Milwaukee writer assumed that if the Yankees signed both players, the Brewers would get both of the Yankees picks.
The draft order is set in reverse order of the previous season’s standings, meaning teams only get one first round pick. If a team fails to sign it’s first round pick then it gets a compensation pick in the same place the next year. And this is the case with the Yankees. However, the compensation pick is protected and can’t be lost due to a free agent signing.
You’d think a major league beat writer would know simple things about the game he’s covering.
UPDATE 8:29 – Just added the guy’s name as he was identified. The name sounded familiar, so I googled him. Turns out, Haudricourt is the same guy that submitted NL MVP ballot about a month ago.
He had Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard as his MVP and ranked eventual winner Albert Pujols seventh on his ballot. He covers the Brewers and had three Brewers in his top 10, two ahead of Pujols.
Haudricourt says he “credits players for lifting their teams to the post-season or at least keeping them in the race until the very end.”
The very end part is probably why he voted Carlos Delgado three spaces ahead of Pujols. The Mets finished a game out of the wild card and the Cardinals only finished 4 games out of the wild card. Not too much of a difference. The Cardinals weren’t eliminated mathematically until the last week of the season.
Pujols’ numbers in the “stretch run” were also much more impressive than Delgado’s:
Delgado: .308-.392-.626, 47 XBH, 80 RBI (38.2 VORP*)
Pujols: .356-.444-.664, 50 XBH, 73 RBI (98.7 VORP)
Advantage, Pujols, not even taking into account Pujols’ extreme advantage on defense.
My point is that I have no idea how this clown got a job covering baseball. He obviously has no clue about the game apart from what he might happen upon on ESPN or something. Maybe this guy played a part in CC Sabathia’s decision to become a Yankee, and if that’s the case I’m glad this blatantly biased writer continues to apply his trade.
*VORP stands for Value Over Replacement Player and demonstrates how much a hitter contributes offensively or how much a pitcher contributes to his team in comparison to a fictitious “replacement player,” who is an average fielder at his position and a below average hitter