Old News: Revisiting Some 2010 Headlines

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:08 AM
  • Written By: Andrew Simon


In Internet time, last year’s headlines might as well be living in a cave, dressed in animal skins and carrying a spear. Time moves quickly, and the recent past is buried under the crushing weight of fresh news.

Out of curiosity, I hopped into my time machine and set out on a dangerous voyage to find those ancient, long-forgotten headlines. My target time: the days surrounding Nov. 16, 2010. My target location: NBC Sports’ HardballTalk, my go-to site for quick takes on the latest news and rumors around Major League Baseball. What follows is the strange bounty of that exploration.

Headline: Royals not willing to “dump” former top prospect Alex Gordon

Result: Kansas City kept Gordon and made him their starting left fielder.

How’d that work out? The Royals, get this, made the right call (cue the marching band and release the balloons!). Gordon broke out, hitting .303/.376/.502 and was worth 5.9 WAR. File this under “sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.”

Headline: Cardinals expected to aggressively pursue Juan Uribe

Result: Uribe signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Dodgers instead, and the Cardinals traded for Ryan Theriot and signed Nick Punto to bolster their infield.

How’d that work out? Compared with Uribe, Theriot and Punto were Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Still, Theriot was pretty bad, and Punto was hurt a lot. At one point, St. Louis’ infield was so thin, Albert Pujols actually played third base, but the team eventually got Punto and David Freese back and traded for Rafael Furcal, and the rest was recent history.

Headline: Athletics interested in Lance Berkman as designated hitter

Result: Berkman signed with the Cardinals instead, and the A’s went with Hideki Matsui.

How’d that work out? Berkman defied critics both by being less than a complete disaster in the outfield and by hitting like the old Puma at the plate (.301/.412/.547) on his way to a ring. With Matsui leading the “charge,” Oakland designated “hitters” “hit” .245/.313/.390. Wrong lottery ticket, Billy!

Headline: Shin-Soo Choo is trying to slug his way out of the army

Result: Choo did in fact lead South Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games, freeing him of his two-year commitment to his country’s armed forces.

How’d that work out? Choo lived happily ever after! Well, actually, this was basically the last good thing that happened to Choo all season. He played only 85 games between multiple DL stints, hit an extremely disappointing .259/.344/.390 and was nabbed for an embarrassing DUI.

Headline: Brad Penny is going to be in the best shape of his life.

Result: “Best shape of his life,” one of the more amusing off-season cliches every year, is sort of subjective, so you can judge for yourself. Here is Brad Penny on April 28, 2011. Sexy!

How’d that work out? Great shape or not, Penny posted probably the worst full season of his career, giving up 11.0 hits per nine innings with a 1.19 K/BB ratio and a 5.02 FIP for the Tigers. Maybe watching TV and eating Doritos is the way to go this offseason.

Headline: The Cardinals will try to lock up Pujols before Christmas

Result: St. Louis signed its franchise player to a relatively team-friendly contract in early December. What’s that? (Puts fingers in ears). Lalalala can’t hear you, lalalala can’t hear you!

How’d that work out? Great!

Headline: Adam Dunn wants at least three years and $40 million

Result: He got it! A couple of weeks later, Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox.

How’d that work out? Rather than throwing out a bunch of stats, I will simply lead you to this visual representation.

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2010 Preview: Cleveland Indians

  • Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:43 PM
  • Written By: Andrew Simon


2009: 65-97, 4th in AL Central. Pythagorean record of 73-89.
Key Additions: 1B Russell Branyan, 2B Anderson Hernandez,
Key Losses: IF Jamey Carroll, C Kelly Shoppach
2010 Projections: PECOTA – 79-83, tied for 2nd in AL Central. CHONE – 81-81, 2nd. CAIRO – 80.8-81.2, 3rd (Wildcard).

Pitching: 2009 – 4.73 FIP (27th in MLB), 4.75 for starters, 4.68 for relievers
2010 – There is very little certainty here. Over the past two years, Jake Westbrook has pitched in five games due to injuries, while Fausto Carmona and Jeremy Sowers have just pitched poorly.
Hitting: 2009 – .333 wOBA (11th in MLB)
2010 – The Tribe is going to have to rely on its bats, and there are some good ones in Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore. But there's also a lot of inexperience, meaning guys like Matt LaPorta, Luis Valbuena and Michael Brantley will need to develop.
Fielding: 2009 – UZR of -33.5 (26th in MLB)
2010 – A full season of a healthy Grady Sizemore in center field would be a big help, but there's just not much of a positive defensive track record with this group.

Reasons to Watch
1. Shin-Soo Choo: All this 27-year-old from South Korea has done since reaching the Majors two years ago is hit. He's got excellent plate discipline, resulting in OBPs of .397 and .394 the past two years, and solid power, with slugging percentages of .549 and .489.
2. The trade haul: Cleveland has dealt away CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Ben Francisco, Victor Martinez, Mark DeRosa and Franklin Gutierrez the past two years, getting players like Matt LaPorta, Luis Valbuena, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez and Carlos Carrasco in return. A lot of these newcomers are going to get the chance to play this year, and Cleveland will need them to produce to get the franchise back on the right track.
3. Travis Hafner: How much does Pronk have left in the tank? He put together three straight incredible offensive seasons from 2004-06 and was solid in 2007 before a terrible and injury-plagued year in 2008. Hafner was better last year but still played only 94 games. If Hafner can stay healthy and hit something like the guy we saw a few years ago, it would be a huge boost for Cleveland.

Paint By Numbers: Jhonny Peralta's .304 wOBA was the 11th-worst mark of any qualified player last season. It didn't help that Peralta hit more than half his balls on the ground, something that generally only works well for speedsters. Peralta also was the 11th-worst regular hitter against the fastball, according to FanGraphs' pitch values. ... After the Indians acquired him in the middle of last season, Chris Perez cut his walks per nine innings from 5.7 to 3.2. That's an important development for a guy who has "closer stuff" and strikes out better than 10 batters per nine innings. ... In Fausto Carmona's breakout 2007 season, he had a 2.25/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 2.97/1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio. Last season, those numbers regressed to 1.13 and 2.04, helping to explain Carmona's ugly 6.32 ERA and 5.36 FIP.

Blog Jog: Let's Go Tribe shares some numbers that matter (or don't) in 2010. ... LGT's Ryan Richards answers five key questions about the Tribe for The Hardball Times. ... Paul Cousineau of The DiaTribe compares the Indians' 2010 starting rotation to the 2004 version. ... Bryan Smith of FanGraphs writes about Cleveland's bold defensive strategy for ESPN.com's Max Info blog.

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