March 09, 2005

Montgomery defends team's choices

Phillies President and CEO Dave Montgomery fielded questions on Comcast Sportsnet's Daily News Live yesterday.

This much is painfully clear in hearing Montgomery defend his team's choices, and it's something many of us have assumed for years.

In valuing players and signing deals, the Phillies are very impressed by shallow stats like batting average and saves, and very impressed when players make an all-star team.

He used both achievements in defending catcher Mike Lieberthal, in particular, Lieby's 2003 season in which he hit .313. But in reality, his production that year wasn't much different than in other years, including last year when he was dogged by fans and media for not hitting with runners on base.

2002 RC: 70
2003 RC: 83
2004 RC: 68

There's no question leaving men stranded time and again, as Lieberthal does, beats the fight out of a team. While expectations of how a catcher should perform offensively are sometimes overblown, nothing is more overrated than all-star game appearances, which, for some ungodly reason, mean a lot to the Phillies.

The defining deal of the Ed Wade era is the 2003 deadline move that brought two-time Pirate all-star Mike Williams back to Philadelphia.

Remember, the Phillies were in the driver's seat for the final playoff spot that year, but needed help badly in the pen. They get Williams a few weeks before the deadline, an all-star that year because the Pirates are fielding bush leaguers. He's got a lot of saves, 25, but who cares, especially when your ERA is 6.27, with 22 walks and 20 Ks. We all know the end of that story. The Marlins made fairly quiet deadline deals for closer Ugueth Urbina and utilityman Jeff Conine, stole the wild card from under the Phils noses, and both new acquisitions contributed mightily to their championship finish.

And what happened to all-star Williams? 2003 was his last; he's no longer in baseball.
*RC: Runs Created A runs estimator created by Bill James. A runs estimator attempts to quantify the entire contribution of a player's statistics to a team's total runs scored. It typically involves some positive value for things like hits, walks, steals, home runs, etc. and negative values for outs, caught stealing and GIDP.


At 5:54 PM, Blogger el123chico said...

liebie's RC may have been low, but with a .313 BA, perhaps the onus should have been on the players hitting behind him as well to knock him in.

batting average is not a useless stat. i only consider stats that i cannot compute myself to be useless. i can compute batting average.


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