Tag Archives: Hong-Chih Kuo

I’m OK, You’re OK, Kuo’s OK

I feel like sometimes I’m a therapist on here. Don’t worry about this, don’t throw around blame, etc. Like I’m an advisor to fans who read this.

There are logical explanations to some problems, and to those problems, sometimes logical solutions.

The Dodgers were out of contention after this past week. It’s hard to argue about wins and losses right now. So when Hong-Chih Kuo was brought in for a two-inning save tonight and the Dodgers lost when Octavio Dotel gave up a ground ball single, well, it was the point at which fans threw up their hands and laughed.

But it’s absolutely the right time to be talking about player development.

I’m not gonna talk about mindset or anything. Like I said last week, talking about mindsets is stupid for casual observers. But Kuo wasn’t too abused tonight. He made 28 pitches

Kuo was also very good tonight. He only gave up two weak hits which could’ve been outs and had four swinging strikes. Torre kept his promise and didn’t use Jonathan Broxton in a save situation. Dotel was put in because, well, who gives a shit. He’s a warm body. He can throw pitches, sometimes for strikes.

It was a relieving outing because finally, there’s no reason to aim for a win.

I think it’ll be more fun later in the year when the Dodgers get a chance to affect the playoffs for other teams, but it really is this simple: there’s no point in winning right now other than for ego’s sake.


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The Joe Torre Theorem

Jonathan Broxton didn’t have a bad outing on Sunday. Looking back on his PitchF/X from yesterday vs. previous outings, it looks like Broxton’s stuff was working just fine. His fastball peaked at 100 mph and The zone was tight (five called balls were on the outer edges of the zone) and no batters swung at Broxton’s fastball up and in. Frankly, Brox had a great outing, the Cardinals were just hitting him (and also Andre Ethier couldn’t catch a deep fly ball).

And look, Broxton’s fastball was back up to 100!! That’s great news!

On Twitter, I made a few complaints that weren’t accurate, but suffice to say that Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness and Memories of Kevin Malone said it best: if you’re gonna be mad about Sunday’s game, be mad at Broxton for that performance, but know he’s been good all season. There’s no reason to circle the wagons and there’s nobody in that bullpen that could replace his production.

Know that any attacks on Broxton’s “choking” are impotent because no one but Broxton, and maybe a few people in the dugout, really knows what’s going on in Broxton’s head. On top of that, Broxton’s had several one-run saves earlier this season and gave up no hits or walks.

With no further ado, here’s the Joe Torre Theorem. As better-than-replacement pitchers in the bullpen approaches zero, bullpen ERA approaches infinity.

Joe Torre Theorem
Where Y-axis is ERA and X is the number of bullpen relievers above average.

The team most affected by this right now is the Diamondbacks, whose team ERA was above 6 at one point this season, but now the question is posed to the Dodgers. So far, the team has seen Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill and Cory Wade fall in effectiveness. All were above-average relievers and all are doing terribly today. As Broxton’s effectiveness wanes, only one reliever is above average: Hong Chih Kuo. Right now, the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA is at 3.85, where do you think it’ll be at the end of the season?

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Looking Back on the Sherrill-Bell 2009 Deadline Trade

Jordan at OrioleProspects.com and I have been sharing thoughts on the 2009 trade deadline trade between the Dodgers and Orioles that sent George Sherrill to Los Angeles for prospects Josh Bell and Steven Johnson.

Here are my thoughts.  You can read his thoughts here.

Outcome Bias.  It’s a real thing.  It happens all the time.  Your perspective of something changes because of the end result.  Player A, who is not good, is traded for Player B, who is bad.  Player B performs inexplicably well and Player A continues to perform not good.  The fans of Player B’s new team gloat about the trade and the fans of Player A’s new team scowl and curse the trade and all management involved.

Thoughts at the time of the trade

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Dodgers avoid arb. with all of their eligibles

Maybe it’s time to give some credit to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.

The Dodgers’ situation this off-season has so far been the most interesting, what with the McCourts’ divorce and the team’s inability to spend money as a result.  However, Ned Colletti and company have been creative.  Kicking Juan Pierre to the White Sox in exchange for paying some of his contract and getting a genuine relief prospect out of it was … I want to say impressive, but I get the feeling Colletti stumbled into that one, so I’ll say lucky.  Then last week, the Dodgers came to agreements with key 2009 players Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley.  Colletti and company then avoided arbitration with almost all of their young talent: Kuo, Loney and Sherrill.

And today, Andre Ethier agreed to a two-year deal, pending a physical, according to Ken Gurnick.

Baseball Prospectus’ Jay Jaffe reports (via Cots Contracts) that they’ll be free of a lot of money as of 2010 and almost all contracts by 2011.

[Kemp’s 2011] deal more or less represents the Dodgers’ strongest acknowledgment to date that the world will not end after the coming season, which should come as a relief to anxious fans. According to the data at Cot’s Baseball Contracts (h/t new colleague Jeff Euston), the team has just four players under contract after this year: Kemp, Rafael Furcal ($12 million), Casey Blake ($5.25 million), and Carroll ($1.925 million). The club will still have control over the seven remaining arbitration-eligible players: Billingsley, James Loney, and Hong-Chih Kuo (who will be in their second years), Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier, and Russell Martin (third years), and George Sherrill (fourth year).  [Ed. note: Ethier’s agreement came shortly after this was published–like, five minutes.  That sucks.]

Of course this makes Dodger fans nervous–who’s going to play for the team??–but this opens the door to make wiser financial decisions than throwing two- or three-year deals for high per annum dollars at aging superstars.  Rebuilding the farm is considerably more important and cheaper. We’ll stay tuned to see if they spend the dollars in the first round come June.

Colletti is not a good evaluator of talent (and both of last year’s July 31 deadline trades are examples of that), but he’s been remarkable at showing financial dexterity in a not-so-good time.  That he was able to trade Pierre and get some of that contract off the table while also not signing big free agents to hefty contracts and using that money toward his more important assets–his arb. eligible players–is great.  He also found a good value in 2B Jamey Carroll, who is slightly undervalued because of his above-average on-base percentage.

If he can pull off signing either Joel Piniero, Ben Sheets or another high-reward potential starter on the cheap, it’ll be a great off-season for the Dodgers.

Edit: Dylan Hernandez reports the Dodgers have now agreed to contracts with Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin as well, meaning they’ve avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.  Well done.

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