Keith Law has a piece up on Insider showing how data indicates that relief pitchers are constantly overvalued. Not only are they especially volatile from year to year, they are volatile within a single season. Here's one key nugget: "In one query, we looked at relievers who changed teams midyear after throwing at least 30 innings with a sub-4 ERA for the first team. Of 166 pitchers, 108 saw their ERAs rise after relocating, with 68 posting ERAs for their new clubs a run above their ERAs for their former clubs, and 40 going up by at least two runs."
Something to keep in mind with relievers like Heath Bell, Leo Nunez, Kyle Farnsworth and Koji Uehara among the more popular trade candidates.
Of course, what their current teams can get in return remains to be seen. Because as Buster Olney writes today on his Insider blog, teams are more reluctant than ever to deal prospects, even second- and third-tier prospects. He quotes an executive saying, "When you've reached the point when you're refusing to trade prospects who aren't even close to being your top guys, then all that really is is being afraid to make a mistake. If you're not willing to trade a minor leaguer who you don't rate highly, then it's just fear. And that's a tough way to do business, because there the opportunities to win don't come every year."
It's all part of what makes the trade deadline so interesting:
1. It's overhyped to begin with, with rumors far outweighing the number of deals that will be made, and fans (and some GMs) overrating the actual impact one player can make anyway.
2. General managers feel pressure from media, fans and players on the team to make a deal.
3. Fans know more about prospects than ever, sparking even more debates.
4. Teams overrate/overvalue their own prospects.
5. Most prospects who are traded don't turn into stars anyway.
6. GMs are scared of making the Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard or Carlos Santana for Casey Blake mistakes.
It's a big mess of fun and speculation, isn't it?
More links to check out
Via the Hardball Talk blog, Dave Parker thinks he should be in the Hall of Fame. The Cobra has some nice arguments: two batting titles, an MVP Award, 2,712 hits and 1,493 RBIs. But he was really only a great player for six seasons: 1975 to 1979 and again in 1985. Over 90 percent of his career value was really contained in those six seasons, as he spent the rest of his career as a low-OBP, poor defensive right fielder/DH. His .339 OBP would be the lowest of any Hall of Fame outfielder other than Andre Dawon.
Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Dan Szymborski had a piece the other day on ESPN Insider on the best 27-and-under Hall of Fame candidates.
The Giants and Phillies begin an interesting series today, and SweetSpot bloggers Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley and Chris Quick of Bay City Ball exchanged Q&As with each other. Here's Bill answering questions about the Phillies. And here's Chris answering questions about the Giants.
Baseball Time in Arlington writes about a night to remember for the Rangers.
As always, I recommend the daily roundup over at You Can't Predict Baseball.
Nick's Twins Blog looks at what's gone wrong for Francisco Liriano this season.
Geoff Young, who writes our Padres blog, has an interesting piece at Baseball Prospectus looking at Bruce Bochy's record in one-run games ... it's very, very good over his career and the Giants are 27-13 in one-run games this year.
Jason Kipnis gave Indians fans a reminder of baseball's continual ability to delight.