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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Links: Relief value, Dave Parker for Hall?

By David Schoenfield

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