He calls it a clarification. I call it a huhwhathuh?When I wrote about this the first time, I tried to explain that it was just one way to evaluate the ebb and flow of talent, not to judge an off-season. ... The reality is there is no true way to project performance, no matter how many incredibly smart people spend a lot of time trying. Yes, you'd rather have added Miguel Cabrera than Milton Bradley. But in baseball you can't rule out Bradley having a better year than Cabrera (raise your hand if you knew 102 players would drive in more runs than Alfonso Soriano last year, including Brandon Phillips, Bengie Molina, Mark Ellis, Jack Cust, Curtis Granderson and Mark DeRosa). By looking only at the addition and subtraction of proven players, you can get a decent reading on a team's depth.
This time around, it's easy to get excited about the Cubs adding Kosuke Fukudome, but it shouldn't be forgotten that they have subtracted Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd and Jason Kendall, who did make contributions in 2007.
It seems to me the plus-minus does a decent job of showing the White Sox have improved more than the Cubs, even while missing out on Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera (they lose only Jon Garland among their most significant players and add Orlando Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel). I'd also say it accurately suggests a long season for St. Louis, which has lost Jim Edmonds, Eckstein, Preston Wilson, Troy Percival and Kip Wells while adding no one more significant than Cesar Izturis, who wasn't a regular in 2007.
Ok, Phil, if you just want to look at team depth - why don't you, I don't know, look at team depth? Just get a depth chart out and see out deep each team is.
It's not just that the system equates Alex Rodriguez and David Eckstein equally -- although that enough makes the system close to worthless. It's that it absolutely fails to take into account any sort of marginal value, just absolute value.
The fact is that no matter what, a ballclub is going to have 25 players on its active roster. Those players are coming from somewhere. Players who are being added displace other players. Players who leave are replaced somehow.
And let me just say - losing Floyd, Jones and Kendall helps this team. We have replacements for them who are better - in the case of Kendall specifically MUCH better. And I don't think it's obvious at all that the Sox have improved more than the Cubs. Adding Dotel and Linebrink are questionable moves at best. Nobody knows if Alexei Ramirez is ready to produce at the majors. (Cuba being right around A-ball level.)
This annoys me way too mucn, and I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir right now.