Mark Twain was known to say “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. A good example of this is the latest bit of news about the Pirates. From all accounts it looks like closer Joel Hanrahan and another player will be traded to the Red Sox. It’s not really known who the Pirates will be getting in return for Hanrahan but it’s starting to look like it will be prospects of some kind. Most of the Buccosphere don’t think that the return is good enough. Of course, it’s hard to really definitively make and judgment until it’s known who the Pirates are getting back. The name being mentioned the most is Jerry Sands. Tim Williams has quick thumbnail sketch in this morning’s blog post. Charlie over at Bucs Dugout says that the trade may also include pitcher Mark Melancon.
This is where we all board the crazy train. On Twitter, Dejan Kovacevic mentioned that since Melancon had an ERA above six the trade is complete garbage. At this point the saber metric fans came out and talked about his peripheral stats and how it seems that Melancon pitched in a bit of bad luck. Dejan was not having any of that called the Pirate bloggers defensive. The exchange on twitter between Dejan and Charlie was quite amusing to read this morning while I was drinking my coffee.
Here is where we stand with this kerfuffle. Both the people that think the trade could be decent and the people who think the trade will stink are offering stats of some kind or another to bolster their position. I think that this is a good thing. However, there seems to be some real animosity between Dejan and the Pirates and between Dejan and some of the other Pirate bloggers.
In the middle of the season Dejan was saying that Neal Huntington should get an extension. Then after the collapse and the “Hoka Hey” incident Dejan changed his tune and decided that Huntington should be let go (Personally, I’m 50/50 on it but if the Pirates don’t go anywhere this coming year it’s time for a change). On the other hand, Huntington must have pissed in his cornflakes for him to have completely gone off the rails as he has done.
The bloggers have taken a more wait and see approach with this for several reasons. First, because the bloggers are more stats driven they really don’t value the “closer” role, that is have one pitcher end the game and only use him in those situations. Second, they are more apt to trust the peripheral stats when looking if a player is good or not. And finally, we don’t really know who is coming back in return for Hanrahan so there is no way to make a informed opinion about the trade.