Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What IF? Part Two

Today I'll ponder the other two great what if questions:

1) What if Batman fought Superman?

2) What if the Angels signed Paul Konerko?

1. The general answer to this one always seems to involve the mortal Batman getting a hold of some kryptonite and creating a makeshift can of whoopass. I never liked this. See, it assumes that Batman has knowledge of the impending fight, and time to prepare. What if Superman has the same knowledge and time? Well, its easy. He just flys over the bat cave, well beyond the range where the kryptonite can hurt him, picks up a mountain, and drops it on Batman, sealing his Bat-corpse and the kryptonite all in the tomb.

2. Paul Konerko has had a great season, better than his 2005 season. He's been 33 runs better than an average player. The Angel 1st basemen have not. Casey Kotchman got sick, and was unable to contribute. Kendry Morales came up for a while, and showed some potential, and struggled some. He did not hit at the level a contending team needs from the position. Robb Quinlan has hit well, but only 2 walks against 192 at bats. Still, he's been slightly above league average. In addition, Howie Kendrick has played some 1st base. In my what if scenario I assume he still gets to play, at the expense of Adam Kennedy, although I'm doing no calculations to reflect this.

The 3 Angel !B have 479 PA vs 514 for Konerko, but have made more outs, 335 to 319. I'm subtracting their play while adding in that of Konerko. Konerko is + 33 runs on offense, Quinlan is +4, Morales -4, and Kotchman -8, so Konerko adds 41 runs to the offense.

What about defense? According to the zone rating system that Chris Dial and I have published on Baseballthinkfactory.com, Konerko is a below average fielder, -7. The Angels have had good defense at this spot, mostly due to Morales. I'm too lazy to check the exact numbers but I'm going on the assumption the Angel 1B are 10 runs better than Konerko, so he improves the team by 31 runs or 3 wins.

That puts us at 72-60, still 3.5 behind the A's. Konerko would have been a much bigger improvement than I wrote in the offseason, I had him at maybe 1, 1.5 wins better than Kotchman. Bill Stoneman did everything he could to get this guy, who just wasn't ready to change teams. If he had signed, it would not have been a bad move, and only cost us unsigned 3rd round pick Russ Moldenhauer. Still, I'm not shedding any tears over this one. Over the next 4 years, Konerko could decline, Kotchman could return, Morales could develop, and the Angels could use that money to sign another big free agent (Vernon Wells in 08?).

Finally, what if we'd signed Konerko AND traded for Ramirez? We'd be kicking the A's butts. We'd also be playing boring 4 hour games, and our team would be built to win for now and damn the future. I like the present better than this what if. Second place sucks, but I can take it. We'll get the A's next year.

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