The Blue Jays’ offseason trade for Josh Donaldson could turn out to be an historic one if Donaldson wins the AL MVP award, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The last time a team traded a player in the offseason who turned out to be the following season’s MVP was 1984, when the Phillies traded reliever Willie Hernandez to the Tigers during Spring Training. Here’s more on the American League.
- Mariners president Kevin Mather says he waited too long to fire GM Jack Zduriencik, Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest writes. “I’m not a baseball guy,” says Mather. “I kept waiting for them to rattle off eight out of 10, 12 out of 15, to get on a roll. I maybe dragged my feet . . . I waited too long to start asking myself tough questions about why we’re not having more success.” A year ago, Mather rewarded Zduriencik’s for the Mariners’ 71-59 record by signing him to a two-year extension. Now, Mather seems to have changed his mind entirely.
- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is saddened by Zduriencik’s departure, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. “Jack was very dedicated to this organization, and it’s always tough when you lose a family member. I consider Jack a family member,” McClendon says. “It’s just been one of those years where a lot of things just have not turned out the way we thought it would.” Mather has said that he plans to recommend to Zduriencik’s successor that McClendon and his staff remain in their current jobs, although those decisions will ultimately be up to the new GM.
- Manager Ned Yost says Royals outfielder Alex Gordon appears likely to return to the team this week, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. McCullough suggests Gordon could return on Tuesday. The star left fielder has been out since early July with a groin strain. The Royals have been just fine without him, and they’re currently 30 games above .500 and 13 games up on the second-place Twins in the AL Central, but Gordon’s return should provide them with a further boost.
1984 must have been a really weak season in the AL, considering there is like 10 relief pitchers having better seasons than 1984 Hernandez this year.
Hernandez did at least lead MLB pitchers in Win Probability Added in 1984, and it wasn’t even close. See the leaderboard here: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0&type=3&season=1984&month=0&season1=1984&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0
So, at least by that measure, Hernandez was a reasonable choice.
I would assume that naturely closers have an edge, considering they are pitching a good 75% of the time in an important inning in a close game. 3 of the top 4 guys on that list were closers (or atleast relievers with a large amount of saves).
Looking at that stat in 2015, 3 of the top 10 are closers (4 if you count Betances), including Mark Melancon coming in at 2nd.
Oh I agree, there’s no doubt that closers have an edge. Hernandez had a pretty historic 1984 in terms of WPA though, even accounting for that. Here’s the leaderboard for all relief seasons from 1950 to 2015:
I’m not a Hernandez fan or a Tigers fan or anything; it just seems kind of strange that he managed to rack up such a high WPA total in what otherwise seems to be a pretty strange pick for an MVP season.
What may have factored in the voting is that Hernandez had 80 appearances and an astounding 140 IP in relief.
Yeah, but in exchange for Willie Hernandez, the Phillies picked up someone named John “Wockenfuss,” so they clearly came out ahead on the deal in name value.
Wockenfuss had an epic 1985 Topps card. Little known fact that those 85 Phillies cards came in printing variations
At the time of the trade, Johnny B. Wockenfuss was my favorite player on the Tigers. He had the funkiest batting stance. His left heel was in a straight line with his right toes and he would wiggle his fingers on his left hand while waiting for the pitch. He was great at the hit and run.
Is it normal for other organizations’ presidents to identify themselves as “not baseball guys”
Every baseball team has people who are solely focused on the business side of the game. They don’t need to have extensive knowledge about the game itself, just how to make money, run the business, and whatnot.