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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sea Bass strikes and more... 

Although the Sox still haven't made an official announcement regarding the Alex Gonzalez signing, most outlets are reporting that the deal is indeed complete, and the paperwork has been sent to the Commissioner's office.

There's still no word on who will be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Gonzalez; however, Gordon Edes is speculating that Roberto Petagine may be the leading candidate. They'd likely ask him if he would be willing to play in Japan again. The could also simply release Petagine, but I'd image they'd prefer to cut a deal for him.

Meanwhile, Alex Gonzalez has done nothing but impress in the Caribbean Series this week. Last night, he blasted a game winning two-run home run to defeat the Dominican Republic 11-9.

After viewing the Caribbean Series highlights courtesy of MLB's impeccable Advanced Media department, I couldn't help but get even more excited for this upcoming season. In many ways, I wish American baseball games had the same atmosphere as these games in Central America. They sure love their baseball.

***

The Red Sox and Josh Beckett settled their arbitration case yesterday, agreeing to a one-year contract for $4,325,000. Beckett, who made $2,425,000 last season asked for $4.9 million, while the Red Sox offered $3.75 million. The Sox control his rights throughout the 2007 season.

It's nice to see the Sox and Beckett simply agree on the middle-figure ($4,325,000) on their two proposals, rather than forcing it to go to arbitration. Beckett is a guy that will hopefully perform well enough this season to warrant a long-term contract extension, and having a contract dispute with a team he hasn't even pitched for yet could have been disastrous.

I can't wait to see the look on his face when he leaves the clubhouse in Fort Myers to 5,000 lunatic Sox fans. You're not playing for the Marlins anymore, Josh.

***

As for the Manny-to-the-Angels trade, Peter Gammons and others are reporting that it's false. Good. While acquiring a package of Santana, Figgins, Wood, and Kendrick would have been a coup, I can't be disappointed (atleast offensively) with having Manny start 150 or so games in left field in 2006.

***

This past Friday, three terrific articles were published on the subject of the various defensive metrics, such as Ultimate Zone Rating and probabilistic Model of Range. The first, "A glove affair" penned by Jon Weisman of Sports Illustrated, is geared towards the uninitiated, with a focus on what the various metrics show about the defensive "abilities" of the two-time Gold Glove winner Captain Intangibles himself, Derek Jeter.

The second, "Evaluating the Evaluators" by David Gassko of The Hardball Times. Gassko is the inventor then defensive metric simply known as "Range." He gives a compact run-down of what goes into each metric, its pros and cons, and how each compares to the other metrics. It was very nice to see Gassko's handle "DSG" pop up on SoSH over the weekend. Hopefully he'll be a frequent visitor and lend us his insights on the world of defensive evaluation.

The third and final article, "A Detailed Comparison of Defensive Metrics" is also written by Gassko. This article is strictly written for statheads, as Gassko seeks to find which metric best correlates with the gold standard of defensive evaluation, UZR. As defensive metrics can show bias towards a player based on their position, Gassko goes position-by-position to find the strongest correlation.

All are excellent reads, and do an excellent job of outlining the basis for each metric.

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