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Self-Assessment, Part Two

ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO

It was tricky to find chunks of the old blog that are still relevant and not confusing, since so much has happened since then. But here are a few:

On Tike Redman, 08/16/2004:

The notion that Redman will ever be a good major league player - much less a leadoff hitter - for any extended period strikes me as extreme wishful thinking...

This would be one thing if Redman were a young player with lots of potential. He's not. He's 27 now and not likely to improve much. And his minor league record doesn't inspire confidence. He never really hit for average or power in the low minors (except in 1996, when he nearly hit .300 in two rookie leagues). He only managed to hit even acceptably in AAA two of the three years he was there, in 2001 and 2003. After his awful season in 2002, when he hit .315/.344/.659 at age 25, he passed through waivers and no one claimed him.

Basically, then, Redman wasn't a prospect at all as recently as 18 months ago. But because of two good months in the majors last year, he was given the starting job this year out of spring training.

That wasn't necessarily a bad idea. The Pirates didn't have a lot of options in center at the time, so there wasn't any reason not to find out if Redman was for real or not. But his performance the first couple of months should have convinced the Pirates that he was not, and his showing the last two months hasn't been nearly good enough to make up for the first two.

Redman isn't an answer for the Pirates in the long term. And he shouldn't even be an answer in the short term.

Assessment

No problems there.

On the possibility of trading Jason Kendall, 10/14/2004:

I don't think the Pirates have any players they should consider untouchable, including Kendall. But once money is out of the picture, Kendall is a very, very valuable commodity - a catcher who puts up .400 OBPs and is one of the two or three best leadoff hitters in baseball.

Why am I taking money out of the picture? Well, because as a fan, it doesn't matter to me that Kendall is overpaid. If the Pirates are able to trade him and get his salary off the books, that money probably won't be used to improve the team. Given the recent patterns of Pirates management, the payroll will probably just shrink that much more if Kendall leaves.

This would be a different matter if the Pirates were getting great talent - especially great young talent - in return for Kendall. But they're not.

Assessment

Bzzt. It's not as if the Pirates have spent much money on the team since Kendall left, but it's also true that if I were running the Pirates, Kendall and his contract might still be on the team. Trading Kendall turned out to be one of Dave Littlefield's best moves, which isn't saying much, but still, ouch.

On Jose Mesa's contract, 11/11/2004:

The AP reports that his contract costs the Pirates $2 million in 2005, plus a $4 million option or a $500,000 buyout in 2006. We might as well just call it a one-year, $2.5 million contract, since Mesa isn't going to be any good this year, and it's hard to see the Pirates bringing him back at $4 million even on the off chance that he is any good. This is a ridiculous, pointless waste of money, and I can see no reason for it other than Proven Closer Syndrome (and the closely related Veteran Fetish Syndrome).

Assessment

I got that one.

On the Benito Santiago trade, 12/14/2004:

But let's say you're Lloyd McClendon, and you may go into convulsions if you don't have a veteran catcher available. It seems like a bad idea to me to depend on Santiago - who, again, played 49 games last year - to be around to play at all...

The Arizona Diamondbacks entered the offseason in a position similar to the one the Pirates are in now...

So what did the Diamondbacks do? This week, they signed Kelly Stinnett to a minor league contract. They don't have to pay Stinnett much of anything for the privilege of taking him to spring training, and he can play at Class AAA unless there's a problem with [young catchers Koyie] Hill or [Chris] Snyder. Both those guys can therefore stay on the major league roster, and the Diamondbacks pay virtually nothing for their insurance policy.

Assessment

The Bucs treated Santiago like the free talent he should have been, dropping him after six games. In the meantime, they acquired Dave Ross for nothing, and he played in 40 games with the Bucs. Stinnett outperformed both of them in 2005. Leo Nunez, who the Bucs traded for Santiago, continues to be a mildly promising prospect for the Royals; he'll only be 23 next year. The money the Bucs paid Santiago, meanwhile, is long gone.

The Pirates appear to have learned their lesson about not overpaying for veteran catchers - they'll almost certainly non-tender the now-unnecessary Humberto Cota and go with relative youngsters Ronny Paulino and Ryan Doumit. Since Doumit is perpetually injured, they'll presumably sign a Stinnett type of player for Class AAA.

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This concludes the self-assessment. Again, feel free to dig through the archives and check the things I've said. I have no particular reason to think my readers will be especially interested in these, but I do think that, if I want to call out mainstream publications for stupid things they say, it's only fair that I hold myself accountable by going back and looking at what I used to say to see if I was right.