Run Support Likely Costs Lee Cy Young – Phillies Nation

Run Support Likely Costs Lee Cy Young

Cliff Lee‘s season seemed to follow the same narrative from month to month: he pitched very well, received no run support, and picked up very few decisions, let alone wins. It became something of a running joke to wonder when Lee would, in fact, “win” his first game of the season. His lack of wins also spurred my own research into finding out if any starter has ever finished a season with more WAR than wins.*

He sported an 0-5 record through June in perhaps the perfect invalidation of the win statistic. If W-L record was truly intended to measure the number of good games pitched vs. the number of bad games pitched — and really, what the hell else purpose would it even serve — then Lee’s 0-5 mark was absurd. It was largely indicative of the level of run support he received and not his actual performance.

*Yes, Jerry Koosman finished with 3.3 WAR while going 3-15 for the 1978 Mets.

The absurdity continued as Lee began to heat up. After a very good July that saw him post a 2.75 ERA with 30 strikeouts against a mere five walks, Lee was virtually unhittable over the season’s final two months. He made 12 starts in August and September and threw 85.2 innings. In slightly over 7 IP/GS, Lee put up a 2.31 ERA with a 22.0 K/BB ratio. Yes, he struck out 88 batters over those 12 starts while walking four.

In the end, Lee had another great season. Sure, it was down by his own elite standards from the last four years, but he finished 3rd among senior circuit pitchers in WAR even after missing three starts with an oblique injury. He led the league, or was among the league leaders, in a number of important and meaningful statistics both traditional and advanced.

However, the most traditional of traditional stats, and the one that unfortunately lacks real meaning — W-L record — is absolutely going to prevent Lee from winning his second Cy Young Award. It’s also probably going to prevent him from even placing in the voting.

Despite finishing 6-9 in 30 starts, Lee was arguably the best starting pitcher in the National League this season, whether we realized it or not.

Let some of these numbers sink in for a moment. Lee had the highest K/BB ratio in the National League at 7.39. Behind him was Kentucky Joe, at 4.88, which isn’t really even close. Making that ratio even more remarkable is that Lee also finished with the 6th-highest strikeout rate in the league. This wasn’t a ridiculously high ratio born out of a low strikeout rate and a low walk rate, a la my favorite pitcher, Greg Maddux. Lee struck batters out left and right — he just didn’t walk anyone. His 3.3% walk rate was the lowest in all of baseball.

While his torrid second half helped his ERA cosmetically, Lee led the National League with a 3.00 SIERA. That ERA estimator, which I co-created, measures pitching performance independent of defense and the associated luck in order to get to the bottom of how a pitcher really pitched. Lee finished the season with 211 innings over 30 starts, and while that innings total doesn’t lead the league, his IP/GS average topped the senior circuit. His 4.9 WAR ranked third, behind Clayton Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez, but if Lee made those three missed starts, he most likely finishes atop that leaderboard.

What-if’s obviously can’t factor into this equation, but Lee really didn’t get enough credit this season, especially from his own fanbase. Perhaps it was the timing of some of his home runs allowed that contributed to the negative vibe. Or maybe many simply couldn’t look past his meaningless W-L to realize that he was having a terrific year. Those same people blamed Lee for giving up two runs over eight innings in a 2-0 loss, making their case by saying he didn’t pitch to the score or some such nonsense.

The timing of some of his runs allowed was suboptimal, as he coughed up some late leads or ties. That happens to everyone. Lee would have had to pitched absolutely flawlessly this season to make up for his lack of run support, and that’s a lot to expect out of anyone, vintage Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander included. Either way, Lee’s name has barely popped up in award talks, and I would wager that many members of his own fanbase haven’t thought of his season that way.

What’s very interesting is comparing Lee to another pitcher who finished with a much better W-L record, despite having essentially the exact same season.

Lee: 30 GS, 211.0 IP, 24.4% K-rate, 3.3% BB-rate, 3.16 ERA, 3.00 SIERA, 4.9 WAR
Mystery P: 31 GS, 215.1 IP , 24.9% K-rate, 6.0% BB-rate, 3.05 ERA, 3.22 SIERA, 4.5 WAR

The mystery pitcher is Cole Hamels, who finished with a 17-6 record, and has been mentioned as a dark-horse Cy Young Award candidate. A case could be made for either one having the better season, but Lee’s is easier to make. In one fewer start he provided almost a half-win more in value this year. Nothing should be taken away from Hamels’s great season, but it’s a shame that Lee isn’t viewed in the same light, despite performing equally or better. Had he received even a bit more run support, he probably would have finished with something like a 14-7 record. While others “won” more games than that, voters may have found it easier to cast their ballot in Lee’s name if his mark in this meaningless metric was more appealing.

Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award a couple of years ago with a mediocre-looking record, but that was a different situation. He still finished with double-digit wins and posted an above .500 record for a terrible team. Lee pitched for a disappointing team that made a second-half surge, but he fell below 10 wins and below .500 as well. His W-L record informs us of nothing about his season at all, yet it’s what will get held against him mostly because of a game aspect completely out of his control — the Phillies offense itself.

When the season ends and awards are handed out, the NL Cy Young Award will probably come down to R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw or Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel had a historic year for relievers and both Dickey and Kershaw had great seasons as well. Lee was arguably the best starting pitcher in the National League this season, and his season will likely go unnoticed come awards time. For all the progress that was made with Hernandez’s award, Lee’s 2012 season will serve as an example of how meaningless numbers still find their way into value discussions in extreme circumstances.

At least it wasn’t completely for naught, as that’s an important reminder, as disappointing as it is that Lee’s season won’t get the credit it deserves.

Click to comment


  1. jeff

    October 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

    “Lee’s name has barely popped up in award talks, primarily because his own fanbase hasn’t made enough of a case.”

    How does a “fanbase” impact how the writers vote on awards?

    • Eric Seidman

      October 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Phillies fans aren’t exactly shy about expressing our thoughts. While fans making a case on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wherever wouldn’t directly influence, say, Ken Rosenthal’s vote, it’s entirely possible that the widespread discussion could cause certain voters to take another look at his candidacy. I mean, sure, it’s a reach, but my main point is that it was always going to be difficult for Lee to garner CYA votes when his own fanbase didn’t even really view him in that light.

      • George

        October 9, 2012 at 10:29 am

        Probably the only sportswriter idiot enough to take the fanbase’s discussions into account would be Roenthal. Writers generally look at fans as being suckers influenced by their (the writer’s) own arrogant diatribes and God-like pronouncements.

        If Hamels is only a “dark horse,” even though he has had fan support (and even front office support with his mega-deal) it would be completely ridiculous to even think Lee would get consideration from anyone in the writing community.

      • EricL

        October 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

        George, you vastly underestimate the number of idiot sportswriters. There are scores and scores of them dumb enough to say and do almost anything.

      • George

        October 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        Idiots, yes. But the fact that they’ll say and do anything only supports my premise that they don’t listen to anyone when making all those stupid pronouncements. Some of what they write could only come from necromancy, alchemy, phrenology, astrology, or all of the above, and certainly not from knowlegeable fans who actually interpret real numbers.

    • Baseballs Deep

      October 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm


      Lee’s season reminded me of Nolan Ryan’s season in 1987. His win-loss record was 8-16 but he led the NL in ERA (2.76), ERA+ (142), strikeouts (270), K/9 (11.5) and K/BB (3.10). His WAR for that season was 5.1, which is more than double the WAR of the NL Cy Young Award winner that year, Steve Bedrosian (2.2). Although, several pitchers had a higher WAR than Bedrock, including Welch (6.8), Hershiser (6.1), Sutcliffe (5.8) and Mike Scott (5.6).

      Which of course begs the question, how in Hades did Bedrosian win the Cy Young Award that year?
      Twitter: @baseballsdeep

  2. dylan

    October 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Just shows how much help we needed on offense until they came to life near the end of the year. Lee was probably a top 5 pitcher in the NL this year, but even with some run support, I don’t think he would have won the CY Young. Props to Cliff on a well pitched season tho

  3. George

    October 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I’m not going to argue that Cliff Lee didn’t have a good year.

    However, it’s not run support that would eliminate him from Cy Young consideration; it was his extremely poor stretch of games earlier in the year and his outings when he gave up nothing until the seventh or eighth inning, then bombed.

    W-L records are not total BS. When a starter of Lee’s caliber has the record he did for 2012, it’s more a fluke than the norm. Guys with great peripherals generally do win a lot, and guys with bad ones don’t. It’s not often a pitcher doesn’t at least gain some wins (even on a bad team) when pitching like Lee did, getting better as the season progressed.

    Awards have always been based on results. Lee didn’t get them, and it can’t be blamed solely on the offense. Some of it has to be blamed on a few bad starts.

    • Ken Bland

      October 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      W-L records are not total BS.>>

      Now THAT is total BS. I meran god damn, George, Are you blind, stubborn or principled? Here we are, in a room full of strangers, but the baseball gods have bestowed upon us a sport saving class of patrons who have taken the game, flipped it over, under, around and through, and reinvented it, and with over 100 per cent conviction are trying to show you the light.

      Never mind that people in the game, I mean freaking uniformed personnel, for cryin’ out loud refer to pitcherrs W-L’s, but how could you side with that? There is no gray, don’t ya understand that? The nouveau riche upstart baseball fan is trying to show you the light, that W-L’s belong in the garbage, and RBI in the recycle bin. And you just don’t get it. Can’t you tell by their conviction and put down of the old fashioned ways that there is no other way to think? There is no inbetween.There is no other way to think.

      Chase Utley for MVP

      Cliff Lee for CY

      Get with the program, George. get empirical, pal. Then you can be as robotic as the players are.

      Lemme tell you sa little story about one sabermetric preacher who lives by that gospel. Or awfully close to it from the way it sure as hell seems to me. Last year, stats in hand, and numbers in mind, he brilliantly predicted the Phillies would sweep the Cards in the playoffs. Ever notice how people come back with predictions time after time, unabashed by their priors. This time, he offered that the Braves and Rangers would win the wild card games. Did you see AFW at the parade last year as it crossed Broad and Dauphin? If you go by the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the sign says welcome to Offseason Park. Did you hear Chipper Jones is as active as Cy Young? You know Cy, right? He’s the dude that rolled over in his grave when he heard Cliff lost the CY because of run support.

      • EricL

        October 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

        Nobody who is at all familiar with sabermetrics, variance or sample sizes would make a prediction on the outcome of any single playoff series, much less predict a sweep of anything. Either you’ve attributed sabermetric qualities to someone who has few, or your story is a complete fabrication.

        Win-loss records are fine if you’re curious as to how a particular game turned out. They’re completely useless if you’re interested in how a particular pitcher performed.

      • Eric Seidman

        October 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

        Ken, I have no idea what you’re saying here, to be honest. All I will say is yes, W-L records mean nothing when judging the performance of a pitcher over a single season. It purports to measure the number of good games vs. bad games, but it doesn’t do that. It’s a number reliant on a number of factors out of the pitcher’s control, and that matters very little in determining how someone pitched. Just because actual players refer to it doesn’t mean it tells us anything about how a player performed.

        If you want to quote W-L records and RBIs, be my guest. I’m not on a mission to put anyone down or authoritatively shoot down beliefs or ideas. I’ve spent a number of years working towards advancing the understanding of what constitutes value in this game and I will continue to do so. Given that we go back a couple of years now, I’m saddened by your use of ‘you people’ and the general tone of your comment here, as it seems directed at me, when all I have ever tried to do is bridge the gap between traditional and advanced metrics in a calm, supportive, and profesorial manner.

    • George

      October 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      In case anyone has misunderstood what I said about not arguing Cliff’s good year, I’ll try to clarify my view of W-L stats.

      To me, there is NO, I repeat NO, stat that’s foolproof. The fact that I stated Cliff Lee had a good year should be proof that I don’t put all my faith in W-L. There are other factors. But I don’t put all my faith in the sabermetric numbers either, because baseball is a results oriented game, where a miss is as good as a mile.

  4. Mary Pat

    October 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I can’t imagine how frustrating this year must have been for Cliff. I give him all the credit in the world, not only for playing so well, but for managing to keep an even keel throughout. How he kept from throttling his teammates is beyond me! Really the only time you saw him upset was the situation with Victorino, in which case Lee seemed pretty justified.

    • schmenkman

      October 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Understandably frustrated, yes, but I don’t know about justified.

      • George

        October 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Oh come Schmenk! It’s always justified for a pitcher to go off on an outfielder who’s battling the sun or committing one of the few errors he ever makes. It’s always justified for a pitcher to miss the five or six impossible plays that same outfielder makes in the pitcher’s other starts.

      • Whatever

        October 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm

        A lot of people are assuming that it was Cliff Lee who said something first. I actually heard that it was Victorino who made the first comment when he felt Lee was staring at him when he came into the dugout. Who knows for sure?

    • kittykat

      October 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Probably about as frustrated as Cole Hamels was in 2010 when he was the victim of poor run support and everyone was questioning whether he had the support of the team behind him. That’s how bad it was for him and he maintained class and dignity through the whole season. This year it happened to Lee and no one has questioned if his teammates like him.

      I don’t see how the Phillies can keep 2 pitchers with such similar stats making over 20 mil. It’s like there’s an extra pitcher on the roster. They should have traded Cole Hamels when they had the chance regardless of what happens with Halladay. When they signed Lee, I really thought they would move Hamels.

      • schmenkman

        October 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        I’m not sure I understand the point. Is it that they can’t afford such high-priced pitchers? Or that the money would be better spent on position players? Because in the end it’s about value for money, and preventing runs is just as valuable as scoring runs.

    • kittykat

      October 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I thought the money could have been better used for position players or prospects. Obviously the team can afford both but IMO they could have put Hamels’ extension dollars to better use elsewhere and used a cheaper alternative to Hamels especially since Lee is the better pitcher.

  5. TheDipsy

    October 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Check out Nolan Ryan’s 1987. 2.76 ERA (led league)/270 Ks (led league)

    hits per 9inn. K’s per 9inn. – Led league.

    8-16. Finished 5th in the Cy Young.

    The Dipsy

  6. Smash

    October 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Starting pitching was not the Phillies issue this year and all this post does is add more validity to that argument. Lee had a “fluke” year. Yeah, he had a few bad starts, but the reality of it is you can’t blame him for the lackluster offense and bullpen blowing games when he left with a lead. What’s the stats for the number of games of Lee got a ND because the bullpen blew a game? I’ll wager that it’s higher than any other starting pitcher for the Phils. Using sabermetrics is not an end all justification for player performance, but it does provide a greater in depth look in to performance, such as the case here with Lee. If you took Lee’s “traditional” stats, one would say he had a bad year and wasn’t worth the money. But when you look deeper into the numbers or if you watched the games he pitched, you would know that he had a pretty good year but got hosed by a bad bullpen and a terrible offense. Couple that with a poor defensive team behind him and you suddenly realize that he was worth every penny the Phillies spent.

    • Jeff Dowder

      October 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Since Washington won 98 games with an $81 million payroll and the Phillies won 81 games with a $174 million payroll, it’s hard to think that anyone on the roster was worth every penny.

      • EricL

        October 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        Ruiz was. I don’t think many would disagree that he vastly outperformed his $3.7mm contract.

        A bunch of other guys did as well (Rollins, Kratz, Frandsen, Pierre, Horst, Worley, Valdes, Bastardo, etc.) if you compare their actual value provided (via fangraphs) to their contracts.

    • George

      October 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      I’m really tired of hearing about the Phils’ bloated payroll and other teams doing more while spending less. Excrement happens. Injuries happen to one team. 1st round draft picks happen for another.

      I’d wait a couple years when all those young Nationals are hitting free agency and more of them hit the DL, and I’ll wait a couple of years as their draft selections drop into the second tier, before I’ll praise them for winning with less.

      • ARc

        October 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        in light of the moves the Dodgers have made, Amaro is starting to come off like a miser.
        and i dont think hes spending much more money. I see the org spending money on 3rd tier players in the outfield, keeping Frandsen at 3rd. No upgrades in our rotation, Howard and Utley producing at their new normal, the phils possibly getting into the playoff and getting knocked out the first round. Manuel and Amaro will be gone, and the collapse of the phillies as we know it for the next 4-5 seasons.

      • EricL

        October 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        Arc, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        You say Ruben is coming off like a miser? As of today, the Phillies have the 2nd most money committed to their 2013 payroll in all of baseball. That’s not miserly. The committed money, without considering arbitration raises or options picked up (Ruiz, for example) is $133,000,000 or so.

        There were only 4 teams in baseball who entered the 2012 season with a payroll higher than the $133mm the Phillies have committed to next year. The Yankees ($209 mm), the Red Sox ($175mm), the Phillies ($172mm) and the Angels ($151mm). Of the 10 playoff teams, the only one with a higher current payroll this season than the Phillies already have committed going into 2013 was New York. The current salaries of Oakland, St. Louis, Detroit, Texas, Atlanta, Washington, Baltimore, Cincinnati and San Fransisco are all lower than the money Philadelphia has guaranteed to 9 players next season.

        The Phillies are a lot of things; frugal is not one of them.

      • ARc

        October 10, 2012 at 2:03 am

        George writes: “and I’ll wait a couple of years as their draft selections drop into the second tier, before I’ll praise them for winning with less.” yeah, im pretty sure a comma goes in between tier and before.

        George writes: ” There are other factors. But I don’t put all my faith in the sabermetric numbers either……” I think a comma goes in between factors and but.

        By the way, weren’t you the one who said I would appreciate an article with grammatical errors? Next time you start criticizing someone’s grammar on a message board, you better delete all of your past postings.

        How about we stick to baseball related discourse, and leave the grammatical criticism back at Community College. arc

      • ARc

        October 10, 2012 at 2:05 am

        George writes: “and I’ll wait a couple of years as their draft selections drop into the second tier, before I’ll praise them for winning with less.” yeah, im pretty sure a comma goes in between tier and before.

        George writes: ” There are other factors. But I don’t put all my faith in the sabermetric numbers either……” I think a comma goes in between factors and but.

        By the way, weren’t you the one who said I would appreciate an article with grammatical errors? Next time you start criticizing someone’s grammar on a message board, you better delete all of your past postings.

        How about we stick to baseball related discourse, and leave the grammatical criticism back at Community College. arc

      • ARc

        October 10, 2012 at 2:06 am


  7. Lefty

    October 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Good posting again Eric S., thanks. I agree completely. It’s just going to take patience and a lot of years until we get the Mad Dog’s and Max Mercy’s of the world to either retire or see it your way. Just keep writing, it’s all you can do. King Felix is a step in the right direction, maybe we see something like it again in a few years, and then maybe more and more often.

  8. Derek

    October 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Also Cliff Lee is the first pitcher since 1904 to record mor that 200 K and less than 30 BB…. Can anyone guess who that pitcher was in 1904?

    Cy Young!!

    • schmenkman

      October 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      All pitchers in MLB history with 200+ Ks and 30 or less walks:

      Lee 2012 – 207 K, 28 BB
      Halladay 2010 – 219 K, 30 BB
      Young 1905 – 210 K, 30 BB
      Young 1904 – 200 K, 29 BB

      • ARc

        October 10, 2012 at 2:25 am

        i dont know if this article has enough grammatical errors for me but here is some info on market size:
        I think you may be getting potential market size confused with a teams actual market.

        As for available money left; again, check my earlier posts. This is my case for dumping Lee and Halliday. This frees up 140 m in the long run, and 50m for 2013. If your calculations are correct, another 30m makes 80m available for 2013. That should be enough to sign 3 or 4 top free agents.

      • schmenkman

        October 10, 2012 at 7:51 am

        The first article you link to simply categorizes teams by the size of their payroll, which is why the Dodgers are ranked below the Phillies.

        The second article was written before the Dodgers were sold, and includes this telling comment:
        “If McCourt successfully sells the team to a multi-billionaire with the wherewithal to turn things around quickly, great, but for now, internal factors pull down a team blessed with almost unparalleled external opportunities.”

        So the only reason the Dodgers were ranked behind the Phillies is no longer there, and the team is again “blessed with almost unparalleled external opportunities.”

        And on Halladay (note the spelling) and Lee (you spelled this one right), EricL laid out why trading them is not a workable solution:

        “You don’t trade guys like Roy Halladay when he’s coming off the worst year in his career because you’ll get next to nothing for him and you’ll likely have to pay a large portion of his salary (which then prohibits you from going out and signing all the free agents). Players, like stocks and commodities and anything else, should be bought when they’re cheap and sold when they’re valuable, not vice versa.

        You don’t trade guys like Cliff Lee because he’s still a Cy Young calibre pitcher and because, again, his contract is so large that you will either have to pay a large portion of it or get next to nothing in return. But more than that, he is, in fact, a better pitcher than anyone on that list of free agents, save maybe Greinke. Trading away Lee to go out and acquire another pitcher makes no sense.

        Either way, trading both of those players in no way clears their salaries, brings back anything of value or allows you to go out and sign Bourn, Upton, Hamltion and two additional pitchers without blowing through the luxury tax threshold, which is something they’re trying to avoid. In essence, it doesn’t make the Phillies a better team.”

    • EricL

      October 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Lee’s 2nd all time among LHP in SO/BB ratio.

      Johan Santana is 3rd. Randy Johnson is 4th. I’ll let you guys look up who’s number 1. It might surprise you.

      • css228

        October 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        Actually what really suprises me is that the #1 LH has a slightly better ratio than Doc.

  9. geo

    October 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    This is silly. Lack of run support did not cost Cliff Lee the Cy Young. The fact that he didn’t pitch anywhere near as well as RA Dickey cost Cliff Lee the Cy Young.

    • css228

      October 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      The argument of this post is that Lee did pitch almost as well, if not better than, R.A. Dickey, and that only factors outside of his control make it appear otherwise.I’m not sure I agree with that conclusion completely, because of a high HR/FB ratio, but Cliff Lee should be a top 5 Cy Young finisher.

      • Eric Seidman

        October 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        No, we should just replace my article with his post. Isn’t it great when people read the article before commenting nonsensically?

        Actually, Lee’s HR/FB was right in line with the league, if only slightly higher. Lee was at 11.8%, NL as a whole was 11.1%. Lee’s just wasn’t as low as it was in the past. Even with a higher HR rate, however, he managed to do very well with ERA estimators and that 3.16 ERA wasn’t so bad either. There are obviously easier cases to make for Dickey, Kershaw, and maybe even Gio, but obviously the point to make here is that Lee had absolutely no shot of even being in the running — despite many similar or better numbers than those guys — because his lack of run support led to a weird W-L record.

  10. ARc

    October 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Again eric, you make a compelling case for the beauty of your arguments while keeping lights in the room turned off. Allow me to flip the switch, and you will find that Amaro was responsible for exactly what amount of that high payroll? I think in light of the new cable contracts, the climate of baseball finance has changed. Not to many teams can do what we can do. Now, do we just cut to the chase and compete with big market teams, which seem to all be shifting toward, what i call “Labronification” or do we think small minded and rely primarily on the farm? Amaro has added some payroll, albeit poorly, but I definitely think he can up the ante.

    • schmenkman

      October 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      I don’t understand. Which big Phillies contract was NOT signed by Amaro? Utley. That’s 1 out of the big 7.

      • ARc

        October 10, 2012 at 10:21 am

        “While the size of the market refers only to the population of the respective city, it is also closely correlated, in most cases, to the amount of money that a team will spend on players. In general, teams in “big markets” attract more fans, allowing them to raise ticket prices”.

        According to market size Philly has the 3rd largest, the Dodgers have the 7th largest
        Philles attendance is 100.8 % while the Dodgers 73.3%. between 2011-12 the Dodgers have only added 4,000 new attending fans. The phillies in the same time has lost 1,500 attending fans. We still have on avg 3000 more fans post Dodgers sale. The Dodgers in 2012 still are only 70% filled, the Phillies 100%.

        Again, I think youre getting population, potential market, and the actual accounted for market confused. While L.A certainly has a larger market available, I just don think that many people in L.A. care about the Dodgers. I may be wrong, but espn stats say they still only attract 3/4 the size of the stadium in the second largest potential market in MLB.

        To your argument against the second article, I ask what difference does it make? How does the state of the teams internal issues affect fan participation?

        To the quote you used about ” blessed with unparalleled opportunities” you seem smart enough to not use such fallacious reasoning. I hope you dont expect to sway me to do so, so we’ll both just disregard that quote. By the way, falling for logical fallacies is allot more telling of a persons judgmental abilities than grammatical errors.

        Anyway, this quibbling over market size does not much matter to the overall premise of my argument; why the Phillies should go after big free agents.

        Again I used your calculations so there wouldnt be any debate over numbers. I added to that, again the dumping of Lee, and “HALLADAY” (didnt show up in spell check) which would allow for roughly 80m. You say dont trade Halladay; o.k. i can live with his contract, but where you and I must part ways is over the Lee contract. Now I wont argue with you over your “conventional wisdom” again, another fallacy, but yes, I does make sense to dump lee for Grienke. Grienke is 28, Lee 34. Maybe you weren’t thinking when you wrote that nonsense down. As for paying Lees salary, why? hes only owed a little bit over 80m. As far as I know texas was really considering acquiring him. Why would you think we would have to pay part of his salary, for a CY Young caliber pitcher?

        Also there are alot of starters on my list that are not Cy Young winners but finished with a better record than Lee.

        You keep your 120 million dollar 34yr old “maybe”, I opt to get younger, and spread that money out to some position players. WE HAVE NO OUTFIELDERS OR 3RD BASEMAN FOR 2013 DO YOU REMEMBER?

    • EricL

      October 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Do you stand by your assertion that Amaro has been “miserly?”

      Because, I mean, now I think you’ve changed your response to: “Well, sure the Phillies spend a lot of money, but Amaro didn’t spend most of it and they can spend more than the huge amount they’re already spending.”

      That’s really wrong and misguided, but it’s not what you argued in the first place.

      And are you aware that there’s a luxury tax in baseball that penalizes teams for exceeding it? It’s not like these teams can just spend infinite sums of money.

      • ARc

        October 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

        Im just saying that according to market size Philly has the 3rd largest, the Dodgers have the 7th largest
        philles attendance is 100.8 % while the Dodgers 73.3%
        And to touch on erics earlier hypothesis that winning teams is correlated with attendance, this is not necessarily true for instance the height of Phillies attendance has grown with the phillies subsequent decline in post season appearance length, same for the Cardinals. In 2011 the year of their WS victory and 2012 attendance has actually dropped. I think attendance would have a stronger correlation to market size. Also, the teams with the highest payroll seem to consistently have the largest attendance.

        As for my “Miserly” comment, I can see now how I allowed the anchoring/ adjustment heuristic to cause my error. It seemed from the amount of players the Dodgers acquired that Amaro hadn’t done much. This is in fact true, but not in the way that I thought. In fact, it seems Amaro has spent considerably more , but has gotten less product.

        Amaro signed in his tenure around 550,000,000M during the span of 3 seasons; 6 players in one season.
        Colletti, 700,000M; 10 signings in one season. So I guess upon deeper study, im wrong about the “miserly” comment, in fact it seems like Amaro has over spent relative to the Dodgers and gotten less bang for his buck, at least star power wise. Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, J Papelbon, and Jimmy Rollins.
        Colletti has gotten; Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Joe Blanton, Matt Kemp, Shane Victorino, Chad Billingsley, and Clayton Kershaw. WTF??????
        as to your restatement of my argument, yes, that is exactly what Im saying. The Phillies have spent a lot and they can spend more. However, my premise is and has been that, If the Dodgers can spend towards a certain threshold with a smaller market, than what is stopping us from spending more? Also, how is adding more high profile free agents infringing on the luxury tax? Please provide the math on that.

      • schmenkman

        October 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm

        That’s the first time I’ve ever seen LA described as a “smaller market”.

        The math on the tax threshold has already been provided, but here it is again:

        178 M is the luxury tax threshold
        -10 M is for benefits
        =168 M is available for salaries
        -138 M is already committed to 10 players based on the 2nd article below
        =30 M is available for all other positions

        If they spend more than $30 M more in 2013 and therefore go over the $178 M luxury tax threshold, any additional spending will be taxed at 17.5% of the excess amount. That’s the rate for a first-time offender. If a team goes over for a second straight year, the tax is 30%. The 3rd straight year it’s 40%. 4th straight year and on: 50%. A year in which a team is under the threshold resets the rate back to the original 17.5% for next time.

        The 17.5% in itself isn’t that onerous, but no business likes throwing away money, and it does get more onerous with successive years.

        Again, this article might be helpful:

        Also this:

      • George

        October 10, 2012 at 1:15 am


        I doubt if either of those articles will help. They’ll probably be too heuristic and not have nearly enough run-ons and sentence fragments for someone like ARc.

  11. Whatever

    October 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t need a W-L record or sabermetrics to know that Cliff Lee was an awesome good pitcher this year. He had only one start he went less than 5 innings despite battling an oblique injury. A couple of the other games where he gave up a run or two in the 6-8 innings, you wouldn’t have noticed that much if the Phillies ever had any runs on the board for him. When every game was a tight, low-scoring affair …. you notice. And if there were a better bullpen, he could have been helped out a little more. What I do know is that dude puts out 100% everytime he goes on the field. He’s a real competitor … and a talented one at that.

  12. Pingback: Cliff Lee Should Be A Cy Young Candidate Despite 6-9 Record « CBS Philly

  13. KB

    October 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Eric, you’re one of the few who understands Cliff Lee.

  14. hk

    October 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

    While lack of run support definitely played a part in Cliff Lee not even being considered for the CYA, Charlie’s mis-management also deserves some of the blame. Off the top of my head, I remember the following:

    1. In Cliff’s first start at PGH, Charlie’s unwillingness to use Papelbon for a 4-out save quite possibly cost the Phils and Cliff Lee a win. Charlie’s excuse was that he didn’t want to overwork his closer (even though it was the 2nd game of the year and it followed an off day).

    2. In the epic 10 inning shut-out at SF, Charlie allowing Thome (instead of Polanco or Mayberry) to face LOOGY Javier Lopez cost the Phils a better shot at taking the lead in the top of the 11th.

    3. In another early season game against HOU that the Phils eventually won in extra innings, Chad Qualls was called on to save a 2-run lead for Lee and Qualls blew the save. Why was Qualls closing instead of Papelbon you ask? Because Papelbon was used the day before to close out a 4-run victory over HOU. Remember a month earlier when Charlie didn’t want to overuse Papelbon and have him go for a 4 out save with a 1 run lead? I guess he was saving hm to close out 4-run victories over the worst team in MLB.

    In three of Lee’s first five starts, Charlie’s sub-optimal management impacted Lee’s (and the team’s) chances to get a W. I suspect that there are more examples later in the season, too.

  15. get good luck work

    October 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

    But when it comes to meant influencing of Luck, its much weaker locked in in the minds of people.

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