1975 was George Foster’s coming out season. After a full and mediocre 1972, he played only bits and pieces of 1973 and 1974 before busting out in the 1975. He was still two years away from his best season, where he was the only player in the 1970s or 1980s to hit 50 homers in a season.
How good was he in 1975? He was fifth in the league in Slugging, and tenth in the league in OPS and OPS+. The ironic thing is, most of the people he finished behind were his own teamates.
So let’s look at the tale of the tape:
Runs Created 85
Batting Runs Above Replacement 42
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 31
Equalized Average .304
Wins Above Replacement Player 8.1
Larry Herdon was a great role player for the Tigers, but he was just that. His 1984 season was pretty average, and as you can tell above, George Foster was well above average. Had he played on another team, he probably would have gotten more MVP consideration then he did.
So the Tiger’s streak ends….at one.
Scorecard 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 1
You can read Brian’s analysis at Tigerblog when he decides he wants to face reality.
Finally, some news.
The Reds signed backup catcher Javier Valentin to a one year deal. He’s a switch hitter, but he did much better on the left side against right handed pitchers (.269/.333/.462) then he did against righties (.109/.146/.109).
He hardly lit it up at the plate (Equalized Average of .238), but he’s an above average fielder. He makes a fine compliment to LaRue.
Also, Juan Castro and his career .600 OPS left for greener pastures. Good riddance, as he’s now the Twins problem. When you think of replacement player, you think Juan Castro.
Dave Concepcion had a fine career for the Reds. The nine time All-Star racked up over 2,300 hits, and won five gold glove awards. The tandem of Concepcion and Morgan is just as good, if not better, then the double play combo of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell.
But for the first time so far, the Reds are out-matched. Yes, Concepcion did win a gold glove. But so did Tram. And Concepcion really had a pretty mediocre season with the bat. Let’s take a look”
Runs Created 58
Batting Runs Above Replacement 19
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 48
Equalized Average .262
Wins Above Replacement Player 7.4
The OPS+ of 88 really tells the story here. Concepcion had only 29 extra base hits (Tram had more doubles alone), and his equalized average of .262 is quite plain. The only statisitcal category that Concepcion took was FRAR.
So I concede. Tram wins, and the Reds now have a single blemish on their record.
Scorecard – 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 1
Brian told me we’re about a third of our way to our goal in raising enough money to buy Diamond Mind. If you want to help (we all know you do), check out what I’m talking about here. Or here. Or even here.
You can read Brian’s analysis at Tigerblog, once he finds time to stop gloating about his victory and actually writes it up.
Things are heating up in the Hot Stove!!! As I take a look at ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker, I see that a grand total of five players have signed. So there’s still a couple of hundred left to go.
Doug Brocail was the first to sign, when he inked a deal with his old team, the Rangers. I remember Brocail throwing in Detroit, and he had a mighty fine 2004 season. I’d pay a million for a replica next year.
Then the Giants somehow managed to increase their average age, Brian Sabean’s true goal, by signing Omar Vizquel. The former gold glover must have the dirt on the Giant’s GM, because he finagled a three year deal. Mr. Perricone over at OBM has a nice little analysis.
Cory Lidle re-signed with the Phillies. Nothing too earth shattering there.
Then the Montreal/Washington Expos/Senators/Nationals made a splash by signing the overrated Vinny Castilla (read why over at RWBB) and should be gold glover Christian Guzman. Guzman signed the richest deal of the offseason, 4 years, 16.8 million. Not too shabby for a slap hitting, slick fielding shortstop. I question the Castilla move, but the Giants probably would have been way better off getting Guzman at that price. And it also might force Barry Larkin’s hand and send him into retirement.
Rumor has it that Pedro Martinez is waiting to sign with the Reds until they finalize the deal that would bring Randy Johnson to Cincinnati. Or maybe I’m just dreaming like those guys in the Dish Planet commercials.
Hall of Famer number four??
Well, not quite. Pete Rose played like a hall of famer, but because of his, um, extracurricular activities, he hasn’t been reinstated to the game.
But Charlie Hustle had a fine season. He won the World Series MVP, Finished fifth in the MVP voting, was second to teammate Joe Morgan in OBP, and led the league in runs scored. Oh, and he also led the league with 47 doubles. So let’s take a look at the tale of the tape.
Home Runs 7
Runs Created 113
Batting Runs Above Replacement 60
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 13
Equalized Average .306
Wins Above Replacement Player 8.0
Howard Johnson hit 12 homers in 1984, and that’s the only blemish when comparing the stats. But we all know Pete wasn’t a homerun hitter.
So another easy one With the win, the Reds now have what I consider an insurmountable lead. For whatever reason, Brian has decided to press on, and further humiliate himself. And he’s even balking about picking up Diamond Mind to put the matter to rest. You can convince him to buy the simulation by helping me with our little fund raiser. The details are here.
Scoredcard – 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 0
You can read Brian’s analysis of Howard Johnson at Tigerblog when he finds the time to defend himself.
The Reds signed backstop Jason LaRue to a one year contract. He’ll be raking in the princely sum of $3 million.
LaRue had a nice season last year. And although his batting average isn’t anything special, he’s been solid the last four. On top of that, his OPS has incrementally increased in these last four years. And this is where not seeing a lot of the Red’s games doesn’t help, but at least according to his Fielding Runs Above Average over at Baseball Prospectus, he’s a mediocre fielder.
In fact, he’s pretty average overall (.267 EQA last year, 253 for his career), which isn’t bad. It’s better then being below average. And $3 million is close to the average wage. so I think I like this deal. It’s better then going out and overspending for a Jason Varitek.
So the Reds first move is hardly big news, but they took care of one of their holes.
Free agent season starts today (Or the Hot Stove League, which I never really understood the meaning of), and it’s time for the Reds to get down to work. Basically, the Reds need arms. It doesn’t matter whether Austin Kearns becomes a gold glove third basemen, or whether Ken Griffey, Jr. actually plays an entire season. It all won’t mean jack if they don’t improve their pitching staff.
The Reds finished second to last in ERA, which basically means they had the worst pitching staff because only the Rockies were worst. They were also tied for third worst in WHIP. To make matters worse, they were simply horrible on the road. In eighty one road games, the Red’s finished dead last in ERA (5.66) and in WHIP (1.63). It’s hard to win with even a great offense if you’re spotting the other team five runs in most games.
I’m sure every fan of every team thinks this, but Pedro Martinez would do the trick. Then we could sign Mr. groundball Derek Lowe as our second starter, and fill in the rest with our current guys. Ohhhh, I’m salivating right now.
I know a lot of this isn’t realistic, but the point is, we need pitchers. Hopefully management comes through.
When I started this blog so close to the off season, I knew coming up with good content would be tough. I didn’t realize it would be this tough, so I’m going to write about what didn’t happen with the Reds.
Cincinnati Reds manager Dave Miley didn’t receive a single vote for Manager of the Year. I can’t complain too much about Bobby Cox winning the award, but Miley came close to a .500 season with little expectation, no arms, and once again, no Ken Griffey, Jr.
LaRussa came in second. How much do you have to coach when you’re sitting on that lineup? Felipe Alou got some votes despite having the best player to ever lace up a pair of spikes. I just find it hard to believe that out of the 32 ballots, not one of them even gave a third place vote to Miley.
Let’s move on to Hall of Famer number three.
Comparing Joe Morgan in 1975 and in 1976 is kind of like comparing the Reds in 1975 and 1976. It’s also like comparing Star Wars to the Lord of the Rings. You really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. Lou Whitaker was a fine player in his time, but Joe Morgan is simply the best of all time at his position. He won the NL MVP in 1975 (and 1976), and he led the league in OPS, walks, and OBP. And if you like defense, he walked away with a gold glove, his third of five consecutive gold gloves.
So let’s take a look at the tale of the tape:
Home Runs 17
Runs Created 118
Batting Runs Above Replacement 86
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 50
Equalized Average .354
Wins Above Replacement Player 14.6
This really is too easy. Joe Morgan, like Tony Perez, pulls off the clean sweep. If you take away Lance Parrish’s homerun total vs. Johnny Bench’s, the 1975 Reds have beat their 1984 Tiger’s counterpart in EVERY, SINGLE STATISTIC!!!!!!
Score Card – 1975 Reds 3, 1984 Tigers ZERO
As much as I’d like to see this reign of terror continue, I’m still convinced Brian will balk at conceding defeat until it’s proven with the simulation. If you want to see me completely crush his will, you can help out by going to my past post here. It explains how you can help us raise money to buy Diamond Mind, and prove on the field (or computer) of battle that the 1975 Reds would have mopped the floor with the 1984 Tigers.
You can read Brian’s analysis of Lou Whitaker at Tigerblog.
Let’s move on to Hall of Fame player number 2. Although Perez may have been a questionable Hall of Fame pick, he definitely had a solid 1975 season, despite being 33.
One of five players on the team with an OPS+ above 120 (George Foster would have made six, but just missed the cut with a 119), Tony Perez drove in 109 runs, second on the team. And he was only one short of team leader Johnny Bench. Tony may have been five years removed from what was probably his best season (1970), but he still put up solid numbers. Let’s take a look:
Runs – 74
Homeruns – 20
RBIs – 109
Average – .282
OBP – .350
Slg. – .466
OPS+ – 124
Runs Created – 83
Batting Runs Above Replacement – 37
Field Runs Above Replacement – 21
Equalized Average – .290
Wins Above Replacement Player – 6.4
Tony Perez wasn’t on top of his game, but he definitely had a nice season when compared to Tiger’s regular first basemen Dave Bergman. Even with Darrell Evans’ pathetic contribution at first base in 1984, it’s NO CONTESTO. Mr. Perez wins hands down.
Score Card – 1975 Reds 2, 1984 Tigers 0
Brian was nice enough to tell me we’re now a quarter way to our goal of raising enough money to buy Diamond Mind to put these two teams head to head. To learn how you can help, go here. Go there now!!!
You can read Brian’s analysis of Dave Bergman at Tigerblog.