1. The reason it matters that Owens was young is because he can improve! Uribe has already entered his prime with little to no hope of signifigantly improving. However, Owens has a good chance to improve. Sure, Owens was useless in 2007. But the trade doesnt effect 2007, it effects 2008. Owens was going to be a much better player than Uribe in 2008, simple as that. Maybe not in 2007, but it was his rookie season. Cut him some slack.
While it might matter for evaluating the overall impact on the Sox for the next 5 years, it does not matter at all for assessing whether it improves the Sox in 2008 over 2007. We are not comparing Owens to Uribe. We are comparing the switch of Swisher taking playing time from Owens and Cabrera taking playing time from Uribe. Swisher is also 26, so you get his improvement. Cabrera is 33, while Uribe is 29, so it's MORE likely that Cabrera will decline than Uribe.
2. Ill agree that speed is a little overrated, but speed never slumps. If Juan Uribe is in a slump, then he is in a slump.(gosh, id hate to see a Uribe slump) However, if Jerry Owens isnt hitting the ball great, he can slap a ball towards the 6 hole and beat out a hit. Speed ultimately can raise your average and how many times a player reaches base. Simple as that. Maybe he beats out a few more double play possibilities. Maybe speed is a little overrated, but it isnt useless. Your looking at speed as just stolen bases, but its not.
On that note, I think that speed can greatly effect defense. There will be more balls hit in the gap that maybe Jerry Owens' speed could reach than Swishers speed could even think about getting to. Speed helps. Ill be the first to agree there are more important things like...judging a fly ball. But still, flat out speed is more valuable than that at times.
Sure, speed slumps. Hammys ache and your knees, wrists and ankles get sore. A good slide step and catcher neutralize speed, the same way a good pitcher stops your hitting.
And regardless of that, the question is what's the net result over 162 games? Owens just doesn't beat out enough grounders to be a very valuable hitter. That .636 OPS tells you almost all of what you need to know. Rant and rave about his speed, if the end result is a .636 OPS, he sucks no matter how many grounders he beats out or how many bases he steals.
Speed CAN impact defense, but the question is whether it does or not. Judge him by the results not the speed. And the results generally says that Owens is somewhere between a slightly below average to a slightly above average fielder. And they also say that Cabrera is not much of an improvement at all over Uribe in defense.
05worldserieschamps wrote:3. I totally agree that they score more runs with Swisher than Owens. However, there will be situations and times when Owens would have helped more than Swisher. Thats my point. He brings a different type of play the Sox dont have right now. If they face a Sabathia, Carmona, Santana or Bonderman and are getting shut down offensively, maybe Owens can make something happen and get a run Swisher couldnt with straight out hitting. Of course they get more runs with Swisher, but Owens still gets runs Swisher cant. I honestly believe that there isnt anything Juan Uribe can do that Orlando Cabrera can't. And I would probably rather have Orlando Cabrera is 162 of 162 games this year.
Who gives a rat's butt if Jerry Owens steals a base on August 4th to help you win a game? You have to add into that assessment the fact that he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat in the middle of the Pacific in 161 other games. If they get more runs with Swisher, they win more. Period. No amount of hand waving about Owens' speed changes that basic fact.
05worldserieschamps wrote:4. I can mostly agree with that statement, however I dont think they won IN SPITE of it. Pitching doesnt win championships, pitching AND hitting wins championships. Pitching was our best attribute in 2005, however small ball may mean scoring more runs over the long term, but also for more wins. The small ball approach is built when you have good pitching and are facing good pitching, which is why its successful in the playoffs. However, point #4 wasnt a big point anyway. It just looks better to have 5 points.
No, small ball will NEVER score you more runs over the long term and will never get you more wins. And there's no evidence that small ball works better in the play-offs. Small ball strategies might work better in a run environment when teams score 3 or fewer runs per game, but that has not desribed baseball in about 100 years.
05worldserieschamps wrote:5. In some situations, yes. But last year, we needed someone to have an average over .276, and we didnt. Having .300 hitters helps, regardless of how poor you say the measurment is. And, for the most part, walks are going to come. but having someone that can flat out hit is extremely important. Not to say Owens is that guy, but average isnt a completely useless stat.
No, walks are not just going to come. Drawing a walk is a specific skill that some hitters have and other do not. No one said BA is completely useless, but they are a very incomplete assessment of a hitter's contributions. And, besides, it is totally irrelevant to the Owens/Swisher discussion, since Owens isn't a high average hitter.