Friday, January 27, 2012

The Kind Of Photo You Know You Will See In Your Dreams Soon

Thanks to Big League Stew for populating my nightmares for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Derrick Rose: Fun With Monopoly Money


Though taxes are a burden for us (shrinking) middle class workers (about 33-41%), 80% of our government's revenue comes from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. But what is the difference between these two? Assuming that Derrick's tax rate stays at 15% -- though Warren Buffet thinks this should be higher --

Salary + Shoe Deals = Swimming In Cash

Rose signed a 5-year extension with the Bulls at the beginning of this season that will pay him approximately $94 million. This is roughly $18.8M per season.

But as we all know, Derrick Rose has endorsements and if what Marc Stein is reporting to be true, Derrick Rose will have a "lifetime deal" from Adidas that will pay him $250M over the next 10 years.

Fun With Numbers

Let's keep things simple and just assume averages in these calculations. And for more simplicities sake, I'll just use his salary and lifetime deal numbers.

Taxes and Inflation

Rose's salary, adjusting for the 15% tax rate will equal around $16M per year. This brings us to about $80M for his salary from the Bulls. But we're missing something here and that something is inflation (we'll say it will be 2%) his $80M salary "shrinks" even further to about $72.5M. This brings his salary to about $14.5M per year.

We can do the same with the Adidas deal: That $250M "shrinks" to about $174M (when adjusting for taxes and inflation) and brings us to about $17.4M annually. And this is just one endorsement deal, he has several.

Putting The Money To Work

Making about $32M per year is, well, speechless -- I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller. DRose and his generational wealth will eventually have to be invested. And for someone of his capital, hedge funds will probably offer the better strategies. But hedge funds don't always beat the market, and that's not the goal of investing, anyway; the goal is to not lose money. To me, if Rose owned an index fund (S&P 500) and commodities (oil, gold, silver, and water), he'd be hedged enough. He could also take some play money and invest in real estate (now's a great time to buy) and businesses. Heck, DRose could buy Englewood and call it "Rosewood" (patent pending).

Regardless of his investment approach, Rose's investment advisers will have to know the importance of valuation. And shoe deals. Gotta love the shoe deals.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Idaho Cubs: Dancing

Submitted without comment:

...[W]ho knew the [Cubs] culture would slant so young and goofy? Here's footage of the Idaho Cubs being taught the dance moves to LMFAO's hit song "Party Rock Anthem" at a recent prospect camp practice. (Admittedly, the connection here is kind of a stretch: The Idaho Cubs are sponsored by the Boise Hawks, Chicago's short-season Single-A affiliate. But it doesn't mean we can't have fun with it in the middle of January.)

The video shows the Idaho Cubs receiving dance instruction the entire time — no, seriously, it actually does — but the youngsters really start to be sorry for party rocking around the 1:45 mark.

Anyway, remember that you saw it here first: Shuffling skills are the new inefficiency.

Maychance the major league club will finally t—teach me how to Dougie?

Yes, Bulls

This Bulls post is long overdue. This is what happens when one starts a new job, generating new business models, and thinking about ways I could use my Ka-Bar on my next camping trip. Ayways, this season is going by quick and it seems like the Bulls are playing almost every night (hooray!) which is a blessing because I was getting maxed out on YouTube videos — The Wire clips (Omar listenin'!), Marketplace Whiteboards (more Junk Bonds, please!), and Brules Rules (foryourhealth!) can only do so much.

(yes, this is what I do in my free time — God, help me)

Luol Deng
In the first game against the Lakers, after a horrendous third quarter (where I believe the Bulls shot an abysmal 18%) I tweeted the following:

Although DRose made that unbelievable floater over Gasol, the player of the game was really Luol Deng:

We saw the benefits of a healthy Deng last season, producing a 9.9 Win Share — the second highest of his career (he had an 11.3WS in 06-07):

I wrote last season that as Luol Deng and the Bench Mob goes, as goes the Bulls. I think Deng (Dengbang, anyone?) is the most important player on this Bulls team. I won't change my stance on this. He can do a lot of things: defend, score, rebound, pass and I do not think that we have the depth at the 3 to compensate him going down for an extended period of time (though I yearn for Jimmy Butler). Let's hope he stays healthy the rest of the season.

Which brings me to my next point...

No DRose? We'll be aaaiiight... For a little while
With Derrick Rose being shelved for turf tow toe, C.J. Watson and John Lucas III have seen increased playing time. This got me thinking about the Bulls output at the point with DRose sitting on the bench. The results are, for the most part, encouraging:

The Basics - PPG, Assists Per Game, Turnovers Per Game

The Percentages - Turnover%, TrueShooting%, EffectiveFieldGoal%

Win Shares - Offensive, Defensive, Total
This is a team that, despite Rose being hurt, continues to find ways to win. Most teams in the NBA would be envious of the Bulls depth. And this is exactly why a trade DOESN'T need to happen — because every night, a trade of sorts happens, and that is playing some of the guys on the bench who would be starters for other teams.

With Rose out, we'll survive and we'll find ways to win. And if I'm Coach Thibs, I rest Rose for as long (and often) as possible — this season is a season of attrition — the team with the most depth, less injuries, best coaching will win the NBA championship.

Boozer and Joakim
Last month I talked about the Narrative Ninja associated with Carlos Boozer and it's true; Boozer gets blamed for everything:

Boozer has a win share of 2.1 and is tied for second on the team with Luol Deng.

But Joakim? That's a different story. It seems like our center is getting off to a not so good start.

More Butler, Please
Yes, I know he's a rookie but, as a Marquette Alum, seeing Jimmy Butler on the bench is absolutely killing me!

My Pick
I have the Bulls meeting Oklahoma City in the Finals — Bulls in 6.

Man, it's good to have the Bulls back.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicago Cubs, Matt Garza Far Apart; Cubs, Rodrigo Lopez Much Closer

In a weird some of duopoly of events, the Chicago Cubs have reached a major impasse with their ace RHP Matt Garza and meanwhile re-signed the minor league fodder that is RHP Rodrigo Lopez.

The Garza news is pretty disconcerting:

A gap that big ($4.5M) shows a major difference in expectations between Garza and the Cubs. Honestly, given that Garza earned about $6M in 2011, the midpoint seems like the only sensible number of the three out there. Oh well.

On Thursday afternoon, news broke that the Cubs had re-signed Rodrigo Lopez, who played a round of roulette in the Cubs' 2011 Rotation of Death, twirling to the tune of a 4.42 ERA, 5.36 FIP, and 4.62 SIERA.

In the past, Lopez's FIP has best predicted his ERA, so, y'know, that's not good. But at the same time, Lopez is coming in on a minor league contract and could potentially eat some low-leverage innings as a spot starter or long man. So, hey, why not?

Personally, I'd take my chances with someone younger like Kyle Davies or a minor leaguer Dirk Hayhurst, but whutevs. In the grand scheme, it's probably not a huge difference.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA, Stop PIPA

A humor cartoon from the great
We like to follow the rules here at Cubs Stats, at least as much as we can, but as Americans we have that awesome ability and duty to set and change the rules.

Well, we wanted to black out Cubs Stats today in solidarity with sites like Wikipedia, Google,, Reddit, icanhascheezburger, and — as seen above — The Oatmeal. Unfortunately, my HTML magic just made a sad little puff from my hands instead of the dramatic lightning bolts I had intended, so instead I'll just post about SOPA and PIPA today and refrain from writing about the Cubs or White Sox or Bulls and such.

Consider going to the Wikipedia page, typing in your Zip Code, and then promptly contacting your congressman. Never underestimate the power of annoying politicians and their interns.

Why are SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PROTECT IP Act — good lord!) so evil?

Well, for me, it is two reasons:

1) SOPA and PIPA border dangerously close to censorship. At Cubs Stats, we try to use only our own photos, photos with Creative Commons licenses, or photos in the public domain. So we are not at any real threat of being shut down — from my understanding. But the fact that so many other sites, such as my YouTube page which has used other's photos in the past, could get shut down without due process.

PIPA will also dramatically effect which foreign sites we can visit. Yes, like China and North Korea and Iran, the US government (no doubt at the behest of some landed gentry) have taken ir upon themselves to imitate the most closed and oppressive governments — y'know, to protect the people from the evil pirated stuff.

A little bit of history: I play guitar.

For a long time, I got my guitar tabs (basic written forms of guitar music) from an American guitar tab website — I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten its name now — but at some arbitrary point, guitar tab publishing companies (the people who printed the physical books of guitar tabs, y'know, those dozens of books I own but would have never purchased had I not learned how to play guitar first from online sources) realized they were losing money. So, they dressed their lobbyist in a nice suite, lined his pockets with Benjamins, and sent him teary-eyed to a congressman.

Before long, the site had to shut down. Why? Apparently the user-generated guitar tabs (as in: People listened to the songs, then transcribed them themselves) were deemed a breach of intellectual property rights. Bye-bye American guitar tab sites.

Enter: and

Yes. Foreign sites. All in English, soaking up the spilled readership from the American sites. Naturally, enter the lobbyist again. And now here comes SOPA and PIPA.

Basically, this process of stifling American websites only to see foreign competitors appear has got the American businessmen pissing in their fifteen-hundred dollar suites, c'mon! (I just quoted Arrested Development. I hope we don't get shut down.)

2) SOPA and PIPA reflect the broken perspective of American businesses. Instead of inventing something new, many prominent American businesses have taken to buying weird copyrights and suing over technology they didn't invent, or they find similar products and try to shut them down instead of making their product better.

I'm a reclusive economist. Will's a consummate businessman. We like new, innovative business models. And what SOPA and PIPA represent is the backwardness of American businessmen and the lack of innovation that has stunted American growth since the 1990s.

Instead of finding a new business model, American companies — from the print media to the car makers — have become litigious and frightened. They turn to their congressmen instead of their visionaries.

Well that, frankly, is not intelligent. It's dumb. It's cowardly. It's the mark of sad little fools who have forgotten or never learned how capitalism is supposed to work.

Look: I like intellectual property rights. Without them, my words (which is my job) can easily be stolen and sold. That's a pretty large bummer (though, if I'm properly attribute, maybe I don't care).

Still, like the Oatmeal cartoon said, this is like trying to catch the lion that escaped from the zoo by taking a flame thrower to a basket of kittens.

And that's not just dumb, it's evil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Cubs Convention: Videos And Afterthoughts

I've said it before, and it remains true: The Chicago Cubs have one of the most handsome front offices in baseball history. Frankly, it's a bit eerie.

Anyway, I was out of town for the Cubs Convention, so some of this footage is the first I'm seeing of the what Theo and the gang had to say last weekend. And mostly, they're saying all the right stuff.

I remember when Will and I went to the 2011 Cubs Convention. A sort of pall hung over the place. We enjoyed and greatly appreciated the Ron Santo memorial events and memorabilia (he had died about a month earlier), but the rest of the convention felt like quiet desperation as Jim Hendry assured us everything was okay. But everyone could tell his seat looked uncomfortably hot.

This year, no one is assuring us everything is okay. Svuem (in the first video) says the team is not as young as it appears (which is a good thing?) and that they are building, not re-building. I buy both suggestions, and I think the second is an excellent political move — because, let's face it, the Cubs need a few miracles in order to reach to the playoffs in 2012, but on the other hand, they still have a few legit stars on the roster including Starlin Castro and Matt Garza (for now).

All this to say: I wish I had gone this year.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wrigley Field Renovations Are Good, So Shut Up

Look, I understand Wrigley Field is a beautiful place. Most ballparks are on the outskirts of industrial parks or surrounded by asphalt parking lot deserts. Wrigley has a neighborhood charm and an old-timey feel. It also has pretty bricks and ivy. And urinal troughs. Oh, and those bricks, though pretty, are also an idiotic safety hazard in the name of aesthetics and tradition, but whutevz.

Anyway. The 2012 Cubs Convention came with the announcing of the Cubs' plans to give more than just a lipstick refresher to the ol' stadium. They plan to do this in right field:

That's right. A digital scoreboard / jumbotron thingy in right field.

I'll let my man McGinnis take it from here:
I have news for people. Wrigley Field is not a museum. It is a functioning major league ballpark whose job is to maximize revenues for the team so that it can have a strategic edge over the other teams that don't make as much money. That is the system as it stands, so those are the rules the team should play by. Voluntarily leaving revenue uncollected because a few fans want to remember what Wrigley looked like in years past is stupid.

Wrigley was originally built without an upperdeck, that was added in 1927. The permanent bleachers weren't added until 1937. Those additions were necessary to keeping Wrigley Field as the home of the Cubs. If they couldn't have done those additions, then the Cubs would have had to move. But now, all of a sudden, any time the Cubs want to simply keep up with the economics of the game, they have to fight fans for the right to make a change in their own ballpark. It took a threat from the Commissioner of Baseball that the Cubs would not host home playoff games if they didn't get lights to finally have have lights installed.
Emphasis mine.

Frankly: There is no reason to let the New Thing scare you.

Wrigley (you know, that stadium named after the gum magnate) is not magical. Our experiences there may be magical, but that's got a lot more to do with the humans on the grass, on the clay, and in the seats — and almost nothing to do with whether or not there is a Bud Zone.

Can The Chicago Cubs Trade Alfonso Soriano?

Yes. Of course. Anybody can be traded. If the Chicago Cubs eat the entirety of Alfono Soriano's contract and then throw even more money on top of that, even the Japanese teams would be clamoring for his rights. Any one player is tradeable — but paying other teams to take players away does not make sense.

So the question is more: Who would want Alfonso Soriano if the Cubs demand a reasonably fair trade?

And that, frankly, is crazy difficult to answer.

My colleague at Fangraphs, Eric Seidman, took a look into Soriano's value this morning, and I'm sad to report he did not find any secret, over-looked gem &#151 some secret stat that makes Soriano an asset to the Cubs.

The truth is Soriano is more fourth outfielder than starter now, which is a bummer because the Cubs are paying him top dollar. Still, Soriano has great value. Seidman puts it perfectly:
If Soriano was on the free agent market right now, a number of teams would seek his services. He can hit lefties and field well, and that is usually enough for a team to have interest in a one- or two-year deal at $2-3 million per season.
So, if we think of Soriano as a free agent, the 36-year-old looks like an undervalued asset, not an overpaid albatross. Smart teams — that is, teams who like to platoon outfielders and are familiar with advanced fielding statistics like UZR — will no doubt understand how Soriano's value could easily exceed that $2-3M mark. But, given Alfonso's age, it would need to be a team in contention as well.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Carlos Zambrano Traded To Miami Marlins

Welp, Theo Epstein / Jed Hoyer have done it. They have answered the biggest question heading into the 2012 MLB Season — they have trade RHP Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins for 25-year-old RHP Chris Volstad.

It is no coincidence, I brazenly assume, that I just wrote a piece about Zambrano in the Venezuelan Winter Leauges, mentioning how his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching statistic) and peripherals were ugly, to say the least.

The timing of this trade is good: Volstad is cheap, even though the Chicago Cubs have essentially bought out the remainder of Zambrano's contract, and Volstad is six years younger.

My colleague Chris Cwik is on the trade analysis:
All told, the Cubs and Marlins swapped fifth starters. Zambrano just hasn’t been all that good — or consistent –over the past couple of seasons. And he caused huge headaches for his coaching staff and the Cubs’ front office. Volstad might offer little upside, but he’s been nearly as good as Zambrano — minus the drama. At the very least, Epstein spends less money on Tylenol this season. At best, he also gets the better pitcher.
I love Zambrano, and I hope he does well in Miami. But there's no denying: This was the right trade and a good one for the Cubs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicago Bears Fire Jerry Angelo

The Chicago Bears have fired Jerry Angelo, their general manager since 2001.

Maybe I am a touch more sensitive then most, but I rather dislike how volatile the employment structure of the NFL is. For instance, if a man is good enough to earn an extension one year, then what can possibly change in his level of ability a few years later?