.

Hot Stove: 1/23

The Phillies picked up a solid outfielder, while the Rays pulled in a pair of good players. Two Hall of Famers also passed away, with one of them being documented in a long career recap.

Stat of the Day: On-Base Plus Slugging

Abbreviation: OPS.  Leaders: All Time: Babe Ruth (1.164).  Single Season: Barry Bonds (1.422 in 2004).  Active: Albert Pujols (1.022).  2012: Miguel Cabrera (.999).

OPS is one of my favorite stats.  It is the simplest way to gage a players cumulative offensive performance; the stat is simply calculated by adding OBP (on base percentage) and SLG (slugging percentage).  Therefore, it is combining your ability to get on base and your power.  Typically, it favors power hitters, since those players are walked more often, resulting in a higher OBP, and the SLG is already taken care of because they are, as mentioned before, power hitters.  Though the league leader usually sits somewhere just above 1.000, Babe Ruth managed a career mark of 1.164, which is absolutely incredible, considering no player has reached that number in a single season since Barry Bonds, who was on steroids at the time, posted a single season record of 1.422 in 2004.  Ruth achieved this incredible mark by posting at least a 1.106 in 12 of 13 years from 1919-1932, topping out at 1.379 in 1920.  He led the AL 11 out of 12 years from 1919-1931 as well, then finished second to Jimmy Foxx (1.218) in 1932 and third to Foxx (1.153) and Lou Gehrig (1.030) in 1933.  The only other player ever to post an OPS above 1.100 is Ted Williams, who's 1.115 stands as second best all time.  From 1939-1958 (minus 1943-1945, served in WWII.  He was also limited to 43 games from 1952-1953, served in Korea), he posted an OPS of at least 1.019 every season, and only one year in his career did he ever fail to reach that mark (dismal .791 in 1959, which is still good compared to league standards and fourth best on the Red Sox).  As for single season records, 1.200 has been broken twenty times, 1.250 twelve times, and 1.300 six times, the latter mark only bested by Ruth and Barry Bonds.  Bonds is the only player ever to post a season with an OPS of 1.400, finishing at 1.422 in 2004.  That year, he combined the fourth best slugging percentage of all time (.812) with the best on base percentage of all time (.609) to come out with the incredible 1.422.  Last year, Miguel Cabrera lead the majors with a .999 OPS, marking the first time since 1988 that no player reached 1.000.  In '88, Wade Boggs led the majors at .965.  Last year, Adam LaRoche led the Nationals at a respectable .853.

News

Hall of Famer Stan Musial passed away at 92 years old.

Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away at 82 years old.  It is the first time in history in which two Hall of Famers died on the same day.

When one thinks about the Cardinals, the contemporary fan will think of Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols, but the classic fan and student of the game will think of Stan Musial.  However, one does not have to be a student of the game to know his contributions.  He hit 475 home runs, batted .331, won three MVP's, three World Series, and appeared in 24 All Star Games (from 1959-1962, the All Star Game was held twice a year, so Musial appeared in the Game in 21 different seasons).  In 1963, the Cardinals retired his #6, and in 1969, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  When Musial broke in with St. Louis, the only major league team he ever played for, in 1941, he was a skinny, 20 year old Pennsylvania kid in the shadow of teammates Johnny Mize and Enos Slaughter, but still managed to bat .426 in a twelve game stint.  The Cards let Musial take the starting spot in left field, and he subsequently batted .315 with ten home runs to lead St. Louis to the World Series Championship.  With more playing time in 1943, he blasted off, batting .357 with 13 home runs, not to mention 48 doubles and 20 triples, while striking out just 18 times in 617 at bats.  Think about it: 18 strikeouts in 617 at bats?  Ichiro, the today's contact king, never struck out less than 53 times in a season, with those 53 whiffs coming in 692 at bats in 2001.  All of that, done at age 22, netted Musial his first NL MVP award and his first All Star appearance, an event he would appear in every year (except 1945, when he was in WWII) through 1963, when he retired.  After another strong season in 1944 in which he led the Cardinals to another World Series Championship, he spent 1945 serving in World War II.  In 1946, he came back stronger than ever, hitting 16 home runs, knocking in 103, and batting .365, leading the Cardinals to yet another World Series Championship and winning another MVP.  After hitting 19 home runs in 1947, his power exploded in 1948, and he tore apart the National League with arguably the best season ever put up by a Cardinal.  In 155 games, he hit 39 home runs, knocked in 131, and batted .376 while also knocking 46 doubles and 18 triples.  That totaled to 103 extra base hits, a .702 slugging percentage, a 1.152 OPS, and his third and final MVP.  This production continued into the early part of the '50's, and in 1957, at age 36, he still managed to hit 29 home runs, knock in 102, and bat .351.  His production began to tail off in the later '50's, but in 1962, at 41 years old, he gave a last great season, hitting 19 home runs and batting .330 in 135 games.  In 1963, at 42 years old, he played his final season, hitting 12 home runs and batting .255.  Over his 22 years, he hit 475 home runs (28th all time), knocked in 1951 runs (6th all time), and batted .331 (30th all time).  His 725 doubles are third only to Tris Speaker's 792 and Pete Rose's 746, and even his 177 triples rank 17th.  The 3630 hits are 4th, and his 1377 extra base hits are third only to Hank Aaron's 1477 and Babe Ruth's 1440.  In terms of just the Cardinals, he holds team records in games played (3026), at bats (10972), runs (1949), hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, and walks.

Free Agent Signings

Phillies signed Delmon Young (18 HR, 74 RBI, .267 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 27) to a one year, $750,000 deal (plus up to $2.5 million in incentives).

Rays signed Jamey Wright (5-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 2013 age: 38) to a minor league deal.

Pirates resigned Jeff Karstens (5-4, 3.97 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2013 age: 30) to a one year, $2.5 million deal.

Rays also signed Shelley Duncan (11 HR, 31 RBI, .203 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 33) to a minor league deal.

Blue Jays signed Mark DeRosa (0 HR, 6 RBI, .188 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 38) to a one year, $750,000 deal.

Astros signed Erik Bedard (7-14, 5.01 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 2013 age: 34) to a minor league deal.

Astros also signed Rick Ankiel (5 HR, 15 RBI, .228 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 33-34) to a minor league deal.

Indians signed Ben Francisco (4 HR, 15 RBI, .240 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 31) to a minor league deal.

Reds signed Armando Galarraga (0-4, 6.75 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 2013 age: 31) to a minor league deal.

Indians also signed Ryan Raburn (1 HR, 12 RBI, .171 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 32) to a minor league deal.

Delmon Young brings the Phillies a solid, young bat at the extremely cheap price of $750,000.  Granted, if he plays well enough, the value of the contract can reach over $3 million, but then again, the Phillies are getting a solid player for a cheap price.  The reason that they can sign a 27 year old with 89 career home runs 482 RBI, and a .284 batting average for so cheap is because of numerous off field issues, beginning with him throwing a bat at an umpire in a minor league game in 2006 and most recently culminating with anti-semetic remarks and aggravated harassment against a Jewish panhandler in New York.  On the field, however, he has been a blast to watch.  In 2010, he hit 21 home runs, knocked in 112, and batted .298 in 153 games for the Twins.  Now with the Phillies, he looks to compete for time with fellow outfielders Domonic Brown, John Mayberry, Ben Revere, Laynce Nix, and Darin Ruf.  I forsee Revere, Young, and Mayberry as the starting three in the outfield in 2013. 

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Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies

If your team is not included, please leave a comment.

HR: home runs.  RBI: runs batted in.  AVG: batting average.  SB: stolen bases.  ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched.  K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage

Zack Silverman

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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