January 20, 2023: A Sammich Is A Sammich Is A Sammich

White City v. PR Restaurants

Even though PR vigorously argues for a broad definition of "sandwiches" under Section 4.07 to include food products sold by Qdoba, this argument does not change the fact that burritos, quesadillas, and tacos are not commonly understood to mean "sandwiches."

72 thoughts on “January 20, 2023: A Sammich Is A Sammich Is A Sammich”

  1. Tomorrow I'm attending a funeral for one of my employees. She was the just the kindest most empathetic person. Her husband has major health issues and can't afford health insurance, so I imagine he will have to sell their house. Hopefully he's got family he can move in with. I don't know for sure but I suspect the life insurance policy was minimal due to pre-existing conditions and not being able to afford higher premiums.

    I have a team of 10 and this is the second person to die in the past three years. Both were ladies in their early 40s.

    In other news, my company is implementing a PTO donation policy. She really could have used that these past few months.

  2. welp

    1. I hate that this front office cannot seem to acquire pitching without making trades (for pitchers who inevitably get injured, to boot), and I really dislike that they needed to trade Arráez to do it this time.

        1. López missed half the 2021 season with a rotator cuff injury, and he’s not a free agent until 2025, so yes, there’s plenty of time for him to miss most or all of a season before leaving the Twins.

      1. One of the prospects (maybe/probably the "top" prospect) is Jose Salas. Infielder, mostly 2B/3B. Hit .305/391/405 in 2021 in A/Rk at age 18, and hit .250/.339/.384 at A/A last year at age 19. That makes him young for his level and advancing at the pace you'd expect a decent prospect to advance.

        I'd guess the downside for Salas is contact-hitting ability. If you think he can make enough contact to hit .270 or something, he could slash something like .270/.360/.400, which would put his OPS in the ballpark of what Arraez had over the last three years. But there's a lot of risk since he's only made it as high as A and given his age it's probably 2-3 years before you'd expect him to make the majors. I would say he has legitimate potential as long as he can really field adequately at 2B and/or 3B. 53 SB to 8 CS suggests the above-average speed you would typically associate with a middle infielder.

        Edit: totally misread his bb-ref defensive page (largely because his experience is split over so many league and so many positions), but he has primarily played at SS which would generally suggest better defensive value than having played primarily 2B/3B.

      2. Byron Chourio is going to be the other player in the deal. He'll be 18 next year, so I don't think we can say anything about him based on his minor league numbers.

    2. On the one hand: Yay! Pitching!
      On the other: Boo! Losing Arraez.

      On the third hand, I'm going to ask because I'm lazy: How often has the previous season's batting champ been traded?

        1. I wish it was Kepler, too, but I don't see how Kepler would get Lopez in return. Arraez is under team control for 3 more seasons and Kepler is only under team control for 2 more seasons, plus he's 5 years older than Arraez, and more likely to have already peaked.

          It's also hard for me to reason with some of Kepler's numbers. For 2022, bb-ref had him at 2.1 WAR and fangraphs had him at 2.0 WAR in a season where he played RF exclusively, slashed .227/.318/.348, and only played 115 games. It's not hard for me to believe he has some defensive value, but for a right fielder to slug .348 and not play enough to qualify for the batting title -- I mean I'm sure the math checks out, but that is a bizarre player profile. Of RF with at least 400 PA last season, only Robbie Grossman and Kole Calhoun had a lower SLG.

          I guess his .318 OBP puts him 13th out of the 30 RF that got at least 400 PA, but it's still hard for me to believe that the Marlins would value him anywhere near where they would value Arraez.

      1. Harvey Kuenn was traded from Detroit to Cleveland after winning the batting title in 1959. He was traded for Rocky Colavito, who had won the home run title in 1959.

    3. Last season I had a conversation with Matt Trueblood, wherein the speculation was that the Twins F.O. had a theory that they would try to capitalize on other teams' mistakes. So, swing harder, miss more often, but hit HR when you do get ahold of a mistake... that kind of thing. This theory played out in lots of ways as we looked at it. Suffice it to say, professional players make few mistakes, and then they do things to mitigate them (like play good defense), so this doesn't work out so well a lot of the time.

      Anyway, Arraez was kind of the one exception to this theory, which probably helps explain why they saw him as tradable. And I hate it.

      1. I love Arraez, yet I can't fault the team for trading him away. His knees are a problem, and when it comes to knees in baseball, it just seems like they only get worse and not better. He is at the height of his value. The one thing worse than trading him away, would be to keep him and watch him struggle if his knees get worse (which I think they will). I am reminded of Kubel, who looked so great prior to his knee issues, and it hurt watching his performance fade away to almost nothing. I hope that doesn't happen to Luis, but I fear it might. As far as the return, well we got a solid #3 (possibly #2) type of starter to blend in with our other #2-#4 type stable of starters. Plus, a decent prospect and a flyer of a prospect. I think it is a solid to above average trade in terms of return. It just sucks because Arraez is so likeable and fun to watch hit.

        1. Eventually someone will invent knee PEDs. Until then, I am sadly concerned about Arraez's future.

          (But also, I am totally of two minds on this, and had the Twins not traded Arraez, I'd almost feel better about extending him on a 6-year deal than stringing him along in arbitration and losing him to free agency. An extension like that would be risky, but if you do enough of them, the risks start to balance out and you get the benefit of buying out the first 2-3 years of a player's free agency.)

      2. So, swing harder, miss more often, but hit HR when you do get ahold of a mistake... that kind of thing.

        I mean, that's basically where the entire league is these days. It's not just the Twins. The leaguewide strikeout rate in 2004, when SBG started this little movement, was 6.55 SO/9. In 2022, it was 8.40 SO/9. The rate had never been as high as 8.0 SO/9 until 2016, and it's been above that ever since. And it's not like pitchers have been willing to walk more hitters in order to get these strikeout rates, since the leaguewide walk rate is about the same over that entire period of time -- if anything, walks have been somewhat down in a few of the seasons while strikeouts were continuing to climb. Meanwhile defenses are as good as they've ever been, so on top of not getting many chances to put the ball in play, you also have a lower chance of something positive happening when you do put it in play.

        It's also not like this increase in strikeouts is happening in a vacuum. There are more pitchers throwing 95+, 100+ than ever before. Some guys are throwing 90+ offspeed pitches regularly. I don't know that the hitters can ultimately compete with those steps forward unless they do something to hold back the pitchers a bit.

        I like Arraez. I like that he was an anomaly. But the Twins trading him isn't some huge indictment of how they see baseball totally differently than the rest of the league. And it's not like they traded him for a box of rocks, either.

        1. To clarify - I didn't mean that the Twins F.O. was unique in their approach from others. In fact, it's probably their sameness that bothers me so much. But whereas other teams at least seem to put a few eggs in other baskets, the Twins seem really dead-set on their approach. At least, that's how I'm feeling about them today. In a few months when Lopez is a Cy Young candidate I'll feel differently. That's justing being philosofickle.

        2. It's also not like this increase in strikeouts is happening in a vacuum. There are more pitchers throwing 95+, 100+ than ever before. Some guys are throwing 90+ offspeed pitches regularly. I don't know that the hitters can ultimately compete with those steps forward unless they do something to hold back the pitchers a bit.

          This, to me, is what made Arráez even more valuable to a team like the Twins, which has relied on free-swinging, OBP-challenged players for its lineup core. (Part of what made Cruz such a big improvement is that he didn’t sacrifice contact or getting on base for his power.) One can only watch a team kill a rally so many times with a string of first-pitch outs, strikeouts, and pop-ups before it becomes tedious. I’ll confess to finding that even Buxton strains my patience with his low-OBP approach. When it works for him, it really works, of course. Arráez provided some desperately-needed leavening to this lineup with how many pitches he saw and how consistently he could put a ball in play despite the significant advantage pitchers have in the current environment.

          1. I think this is one of those things that feels better than it really is. Yes, Arraez certainly kept more rallies alive by seeing more pitches and getting on base, but IMO, that value is fairly reflected in his AVG and OBP.

      1. Maybe so, but it's more about what they replace, isn't it? Lopez replaces Ober or Varland, and I'd say he's quite a step up from them.

        Kirilloff replaces Arraez in the "lefty first baseman" portion of the lineup. We don't know exactly how that will go, and he's...unlikely....to win a batting title, but it has the potential to not be such a drastic step down as one might think.

        Plus we get a well regarded shortstop prospect on top of all that. To be honest, I thought we were going to have to give up more in addition to Arraez to get Lopez, not the other way around. Mahle, Gray, Lopez, & Ryan is really, really good foundation for a rotation.

        I like Arraez, but this feels like a fleecing.

        1. I guess I always felt like the Marlins would have to give up more than Lopez to make the trade work just based on Arraez having 3 more years of team control versus 2 for Lopez.

      2. Seems like it depends a lot on Lopez's health. Arraez seems like such a gamble to me. You'd love to see him go on and have an Ichiro/Gwynn/Carew-like career where the hits just keep coming, but he could also turn out like Ethan Allen, 4th most similar by age on bb-ref, who failed to get to 300 AB over the next 4 seasons. I'm not even that bothered about where to put him on defense, the league average line for AL DH in 2022 was .236/313/.397. I like where Arraez sits relative to that, and I'm not really bothered about the lack of power because these days it seems like you can find power all over the place -- it's not as simple as only getting power from big, heavy guys that can't run and need to play the corners.

        If you feel better about Pablo's health, then I think it's less of a lateral move. You're increasing quality depth in the rotation, which I think is more important for the postseason even than having a flashy ace. Your flashy ace or any 1-2 of your starting rotation could easily be injured going into the playoffs. Having 3-4 pitchers that you feel comfortable starting in the postseason can then keep you in the game until you get to the bullpen, and you hope you did enough on the offensive side of the roster to get the lead in the first place.

        1. Honestly, I'm skeptical of the health for both players. But right now, I'm feeling better about Arraez's health than López's. Arraez graded average to above-average at first plus time at DH can help preserve his knees.

          On the other hand, it's very possible this is Arraez's peak value. Perhaps better pitch selection, or López learning a new pitch/refinement of an existing pitch, pushes López into the 3 - 4 WAR area.

          1. It's probably smart to be skeptical of both players' health. I mean, if there were no health concerns, it's very possible that neither side would even be looking to move these guys.

    4. I don't have much to add to what's been said. I don't like it, but I understand it, and I can't say it's a bad move. The Twins need pitching, and they can probably replace Arraez' offense. On the other hand, he was about the only guy in the lineup who wasn't swinging for the fences all the time. I old-fashioned enough to think that you still need a couple of singles/doubles hitters in the top of the lineup for the power hitters to drive in. Otherwise, you end up hitting a lot of solo homers, which (as we all know) don't hurt you.

      But, what's done is done, and we'll see how it works out.

  3. I happened to dump all LTEs yesterday for Reasons. In that, I can quickly determine who sends in the most letters. Here are the top 25 for the history of the site. It's a close race for #1.

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      1. Here's the next 25.

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