Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa were both notified that they were not in the Baltimore Orioles' plans for the 2006 season. I love the first line in the article by the way:
The italic emphasis is my own, because that line just tickled me funny. Sosa was so awful this year (how awful was he?) that even one of those writers who left Johan Santana off of their Cy Young ballot would have noticed (oooooh, burn!) Palmeiro was not bad, but was not good enough at first base. That whole steroid thing sort of...well...destroyed the rest of his career and possibly his retirement too. Of course none of this would be entertaining without some tables and graphs right?
First of all, looking at EqA, you notice that it is starting to drop down to its low, career starting levels. You know, the replacement level and below ones. His NRAA has gone from over half a run above average per game down to -0.113, which is to say, a great deal of falling. And to hammer the point home, according to Nate Silver's Expected Salary tool, Sammy Sosa is in debt to Baltimore $16,613,991.30, just for his 2005 season. In Baltimore's defense, Jerry Hairston Jr., who was traded for Sosa, only had a WARP1 of 1.9 (opposed to Sosa's 0.7) this season, but he also only cost $1.8 million. Tough break. Sosa is done like he invented the word.
As for Palmeiro, before finding out about his steroid use I was in the midst of writing kind, pro-Hall of Fame words for him. I stick by those words for now, although if you take a percentage of his career stats off it becomes a bit more questionable. If I had a vote and I was going solely on the numbers, I would vote for him, but much of that has to do with the fact that I still do not believe steroids enhance baseball player's performance. My personal opinion is that Raffy does not retire immediately, instead working out and trying to find a team who is desperate for help. Whether or not a team actually signs him is a different story. Steroids aside, his Established Performance Level does not look too impressive for a first basemen:
That EPL is most likely overstated as well, due to Palmeiro's success in 2003 and the fact that he has been declining anyways. He is not washed up in the sense that Sosa seems to be, but the fact that he only has the value of Darin Erstad (minus the intagibles and clubhouse presence you always hear about in regards to Erstad) as a first base/DH type is not a good thing. I know I have not included a poll for a long time, but make sure to vote in today's in regards to whether or not Palmeiro will find a new team.
In closing, the Orioles decision to cut loose with both of these players so early on in the offseason has a great deal to do with the problems caused by their existence on the roster in 2005, whether they be injury, personal, or bad PR related. Mike Flanagan, the sole general manager of the Orioles now that Jim Beattie has left, is big on using psychological methods in evaluating talent. Something tells me you didn't need a doctor to figure out these two were not a fit, but I wouldn't be surprised if one was consulted at the least. An interesting twist in player analysis for the future to be sure.