We’re going to continue to be on a light workload here until Thursday. I’ve got a philosophy paper and calculus exam then. Summer classes are a bummer. Anyway, a lot of interesting things have been happening lately, and sadly, I haven’t had time to comment on most. So here is the condensed version. Our feature story is an interesting piece on the struggles of Bob Melvin, Manager, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Simple roster changes can, in fact, be very confusing
Chad Tracy, Arizona 3B, had been on the DL with a sore ribcage since May 15th. He hadn’t actually been ‘right’ since May 1st. He finally returned on Sunday, June 10th… which causes some strange shakeups in the Arizona infield, at least if you’re manager Bob Melvin. 23-year-old 3B Mark Reynolds was brought up from AA to replace Tracy when he was injured, and was playing out of his skull, finishing May with a .426 average. However, he only has 4 hits in June, and has seen his average decline to .318. For some reason, this has Melvin throwing mental fits. But Tracy can also play 1B. Why not put him there, if you’re intent at keeping Reynolds’ sinking ship running? Because Connor Jackson (.280)is currently starting at 1B, with Tony Clark (.226, mostly as a situational hitter,) filling in at times. This somehow matters to Melvin. Never, I don’t think, as anybody agonized this much over such a simple decision. "Every time I think about it, my head explodes… [Clark] is an important guy, and I don’t want to leave him out… you want to keep everybody involved… if someone gets their feelings hurt, that can be the bad side of it." GROW UP, BOB. This isn’t Little League. Your job is to win baseball games. Are you afraid Tony’s dad is going to confront you, and ask you why his son isn’t playing? Besides, the two guys you’re worried about "leaving out" are too young, too old, and not good. Send Reynolds back down to the minors, and start Tracy at 3B, end of story. Are you seriously struggling with that decision? By the way, Clark might have 7 HR, but that is all he is good for. He has 19 hits. Stop starting him and leaving him in for crucial spots in the game. This guy is batting .167 in late-inning pressure situations. He’s hitting .267 as a pinch-hitter. Use him there, don’t start him. He turns 35 on Friday, dude.
Francisco Cordero blows another one
Francisco Cordero finally blew a save on Saturday night. I just
published something I wrote on Sunday about this, during which I said,
"He’s got a fragile mindset… he was hotter than the sun… now he’s
probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven." On Sunday
night, Francisco did, indeed, blow another save – just as I predicted,
giving up one run to tie the game back up.
Remember Brad Lidge?
He’s back, it seems. Brad’s ship capsized last year, when he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. As my brother Dave, the author of, "BETTER TRADE THAT GUY [Teixeira]. I’ve give you Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez," put it, "when did this guy become so bad? What happened to him?" Anyway, current Houston closer Dan Wheeler has been an arsonist lately, allowing 9 runs in his last 6 games, resulting in 3 blown saves. His ERA is at 5.22. But manager Phil Garner is playing it off differently. He says it’s always been the plan that, if Lidge pulled it together, he’d get the closer role back. Lidge, meanwhile, now has a 2.35 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run since May 17th. Welcome back, Brad. Don’t screw it up this time.
Remember Dan Kolb?
Couldn’t help including this behind Lidge. Kolb was recently called up from the Pirates AAA affiliate, where he had a 3.15 ERA. You may recall Kolb saving 39 games for Milwaukee in 2004 with a 3.00 ERA. He then moved on to Atlanta in 2005, where he lost 8 games to 11 saves and had a 5.97 ERA. Last year he returned to Milwaukee to try to restore the magic, but had only one save and a 4.87 ERA in 48.1 IP. Now he’s getting called up to the Pirates. Things aren’t going the way they used to, huh Dan?
"Mark Teixeira and the Rangers" – April 26th, 2007.
Today was a big day for BHGM. For starters, we passed 500 hits today. Next, we’ve got the comments. As always, comments are a lot of fun for me. I like to see you guys work. For example, in the chat box, we’ve got the following exchange between Kevin and Jorge:
Jorge: andres torres quiero que suba ya para grandes ligas el es el mejor te queremos aguada puertorico. andres torres es el mejor.
Kevin: Si, Andres Torres es mi jugador de beisbol favorita. El es el hombre. Me amo Andres! Yo Recibi un 4.0 en espanol este ano!
See if you can guess the native speaker here. I took two years of Spanish back in high school. I’ve been out of contact with the language for about three years. I can tell you that Jorge said something about wanting Andres Torres, for major leagues in Puerto Rico, maybe. I’m really confused actually. As for Kevin, "Yes, Andres Torres is my favorite baseball player. He is the man. I love Andres Torres! I got a 4.0 in Spanish last year!" Anyway, if anyone can decode Jorge’s thoughts, leave a message. Additionally, we finally got one of those mysterious regular readers to chime in with a comment; welcome to Kevin II. Kevin II, until I get a last initial from you, that’s how it’s going to be. Check out last night’s full comments. Anyway, a couple of days ago I promised an overview of possible starting pitchers that the Yankees could acquire. I’ve said that this is, without a doubt, the deal they need to make. In any case, I had written about half of this before I accidentally refreshed the browser and lost it all. Me losing my work is kind of like a sort of classical conditioning. For the next two weeks, I’ll save a copy of each post into Word every minute. Then I’ll get lax about it, because nothing has happened. Four days later, I’ll lose a post. Anyway, on with the baseball. Oh yeah, and, the funniest thing you will ever see in your entire life will be found at the end of tonight’s post.
As mentioned before, we’re here to talk about possible candidates for a starting pitching position with the Yankees. Updates from April 26th, 2007, are in bold. Feel free to read these in a Wonder Years Epilogue Voice.
- Livan Hernandez, WAS: Livan has been having a less-than-stellar year so far. He has an ERA of 5.19 and a WHIP of 1.52. In short, he’s not earning his $8 million salary. Hernandez also stands to make $7 million next year. If new ownership believes that he is not worth what he’s getting paid, they’ll move him. Few teams need pitching badly enough to make a move for Livan, besides the Yankees. With their attendance falling as fast as their rank in the standings – actually, they’ve been in 2nd to last place all year, while their attendance keeps falling – the Nationals and their new owners need to make a move. The team will be officially out of contention by July, and it’s possible Livan could be moved for cash and a couple minor league prospects. Livan Hernandez never really got his stuff back, and was traded to Arizona, where he currently resides with a 3.96 ERA and $7,000,000 salary.
- Jason Schmidt, SF: If I had to make one pick for who I thought would be wearing pinstripes by year’s end, it would be Schmidt. He is currently in his contract year, and is known to have significant issues with the San Francisco front office. It’s highly unlikely that he will return to the Giants in 2007. Furthermore, the Giants have revealed that they will not even bother discussing a contract with Schmidt until the conclusion of the season – that is, if he’s still around. Schmidt has bounced back from an awful 2005 campaign, and now has a 3.07 ERA (18th best in MLB) and 1.04 WHIP (5th best.) However, he is making $10.5 Million this year, and few teams would be willing to pick up such a contract unless they absolutely had to have his services this year to contend. Again, the Yankees are one of the only teams that fit this description. If the Giants are out of contention by July, it is very likely that they’ll move Schmidt – and remember, he’ll likely command more money next year. Jason Schmidt did not return to San Francisco. He finished 2006 with the Giants and a 3.59 ERA. He signed with the Dodgers and is now making $16 million.
- Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, MIN: Both are trade candidates, but not necessarily to the Yankees. Radke and Silva have both had ‘bad’ years – Radke’s ERA is 7.44, Silva’s is at 8.24. However, there is clearly something bothering them both. Perhaps they’ll get on track soon. Meanwhile, Silva is currently pitching from the pen, while Radke has given up at least 4 runs in every start this year (10), with the exception of one against (who else) the Royals. The Twins are, as I said earlier in the year, still rebuilding. They just don’t know it. Right now, the Twins cheap, mini-market formula no longer works. Rookie pitchers have a better ERA and record vs. the Twins in the last 5 years than against any other team. It could be a coincidence, but it could also be that the Twins aren’t scouting. In the first matchup, the pitcher typically has the advantage over the hitter; scouting can help out, but only if you do it. Back to Radke and Silva. If the Twins believe that they can get prospects for the two, they’ll do so. The organization has various pitchers in the pipeline, (Boof, Liriano, etc,) but they could use help with the bats – they have consistently fallen short of the offensive production necessary of a contending team in recent years. If the Yankees are willing to give up hitters and take a chance on Radke and Silva, they may end up in New York. I don’t think it will happen. Sadly, Brad Radke never did pull it together. The 2006 season was his last. The Twins stuck by Carlos Silva, and he finished the season with an ERA of 5.94. He seems to have it together this year, pulling a 2.74 ERA in 4 games.
- Jason Johnson, CLE: I said so before the season began, and I’ll say it again. Jason Johnson is not a good pitcher. He is, in fact, a very bad pitcher. Right now, he has a 6.52 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Terrible, awful, numbers. The Yankees would not pay $1 for Jason Johnson, but I enjoyed kicking him on the way out. Johnson continued to be bad, and was designated for assignment by the Indians, but was acquired by the Red Sox. He pitched in 6 games for them, and managed a 7.36 ERA. He was then optioned to Class A, which is where we lost track of him. He spent some time in Cincinnati, pitching 4 games in relief.
Other pitchers that could be seen – Bruce Chen, BAL. Barry Zito, OAK. But only if Oakland is amazingly far out of contention, and even then, it would take a miracle, as the Yankees have very little to offer. I think that we’ll see someone like a Noah Lowry type, in the end. Overall, however, the pitching market is very weak this year; many teams are running around with 4-man rotations, forced into spot-starting different pitchers. The Yankees, Royals, Rangers, Braves, Nationals, Brewers, Cubs – all need pitchers. Furthermore, many teams with arms to offer are in contention now. However, a lot will change by mid-July, and that’s when we’ll be getting down to the wire. Meanwhile, the above is clearly not an exhaustive list, and I welcome all suggestions. On with the night’s news.
- The Marlins beat the Mets. And the Royals beat the Yankees. You can expect the world to explode any minute now. How did this happen? Isn’t there someone in a control room somewhere, with his hand on an abort button? Two teams with a combined 24-66 record beat two teams with a combined record of 54-37. The Royals alone lost nearly as many games (35) as both the Mets and Yankees combined. If we needed any more evidence at how poor that team is. As for the Yankees game, they almost, almost, blew it again. As in, runners on 1st and 3rd for the Yankees with 1 out and Giambi up, bottom of the 9th, 7-6. Listen Jason, if you’re swinging on 2 strikes just to avoid the K, don’t. Strike out, and A-Rod comes to the plate with 2 outs. Stupid. If you live in New York City, batten down the hatches, stock up on various supplies, and prepare yourselves – it could be a long night. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Jeter hit #2,000. And of course, leave it to the Royals to let it happen on what was pretty much an error.
- The Tigers won, again. They’ve won 7 straight games, on the heels of winning 7 straight. And how’s this for weird: since I returned from school on May 10th, the Tigers have lost one game – the only game I attended, on May 19th. Had they not lost that one game, they’d be riding a 15-gamer right now. The White Sox lost today, pushing the Tigers 2.5 games ahead. However, Mike Maroth – who had, probably, a ‘bad’ afternoon yesterday – was placed on the DL today, with elbow irritation. I don’t like this one bit; I described Maroth as the solid, 4.50 ERA, 200 inning guy before the season started. Seems like the clock has struck midnight on that one.
- Brandon Webb is to pitchers what Albert Pujols is to Men. Webb won again today, pushing his record to 8-0. Read that again – he has started 11 games. He has won 8. His ERA is 2.13. He has walked 9 batters, and struck out 53. He has a WHIP of 1.08. He has two shutouts. See, I did not know Brandon Webb was this good. He pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson, in the now-famous example, went 16-14 with them in 2004 after recording a 2.60 ERA and 290 K’s. Brandon is now on pace to win 24 games. If he does accomplish this feat, well, I’m not sure what will happen. He went 14-12 last year, so maybe the consequences won’t be too dire. But, just to be on the safe side… where’s that guy with the abort button?
- Your National League MVP, Albert Pujols. Yeah, big surprise there. Pujols has 58 RBIs and 23 HR. You know, there’s really nothing new on this front. I just wanted to, you know, do the whole Albert Pujols thing again… I’ll stop now.
- Has anyone been paying attention to the Angels as they stink up the joint? They’re on quite a tear of bad playing right now. First off, star Bad Player Jeff Weaver, whom I denounced many years ago. Weaver has an ERA of 6.99. He has 7 losses. He has given up 72 hits and 13 walks in 55.1 IP. By all accounts, he is not good. Yet the Angels signed him anyway. Dear Angels – this is 100% your fault. Jeff Weaver didn’t get bad. What actually happened, see, is that you gave too much money to a guy who, through some mind trick, was able to convince you that he could pitch – despite extensive evidence to the contrary. What were you thinking? Maybe Jim Bowden had a one-day stint at the helm. They’re now on a 3-game winning streak, but, you know how that stuff goes.
- Jason Schmidt just left his game against the Rockies in the 9th inning after allowing 4 hits, striking out 6, and walking 3. His ERA is now down to 2.78. I drafted him in the 94th overall pick in my Roto league… right before Brandon Webb. Waiver wire pickups for that team include Jeff Kent (some idiot dropped him, and I scooped him right up,) Alex Rios, Hanley Ramirez, Brandon Phillips, Pedro Feliz, Scott Kazmir, Mike Mussina, Bronson Arroyo, and Aaron Harang. It’s a 7-team league, if you hadn’t picked up on that already. Of course, most of the players were picked up about 5 weeks ago.
Thats all for today. We may see another post tomorrow night. But it’s gonna be short, guys. And uh, kids these days. They really like to set up basketball rims by their trampolines and basically dunk like Michael. Here’s the thing – jumping too high can sometimes be a bad thing. Things can happen when you jump over the rim that, well, shouldn’t happen. Observe… ("Oww…Oww…" "Somebody get someone!… You ok?") Get well soon, Barbaro! By the way, when we’re injured, can we not lay motionless and moan? What happened to walking it off? It would also be nice if this kids friends hadn’t run away and abandoned him to the elements. Although, the cameraman laughing at him is perfectly acceptable behavior.
Some people have this thing where they go through the divisions and tell you what they think that division is going to accomplish. Team by team. Well, I’m going to stick with the whole ‘original’ theme of this blog, and go with something new. It’s been irking me all year. So:
I’m sick of the NL West. Let me lay out, in great detail, why I hate it.
San Diego Padres
First, Mike Cameron. Does anyone remember when he collided
with Carlos Beltran last year? That was probably one of the freakiest
collisions I have ever seen, and unfortunately I had to watch it
was on my bad side for awhile after getting pissed about moving to Right Field
when the Mets acquired Beltran. I know what it’s like to have to switch
positions, so I’m not angry at guys for being pissed, but it’s something they
need to keep to themselves. If they really can’t handle it, tell the GM in
private how you feel, then shut up and make way. Especially if you’re Mike
Cameron, and he’s Carlos Beltran. I know Cameron’s agent said that they never
wanted his reservations about moving to right to go public, but still. In any
case, Cameron is now in Center with the Padres. If you ask the Padres, they’ll
tell you they’re pumped because now they’ve got someone with wheels patrolling
that massive backyard, and they’re ready for another championship season.
me explain something to you. The Padres did not win a divisional title last
year. Yes, I know that technically they did, but I’ll give Bonds the HR Title
before I give the Padres the NL West. You don’t go 82-80 and win a title. And
if you do, you don’t get to keep it. I’ve touched on revoking the NL West’s
citizenship this year, but now I’m just gonna say, they don’t deserve a playoff
spot this year. I don’t care if one of those teams wins 162 games, they stay
out. If you can put the UofM Basketball team on probation, you can put a
division on probation as well. Meanwhile, you have the Blue Jays trapped in the
AL East. So, give the AL another Wild Card Spot, and there you go. Bud Selig
will never do this, and for that he is a weak man. In any case, the Padres
aren’t gonna bring home another ‘championship’ this year just because they have Mike
Cameron. Seriously, the news coming out of Padres Camp is ridiculous. ‘Padres
reload in an effort to repeat.’ Please… spare me. In all honesty, I don’t
know what the Padres chances are this year, because I don’t like the NL West.
The Rest of this joke of a division
Why don’t I like them? Not only are they terrible, but they’re far away from me and they’re
Drama Central. Think about it – Barry’s running around screaming at the media,
the Padres are asking who the heck made center field 650 feet deep, the Dodgers
are still trying to invent a successful 7-man batting order, the
Diamondbacks are all over the place, and the Rockies are playing on the moon with a minor league team.
mean Redneck (Randy Johnson,) who vanishes to the team they somehow defeated in
2001, which is all the more
hilarious because in 2004 they were actually a AA
club – look it up. The Diamondbacks were so bad in 2004 that they
managed to win only 3 out of every 10 games. In Moneyball, it’s mentioned that
all teams win a third of their games, lose a third, and the remaining third
determines the best teams. Well, remember that crazy redneck? He had an ERA of
2.60 with 290 K’s, and went 16-14. Still, Randy’s wins accounted for a third of the team’s wins that season. Here’s something I wrote after the 2004
Randy Johnson has got to be on the verge of killing somebody. Near the end
of the 2004 Season, he struck out 15 in 8 innings, allowed one run and received
a no decision, which was on the heels of him pitching 8 innings, striking out 11
and getting a loss, on the heels of him pitching into the 8th, striking out 14,
allowing one run, and getting the loss. So, lets review. In those three starts,
he pitched 23.2 innings, racked up 40 K’s, four ER’s, and walked five guys. His
record: 0-2. He has 14 losses this season – 9th worst in the league – with an
ERA of 2.60 – second best in the league.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Next, the Dodger’s 7-man batting order. Do you remember when the Dodgers
traded Kaz Ishii to the Mets for backup catcher Todd Phillips before the 2005
Season? This was one of the worst trades ever. Both of these teams were going
nowhere. The Mets got a guy who walks eight a game because he pitches around
everyone, including pitchers, and the Dodgers got another catcher who can’t
hit. Apparently, they have a policy where no catcher is allowed to hit over
.220. Piazza and Lo Duca – gone. David Ross? Paul Bako? Keep them. Phillips?
Get him. Well, apparently the joke is up, because the Dodgers were able to
grab a hold of Sandy
Alomar for the 2006 Season. Slow down. This guy isn’t an Alomar Jr., he’s
the original, and three months shy of his 40th birthday. For a catcher, in the
NL with no option to DH, this basically makes him a non-factor. Moving on,
we have Russell
Martin. Never played in the majors. Next, Dioner
Navarro, who actually smacked for .273 in 176 AB’s last year for the
Dodgers. He also knocked in 14 runs. Fantastic. If you’re the opposing manager,
why walk their 8 spot to get to their pitcher if they’re both easy outs?
anyone think something good was gonna happen when the McCourt’s took over? This
organization is a mess. Frank McCourt’s title is ‘Chairman.’ Tommy Lasorda is
going by the alias ‘Special Advisor to the Chairman.’ Jamie McCourt, the ball
and chain, is going around as ‘Vice Chairman and President.’ You’ve got the following exchange occurring between Met’s
scouts and Kim Ng, ‘VP and Asst. GM,’
Mets: "Where are you from!?"
Mets: "What country
… and then blaming their racist outbursts on the Atkin’s diet.
In short, the Dodger’s organization, along with the entire NL West, is one
Here is another team grappling with the fact that someone built their
ballpark in a way that makes it impossible to win. Coor’s field is a
launch pad, not a baseball park. A few years ago, USA Today ran a story
saying that analysis had revealed that Coors Field is the worst park
for pitcher’s ERA. I didn’t know that. Anyway, Shawn Chacon couldn’t be
happier to get out of Coors, first off. Next, remember last year when
the Rockies acquired the ‘expendable, $10 million mistake,’ Byung-Hyun
Kim? That’s what Boston called him after he posted a 6.23 ERA in 2004.
And you ship him off to Coors. His debut for the team was nuts – 6
hits, 2 homers, and 8 runs. One out. That’s an ERA of 216.00.
Incredible. The best part? It wasn’t even at Coors. Then, he threatened
to quit if he didn’t get better. More circus action. I don’t think it’s
ever been easier to point to an exact moment in a guy’s career when he went from good to bad. The minute Derek Jeter homered off Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series to win the game – which was just tied after Tino Martinez’s 2-run jack off Kim made it 3-3 – Kim started to go bad. In Game 5, Kim gives up a game-tying Homer to Scott Brosius, and the Yankees end up winning that game in extras as well. I don’t really care where Kim is now, but the Rockies are still terrible, and that’s no mystery. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t care if MLB.com is leading with a story of your young prospects. Remember when Clint Barmes got taken out for months last year because of a grocery/stairway incident? It’s that kind of thing that happens in the NL West. Sure, maybe the Rockies are on the upswing or whatever. But they’re still a giant circus of a team. First they decided to go with the big bats strategy to win games. That kinda worked. Then they decided to go with pitching, that didn’t work. Then they tried fast fielders. Failed. Get a plan, and good luck.
San Francisco Giants
Barry Bonds. As if you could get any more tragic than that.
The NL West is still a circus. Get your act together, pack up the tents, and then you can be reconsidered. Until then, the NL only has 11 teams.
Thanks for reading. Leave comments and emails. I’ve been gone the whole previous week, and a post regarding current baseball events will soon follow.