Tagged: Managing

The funniest thing, ever

Have to give props to Kevin for pointing this one out to me. Listen – no amount of time you spend on YouTube is going to be ‘wasted’ time. So, while it still works, check out this video of the Braves AA manager Phillip Wellman just losing it. I’m not sure what happened to prompt this tirade, but… it must have been serious. I especially like how he draws from many of the best explosions. But my favorite is when he does the military crawl through the infield and throws the rosin bag like a grenade – at the umpire, who is hanging out at home "eating sunflower seeds," and then ejects the 3rd base umpire. I’m guessing that this will be the last time we see Phillip in any official capacity. Enough of me. Enjoy.

The Mariners Payroll is really $107 Million?

Bavasi2The Mariners 2007 payroll amounts to $107 million. That’s the 6th highest in the league. That’s incredible. Now, before you start spouting about how the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball, and they don’t win the World Series, understand this – I’m not saying that the Mariners should win the World Series. However, it would be nice if they could at least smell contention in one of the weakest divisions in the league. It would be nice if $107 million bought you, I don’t know, a .500 record? One could say that it’s early in the season. You can still turn things around, right? Well… we will get to that in a minute. Next comes the argument that your payroll is your investment. You have to wait for your investment to mature… unless it already is very, (33+ years) mature. I don’t see any of these working out, but for the sake of the previous two points, let’s look at last year. The Mariners had a payroll of $88 million, which was 11th in MLB, (but a mere $11 million from the 6-spot,) and finished 78-84, 15 games back of first place. In fact, the last time the Mariners finished closer than 15 games back was in 2003, when they won 93 games and finished only 3 games back of the A’s. So, with this information in hand, you would expect that the additional $19 million spent by GM Bill Bavasi would be spent on some pretty significant improvements to the club. You should be expecting some pretty good things from this team this year, right? Now let’s dig a little deeper.

For the sake of reference, let’s take a broader look at the 2007 Payroll Standings.
New York Yankees – $195 mil – Good bet to win their division.
Boston Red Sox – $143 mil – Should finish 2nd in a very difficult division.
NY Mets – $116 mil – Should win the division. If not, will win a lot of games finishing 2nd.
LA Angels – $109 mil – If they don’t win, they come close. Colon is making $16 mil.
LA Dodgers – $108 mil – Should take the weak NL West.
Seattle Mariners – $107 mil – Once again, a lock to finish last place in the weak AL West.

Does that $107 million now seem a bit more suspicious? Where, you may ask yourself, is this $107 million going?

Richie Sexson – $15.5 Million
This was a pretty bad waste of jack. Not crazy, but a little messed up. Sexson, who is 32 years old, has never finished with a batting average higher than .279 while playing in more than 60 games. The Mariners signed him after his 2004 season, in which he played 23 games and finished with a .233 average. In 2005, he batted .263, but hit 39 HR and knocked in 121 runs. Not bad. However, the most similar batter to Sexson that year was Paul Konerko, who made just $8.75 million. Even after he carried the White Sox to a World Series title, he was signed in 2006 for $12 million. He is also two years younger than Sexson. Alright, so now you can make the argument that it takes more money to bring a good player into a bad team. Kind of like reverse economies of scale. Maybe so. But still – in the good world, Sexson is signed for $11 million, tops. Make it an incentive-laden contract if you have to, but he simply isn’t worth that much.
Adrian Beltre – $12.9 Million
Wow. If Sexson snuck his hand into the cookie jar, then Beltre robbed the bank. Except, Beltre was coming off a good year in 2004. Well, we looked at why this was a bad decision (halfway down,) a year back. But basically, the Dodgers had been sitting on Beltre, waiting for him to develop for years and years. Finally, he goes nuts and hits 48 HR – nearly three times his previous average. Stats went berserk all across the board for this dude. Then, mysteriously enough, the Dodgers make no attempts to resign him when he demands big jack. Not taking the hint, the Mariners give the guy millions… and he falls back into his typical, .250 average, .300 OBP, 20 homer self. Wonderful. Way to blow the bank, Bavasi. In his defense, Beltre was coming off a huge year. One he has no chance of ever, ever repeating, but big nonetheless.
Ichiro Suzuki – $12.5 Million
No argument here. This team is nothing without Ichiro.
Jarrod Washburn – $9.9 Million
Another Beltre situation. Jarrod had an ERA of 4.43 in 2003, and 4.64 in 2004… but managed a 3.20 in 2005, after which he was promptly picked up by the Mariners. So there are two ways to look at this. Either he had two off years in ’03, and ’04, (and pretty much every year of his career besides 2002,) and the 2005 performance is the real Jarrod Washburn. Or, he had a weird year in 2005, and the other nine years are the real Jarrod. I would go with the second choice. Bavasi, needless to say, went with the first. Last year, Jarrod won 8 games and finished with an ERA of 4.67 for the Mariners.
Jeff Weaver – $8.3 Million
Has anybody, ever, in the history of the world, ever done less to earn more? Weaver had one good year in 2002, where he finished with an ERA under 4. He has been cashing in on that year, and on his supposed upside, or something, ever since. I’m pretty sure he has been making about $9 million everywhere he goes. And he keeps turning in these 4.20+ ERA years. Good going, Jeff.
Jose Vidro – $7.5 Million
$7.5 Million for a DH who has only hit more than 20 HR once, six years ago? A guy who’s only knocked in more than 65 runs twice? Who is also 32 years old? According to baseball-reference.com, the most statistically similar batter to Vidro is this guy, Todd Walker. Todd just got called up from the AAA club to the big league Athletics on April 1st, and is making $450,000 this year. So you over payed by $7 million. No big deal, right? Actually. that’s 7 million dollars. Take Travis Hafner. He’s a great guy to build a team around. Young, good guy, seems like a tough worker, puts up great numbers. He’s making $4.5 million. Of course, when his contract runs out he’ll cash in for at least $12 mill. But if you’re looking for value…
Miguel Batista – $6.0 Million
Yeah. That Miguel Batista. The one with the career 4.54 ERA.
Felix Hernandez – $420,000
Felix is 2-1. He has 18 K’s in 17.1 IP. He has an ERA of 1.56 and a WHIP of .69. However, after pitching just .1 Innings against the Twins and giving up 3 runs, he was yanked… straight onto the DL. Understand that this man was responsible for two of your five wins. So, what happens now?

Now Felix should be back by May 4th. But still… You’ve got J.J. Putz, ($2.7 million,) who has yet to get a save. And by the way, is Putz really the best name for a closer? In fact, he has yet to pitch in a save situation. Furthermore, the Mariners are now on a six game losing streak. They’ve been losing games all week!

Now, how about your boy Igawa? He gave up a monster blast to Baldelli that, "landed 20 rows deep," according to CBS’s Sergio Gonzalez. He gave up 7 runs to an awful Devil Rays team. See guys, this is what I meant when I said that this rotation wouldn’t work out. Seven runs to the D Rays? If there’s a team in the AL that you can just sit back and mail it in against, it’s the Devil Rays and the Royals. When you play these guys, you take your day off. ArodballOr you drop your appeal on your two-game suspension. Or you play around with your lineup. But you don’t send out your scheduled starter and get 7 runs dropped on you. Bright side? A-Rod had two more home runs. Good because that gives him 14 HR and 1,300 RBI in 18 games. Bad because, well, it’s not really bad at all, except that we don’t want him to use himself up. He’s got more HR than quite a few teams do right now. Do you understand, seriously, how insane this guy is right now? It’s like he’s playing a video game. He’s on god mode. And, he is trying to steal Jeter’s boyfriends. Honestly, I could hit maybe 90 HR with A-Rod when I played a full season of MVP 2004 for X-Box. I could also win 30 games with Roy Halladay and a .32 ERA. I was very good, and it was very easy. Alex is on pace to beat those numbers. Now, on pace really means, "isn’t going to happen," in April. But still… I believe he has now broken the record for HR and RBI in April. And there are still six days left! Yes and, regarding the picture… got A-Rod to sign that in 2005. And the lower right is a Woody Williams one. And of course, The Kid (when he was with the Mariners, how fitting) in the left. And in back is a picture of Jeter making a very Jeterian dive into the stands during that Sox game back in July of ’04. I don’t know if I would call it a shrine, but…

We scored 14 runs tonight.

First off, before we even hit the post summary, I don’t care what Geoff says about Jorge Posada and how he’s over-performed so far this year, and will have to under-perform to meet his averages from here on out. I’m usually down with the Law of Averages argument, but… you know. I knew something special was about to happen when Jorge stepped up to the plate. The announcers noted that Jorge had only one walk off home run in his career. And that’s when I said to myself, "yeah, but that might as well be 1000 walk offs, because he hit The Double in Game 7, 2003 ALCS." I’m telling you, Boone is the man for the Home Run, but Jorge set up the heroics that made it all possible.  With the pre-moment rituals complete, Jorge launched his shot to right field, and for that brief instant, all was right in the world. The Yankees scored 14 runs. The Yankees have 26 World Championships – more than any other franchise in all of sports. For that moment, that was all that there ever was, and ever will be, in the world.

Unfortunately, we can’t live in such a world for long. Yes, the Yankees scored 14 runs. But the Rangers scored 13. A brief side note here: I started Chacon in my pay league for this week. Chacon’s line? 7 ER, 2BB, 6 Hits, 1.1 IP. That’s good for a big -9.33 points. Of course, the previous record is held by Jeff Suppan, with a -8.50. But the Albert Pujols lost that game, and the Yankees won this one. By the way, they were down 10-1 at one point. Kinda makes climbing that 7-3 mountain the White Sox were staring at after the 1st on Sunday look like, well, something a lot smaller. Think the Sox still would’ve won that game if Paul Konerko and Jim Thome were on the bench? No. Anyway, I only caught those last few innings tonight, so I can’t say much for the rest of the game. But we won, and our pitching still *****. Oh yeah, and our offense is still intact. Like I said, the Yankees don’t need to be trading for an outfielder to replace Matsui, we need to be trading for a pitcher – or hope that when Pavano comes back, he remembers that he’s Carl Pavano, v2004, not v2005 – or any other year, for that matter. Carl Pavano had a 3.00 ERA in 2004, mixed amongst his 4.27 Career ERA. With the exception of that miracle 2004 year, Carl Pavano has never pitched more than 100 innings and finished with an ERA below 4.20. In other words, 2004 was likely a freak occurrence. Hey, it’s happened before, and was documented here in great detail – see the Beltre Bust. You think Brian Cashman heard these words at any time before the 2005 season?

I want him on this team. You’re wrong. He has a solid track record. He’s a good pitcher, and we need a tough warrior like him to fill in the rotation. If you don’t get him, you’re fired. I don’t care how much money it takes, do it. I’m calling back in 30 minutes, if it’s not done by then, you’re fired. Maybe you should work for the Red Sox. I offered you to the Red Sox, but they wouldn’t take you. Get it done.

Surprise, having a lot of money does not make you know a lot about baseball. It makes you rich.

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are doing well, as I predicted. We all know this by now. Anyway, the Tigers are good, with a 25-13 record. In fact, that 25-13 record is the best in the Majors, tied with the White Sox. 38 games into the season, the Tigers have the best record in the league. This city is used to seeing a 14-24 record around now. So, not only are we not bad, we’re good. Amazing. And, of course, I think it’s for real. Cleveland isn’t doing what they’re supposed to, the Twins are even worse than advertised, and the Royals are battling it out in their own AAA League. Sure, we probably wont finish the year with the best record, but I think we’ll remain in contention. Tomorrow, I’ll probably try to do a real look-in at the Tiger stats.

As for the comments, Jason and Geoff stepped in at the last minute to save you guys. Otherwise, we’d be looking at a few days with no comments. Anyway, first up, Jason – that’s exactly my point. While Baker isn’t responsible for the players in his lineup, he is responsible for making them perform, and he hasn’t done so. As bad as the Cubs are, they’re playing much worse. The thinking is that new blood will invigorate the team, and bring about some change. What I’m saying is that the change would have to be so sweeping and complete that it’s better off to wait until the off-season, and make major changes then – as opposed to getting a new manager and ignoring the team’s needs for yet another off-season. Geoff – It’s good to see you back. I was hoping for that kind of response. Seriously – good to know that you’re still with us. ‘Us’ being those who know that, in the end, the Yankees will always be ok. Anyway, work starts at 8am tomorrow. Maybe I’ll bring back good stories.

Yankee OF and Catchup – Part I

Alright, there was no post last night. On weekends, nothing is guaranteed. Besides, I had to get up for work at 7am. I know, I know, everyone reading who reads this site has been up since 5am. I know. Tonight we have a two-part post – Part II will appear by tomorrow afternoon – because there are a lot of interesting things going on in the world today. In fact, there is all of the following, and more! Here comes the list:

  • Candidates for the Yankee Outfield: Would acquiring Barry Bonds be, "fiendishly logical?" Meanwhile, Phillies GM Pat Gillick is "expecting a call" regarding Bobby Abreu. Torii Hunter is in a contract year, will the Twins be willing to trade him?
  • Usually, when you score seven runs in the first inning, you’re all set. Defensive replacements can start coming in to the game, you can give your stars a rest and give the reserves a few AB’s. Unless, of course, your the Minnesota Twins, and Carlos Silva is your pitcher.
  • Apparently, the mess that is the Kansas City Royals can be narrowed down to three major mistakes. They involve Angel Berroa, Neifi Perez, and Mark Teahen – who, depending on who you ask, is either "another Corey Koskie" or "a bad Joe Randa."
  • Finally, the rest of the world is talking about Dusty Baker getting fired. Note that I have been suggesting this for over a year.
  • Apparently, the Dodger Fan Code of Conduct is more like a license to operate "young, poorly trained, overzealous, and rude security staff with child-like behavior."
  • It’s a good thing the All-Star Game is in Pittsburg this year, because, frankly, Pirates Fan doesn’t have much else to be excited about.
  • Does Lew Ford spell his name funny?
  • This is a baseball blog. That said, is Isiah Thomas seriously going to pay Larry Brown $40 million to haul out of New York?

Yankees seeking replacement outfielder?
So, I’ve done some research in response to Geoff’s request for a breakdown of possible outfield replacement candidates. I’ve polled my sources. I’ve done my digging. But first, I think we all need to step back and think about the situation for a second. Matsui is not dead. He will be coming back. Maybe not this year, but next year. Johnny Damon is also signed for next year. Gary Sheffield, however, is not. But that’s irrelevant. Pause and think about this for a second. The Yankees prospects are, primarily pitchers. That said, all we can do is trade pitchers for hitters. In other words, we trade our pitching to improve our offense. Does that make any sense to anyone? Do you really think Brian Cashman is running around thinking, "oh my god, we don’t have enough offense, we need more offense." For some reason, I don’t think so. I heard someone say that Torii Hunter may be traded to the Yankees. This makes no sense. Sure, you shift Damon to Left, you put Torii in Center. Alright. Then you have 4 All-Star Outfielders next year, if Sheffield comes back. Yet Torii isn’t half the hitter Sheff is, even at his old age. Therefore, you’re sacrificing future pitching and future offense for a couple months of Torii Hunter. As for Abreu, this makes even less sense. Now that the Phillies are finally winning, what can the Yankees possibly offer them to give up their best player? Heck, they wouldn’t take A-Rod. They’ve won 13 of their last 14 games, and now they’re one back of the Mets. They wouldn’t give up their bat boy for A-Rod right now. As for Barry Bonds…

Trading for Barry Bonds doesn’t make any sense. Yet, at the same time… it does. Barry can get off his rusty feet, DH a few games, and play a few in left as well. He’ll have plenty of protection in the lineup. But here’s the real kicker – you often hear that a player "isn’t cut out for New York." If there was ever a player made for New York, it’s Barry Bonds. The most hated player on the most hated team. It’s a perfect match. I don’t like Barry Bonds, and I’m sick of the hype. As Deadspin wrote, "Hey, the circus is in town! Come see A .217 hitter get an intentional walk! Right this way, folks!" Anyway, here’s the bottom line – right now, there’s no reason for the Yankees to make a move. You don’t trade for guys like Bobby Abreu just because your outfielder – star though he might be – breaks his wrist. Even if you’re the Yankees.

You shouldn’t lose a game you’re on pace to score 63 runs in.
On Sunday night, the White Sox played the Minnesota Twins. The Twins scored seven – count them, seven – runs in the first inning off Mark Buehrle. Now, Buehrle is one of my favorite guys. I was upset. But I told myself that Buehrle wasn’t hurting too bad; he had actually only given up one earned run. Amazing, yes. If there was ever a time to talk about the Fundamentals, it would have been then. But that matter concerned the team, not Mark. So I went on following the Gamecast. The Sox had scored 3 runs in the top of the 1st, so they were only down 4. One more run in the third, five more in the fourth. Sox up, 9-7. Twins lose. Mark Buehrle gets the W. Carlos Silva gets not only the loss, but a full blown demotion. That’s right, Carlos Silva and his 8.80 ERA have now migrated to the bullpen. I can’t decide what’s happening here – are the Twins betting that they will improve because Carlos will spend less time ruining their games? Or, do they just think it’s better to have them ruin the games in later innings than the earlier ones? Either way, Silva, who didn’t have much of a Spring Training due to the WBC, needs to get some innings in any way he can.

The Mess that is the Royals has actually been a long time in the making.
Not that it matters. Basically, you’re just digging up the past for no good reason. But that doesn’t mean someone wont do it, and that someone is Ken Rosenthal, who claims he has found the "The three trades that crushed the Royals." Let’s run them down.
#1: Gave up – Johnny Damon and Mark Ellis in exchange for Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Roberto Hernandez. Yeah, that’s not an improvement.
#2: Gave up Jermaine Dye in exchange for Neifi Perez. Perez was released the following off-season, after spending an entire two months with the team. He has a career .300 OBP.
#3: Gave up Carlos Beltran in exchange for Mark Teahen, John Buck, and Mike Wood. Royals GM Allan Baird thought he was making a smart move here by acquiring "the next Corey Koskie" in Teahen. Not that giving up Beltran for ‘Koskie’ is ok, but that doesn’t matter, since a scout described as just "a bad Joe Randa." And he hasn’t done a thing to suggest otherwise. You mean a .299 OBP is not ok?

That’s all for right now. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll see Part II, which will touch on Dusty Baker, the Dodger Fan Code of Conduct, The Pirates, Lew Ford, and the Knicks. And possibly tonight’s Yankee game. But I’m not sure I want to talk about that right now. See you all soon.

“This is our year!”

The Tigers are 3-0 atop the AL Central. Additionally, B.J. Ryan got booed in Rogers Center, which makes no sense, (and which I actually won’t be talking about.) The Rangers are collapsing, Chris Duffy is a liar, Jimmy Rollins is done, Eric Gagne is done, the Devil Rays are still bad, and Pedro got slapped around. We’ve got other things to discuss as well. Fun evening! This makes up for all the lame posts of the last few days, I hope.

First things first – I’ve decided this has to stop. There are a lot of you out there reading, but not a lot of you are out there making comments. For those of you MLBloggers out there, comments are a great way to get your blog read – just write your website address at the bottom of the post. Some people think this is a bad thing to do, because you might end up stealing other people’s readers… I don’t mind. No one would be reading my stuff if it hadn’t made it around the MLBlogs community, so feel free to post your own plugs. Anyway, make comments telling me I’m an idiot. Ask me what I think about something – this is how the entire Indian’s Overview got started. Most MLBloggers out here are a little shy about calling out their readers for not posting comments, with the notable exception of the Bleeding Pinstripes – and now I’m going to start taking after him. I’m obviously not afraid to take any shots at players, and I’m not afraid to bust you guys up either. I’m not trying to sound like Mark Newman here, but there are a lot of great blogs out there. Now that the season has started, it’s nearly impossible to keep your name up top the Recently Updated list. So, post your thoughts and your blog’s address in a comment. I’ll even let you pick the post. Besides, we will all learn more from each other than from me alone. So, lets get to the real business of baseball…

Detroit Tigers – It’s our year!
Tigerregal_800x600I’ve told you all before – all across Michigan, it’s the same thing every year at the beginning of the season. The Tigers win the opener, and for the next 32 hours or so, the whole state is chanting, "restore the roar!" Kids are walking around telling each other that the Tigers are undefeated this year, and that they’re in 1st place. We win another game, and it gets even worse. Even the Tiger’s homepage is joining in on the action tonight, with the headline, "Tigers look to extend undefeated streak." People don’t do this because they think it’s true – they do it because they know that after the first games of the season, they won’t even be able to brag about as much as a winning record. That said, is this year different? The Tigers beat the Royals in a short 2-game set earlier, which isn’t much of an accomplishment. However, considering that the Tigers lost to a college team a few years ago, it’s a start.

However, could this be the real thing? Legitimate changes have been made to the team. Cancers like Carlos Pena, Jason Johnson, and Franklyn German – guys that settled for mediocrity – were removed. Spring Training was a sort of experimental drug therapy, as Jim Leyland picked out all the players that deserved to make the team – as opposed to those who fit into the depth chart, regardless of their desire to play or win. That said, it would be logical to see a changed team emerge from Spring Training. The Tigers outscored the Royals 17-4, so they didn’t just beat them – they creamed them. The Royals might not be the best team in the league, but a bad team with an anemic offense can’t score 17 runs in 18 innings regardless of how bad the pitching is. Therefore, we can conclude that the Tigers must be doing something different this year. On top of this, the Tigers are up 9-3 on the Rangers right now in the bottom of the 8th. The Tigers will win this game, and then they’re 3-0 – the only undefeated team in the AL, and one of only 3 in the entire league, (Milwaukee and St. Louis.) This has to mean something. If these were 2-1, 6-5, 5-3 victories, I wouldn’t be saying a word. And it’s not a big deal to score a lot of runs against the Royals, or against the Ranger’s R.A. Dickey in Ameriquest Field. But again – it doesn’t matter how bad the pitching is, if you’re a bad hitter you still can’t hit them.

In Game 2 against the Royals, Bonderman went 6.2 innings, giving up 3 hits, 1 run, and striking out 8 while walking none. In Game 1, Rogers went 6 innings, gave up 3 hits and 1 run, struck out 5 and walked none. Make no mistake – this isn’t because Cluck – last year’s pitching coach, but no more – was bad. It’s because the Royals stink. But, the Tigers have made 0 errors this season. Anyone who watched them last year knows this must’ve taken a miracle. Can someone tell me why I can view more team stats in the MVP 2004 video game standings then I can from MLB.com standings? I want to be able to see how many errors a team has committed by looking at the standings page, or any other page, for that matter. Thanks. In any case, everyone is underestimating the Tigers this year, except those of us extremely familiar with the team. Which don’t seem to be many. I told a fellow sportswriter (as I like to call myself; this guy actually writes for the school paper,) that if the Tigers got into the playoffs this year, I’d be mildly surprised, but I wouldn’t lose my faith in the Universe. However, if you asked me what our chances were any of the past 13 years, I’d tell you zero. The Tigers don’t surprise people. They don’t suddenly go from really bad to really good for no reason. But this time, the reason is Jim Leyland and while it’s not likely, I wouldn’t be 100% shocked if the Tigers at least made a run for a spot. If the White Sox come crashing down to Earth, as I believe they will, and the Indians underachieve again, the Tigers suddenly look very good. I’m pretty confident that the Twins won’t do anything this year, and I’ll bet my life on the Royals not coming within 15 games of the division leader for the next three years. See the Tiger’s team overview for a more organized look.

That said, time for some in-game coverage. I’ve been following the game on Gameday, you see.  I have one question – who the heck is Jordan Tata? He somehow managed to hold the Rangers to two hits over 3 innings in his major league debut. He was going great until inning 2.2 of his stint – aka, the bottom of the 9th. He struck out Kevin Mench, gave up a hit to Adrian Brown, then walked Rod Barajas and Ian Kinsler before he got bailed out by Fernando Rodney, who struck out Brad Wilkerson. Michael Young is up, 2 outs, 2-2 count. Then he hits a base-clearing double, new score, 10-6. Next time, Rodney can avoid giving Young a ball down the heart. Tex flies out, game over.

Texas is freaking out
Headradickey
I met a relative of the Ranger’s starting pitcher for this game, R.A. Dickey, at a Tiger’s game last year. That whole family must be in tears right now. Dickey gave up 6 bombs and 7 runs in 3.1 innings. He struck out only one, and walked another. And this is your #4 starter? If you’re the Rangers, you’re kicking yourself right now. Adam Eaton is on the DL with that bum finger, as are chair-thrower Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson – two guys that will probably do the team more good by continuing to sit out. That means that your rotation goes Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kameron Loe, Dickey, and John Koronka. Loe was a reliever last year, and had an ERA of 3.42. He took a 3-hit shutout into the 7th against Boston last night. Other than Loe – who is completely unproven – and Millwood, the rotation is in total collapse mode, just four games into the season. There are no words to describe how amazing that is, which is surprising because nobody thought it could get worse than it was in years past. But this is just terrible. The Padilla Flotilla is barely afloat with a 4.71 ERA after last season, and this other guy – Koronka – has a 7.47 ERA in 15.2 MLB innings. This brings up possibly the best question to be asked all year:
WHY THE HECK DIDN’T THE RANGERS TRY TO GET SOME RESPECTABLE PITCHING FOR ALFONSO SORIANO???
You’re set offensively. But you could score 10 runs a game, and with the pitching you’ve got you’ll barely break .500. How do you not turn over Soriano to the team that will give you the best pitcher you can get? You don’t need anything else but pitching. Not another struggling outfielder, but a proven starting pitcher. Not some pitching prospects – but a proven, MLB-ready starting pitcher. Especially for a guy you gave up Alex Rodriguez for. And don’t say they had to dump his salary, even though they did – remember, they signed him in the first place. If they decided it was too much dough, they shouldn’t have pulled the trigger. Additionally, Michael Young is a natural 2B forced into short when Soriano arrived. Rookie Ian Kinsler is a natural SS, forced in 2B because Young is already there. Young is the worst defensive SS in the league… am I missing something? I’m pretty sure that GM Jon Daniels should be indicted for all this. That is, if owner Tom Hicks doesn’t have him assassinated first.

Pirates centerfielder Chris Duffy is a liar
Duffy
Anyone watching the Pirates Red’s game? Bottom of the 8th, and Masher Adam Dunn hits one between Left and Center. Pirates centerfielder Chris Duffy knew he wasn’t gonna be able to get to the ball in time, so he dove for it – and clearly trapped the ball. I mean, clearly. I literally knew it would be a trap before he even started his dive. Anyway, it was clear as day on MLB.TV as well. Then, Duffy did what any self-respecting outfielder in his situation would do – jumped up and fired the ball back to the field. Wait, no he didn’t. Before he had even completed the dive, he held up the ball that had bounced into his mitt, then got up and trotted towards the dugout, with the rest of the team following. You could tell they all knew they were lying, because I’d never seen a team make it into the dugout any quicker – it was like they were taking fire from the crowd, which they nearly were. Of course, they’re doing this because it makes it that much harder for the umps to overturn the call when they have to re-deploy the teams to the field. In this case, with the whole crowd booing, it took them about a minute to decide that they screwed up. So, they gave Dunn a single. One problem, when Duffy trapped that ball, the Pirates stopped playing defense. The Red’s had a guy on 1st and 3rd, and the guy on 3rd scored. That means that the Reds are now up 6-5 in the bottom of the 8th. Of course, this pisses off Pirates Manager Jim Tracy. He argues, he gets tossed. Play continues, with the next Red grounding out, inning over – for real this time. Then, who comes up to bat first? None other than Chris Duffy. Duffy runs the count to 1-2 on Red’s closer Dave Weathers, who then throws one in the dirt. What does Duffy do? Starts to toss his bat and says the pitch hit him. Are you freaking kidding me? His pants were practically aflame right there in the batters box. You think the ump is gonna cut you a break after you just tried to pull the covers over his eyes? Not a chance. Home Plate didn’t even check the ball for dirt. Play continues, Duffy strikes out, as does the next Pirate, and the next grounds out. Red’s win. Cheaters never prosper, Chris.

Jimmy Rollins fails
It’s about time… I couldn’t say this while the streak was going on for fear of interfering, but now I’m free. This whole talk of a hit streak was ridiculous. In the cold weather and in the form he was in, expecting that thing to live any longer than five games was pure stupidity. Besides, no one cares about a 2-season hit streak, because they just don’t. It means nothing. Thanks for the favor St. Louis – I owe you one.

Eric Gagne goes down again
No way. Is this guy ever gonna pitch again? Gagne went from that insane 90-some save streak – broken up when Alex Cora dove and missed that ball, something I’ll always remember – to walking around with a semi-bionic right arm. I don’t even know how many surgeries the guy has had now. Yet another NL West curse? Not too many details either – sounds pretty sketchy. Meanwhile, Derrick Turnbow is walking around pulling old-school Gagne – 97mph fastballs, followed by an 80mph changeup. Yeah right.

Mark Hendrickson shuts out the O’s
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Hendrickson pitches for the Rays. He has a career ERA of 5.12… and somehow has pulled off one other shutout in his career. Guess lightening strikes twice after all. The Devil Ray’s team slogan this year is, "We come to Play." Not to win. But we really want you to come to watch. The Rays and Tropicana Field are the most pitiful thing in the AL, and I don’t care about ‘the youth movement.’ The O’s have Camden Yards going for them, and frankly they aren’t that bad. The Royals have a water fountain in Centerfield. The Mariners have Team Japan. Texas has offense. The Rays, however, have a crappy stadium, a ho-hum rivalry with the Red Sox, and no organizational plan. Whenever a guy goes on the DL, (as Julio Lugo just did today,) the media asks if they’re gonna call up B.J. Upton. Someone in the Rays organization flips a coin, and then Upton is either ‘still working in AAA’ or ‘still working on switching positions and improving defensively in AAA.’ Next thing you know, Upton is on the bench at Tropicana Field. Blink twice, and suddenly he’s back down in AAA, at least that’s how it went in 2004. In 2005, the Ray’s figured that until Upton can raise his fielding percentage above .905, he isn’t going anywhere near the Major Leagues. Good idea. Bad planning. A young player is a lot like a huge tanker – you can’t just stop, turn around, and head another way without considerable effort and waste.

Pedro got slapped around, cont.
As I said in my post earlier today, Pedro got slapped around today, because that’s what happens when you only throw 7 innings in Spring Training. Although the Met’s beat writer won’t admit it:

Martinez watched the decisive runs score from inside the clubhouse. He
had departed after allowing five runs, four earned, on four hits, five
walks, one intentional, and, for the first time in his career, three
hit batsmen. He also struck out six. And if his problematic toe was an
issue, it wasn’t obvious. Martinez threw 96 pitches.

Uh, how about the fact that he threw 42 balls and 54 strikes? How about the fact that he allowed 9 guys on base through some sort of walk? Maybe I’m just dumb, and this guy was being sarcastic. Maybe what he was trying to say was, ‘his problematic toe wasn’t an issue, but every other part of his body was.’ And what are you thinking leaving the dude out there for 96 pitches? That seems kinda stupid.

Thats all for tonight. Remember, leave some thoughts.

NL West – Citizenship Revoked

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 Padres
live. Cameron
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.

Let
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.

Arizona Diamondbacks

So, to go more in depth with the Diamondbacks, they were tooling aroundRandyjohnson1sized_2

with a
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
Season:

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?

Did
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!?"
Ng: "China"
Mets: "What country
in China!?"

… 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
giant Circus.

Colorado Rockies

Here is another team grappling with the fact that11_01_brosius_hr2_300 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.

In Conclusion…

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.

Quick note on Pokey Reese

I’m not gonna make a big deal out of this yet, because frankly no one knows the whole story. The Marlins recently terminated the contract of newly acquired veteran Pokey Reese. Reese was expected to compete for the starting 2nd base job this year, and the 32-year-old was apparently having a pretty good first two weeks of camp. That is, until he went AWOL.

Apparently, Reese just disappeared. Reese left camp Wednesday, missed the exhibition game against University of Miami, and no one heard from him until Friday, when his agent notified the club that he was "safe," but offered no other details. When is it ok for you to skip out on your employer for two days and leave them wondering "whether he was all right." Well, I can think of one case – if you no longer wish to be employed, and that’s what happened.

We think that the 72 hours that have passed was more than a reasonable amount of time for him to offer some sort of explanation for his unexcused absence. We still do not have that explanation and we’re moving on. He will not be with the Marlins in ’06.

That comes from Marlins GM Larry Beinfest. Hold it there Larry. One year ago, Proplayer_aeriel people were predicting a playoff appearance for your team. Now, you just had a liquidation sale and your team is going to be awful for no less than three years. You have two star players left, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Cabrera runs like a bus, and Willis has endorsed every organization and product he can find. On top of that, you have the most ridiculous stadium this side of the Astrodome, you can’t get a new one, and your team is gonna get booted out of Florida. Finally, the clincher: you attempted to retool Pokey Reese as a 2nd baseman and he skipped out on you, leaving you with Dan Uggla, Alfredo Amezaga, Mickey Lopez, Scott Seabol and Lenny Harris. Have a fun season, Larry.

Wait, there is an upside. The Marlins do have Sergio Mitre and Hanley Ramirez. I saw Sergio Mitre pitch in Chicago last year, and he didn’t put up great numbers, but he had one absolute lights-out pitch, a curveball if I remember correctly. This has no bearing on the Marlins status as doormat team the next three years.

Thanks for reading.