31 March 2003

Brooks and Done

One of the more interesting Spring Training Stories (and let's be honest, there aren't many) this year was the possibility that swing-man Brooks Kieschnick might actually have made the Milwaukee Brewers team out of camp. Normally, this would not be such a big deal, but this time, when I say 'swing-man' I don't mean reliever/starter, I mean reliever/hitter. Kieschnick was vying to make the team as a right handed relief pitcher and backup OF/1B. Unfortunately, for him and for us, the Brewers finalized their opening day roster on Saturday, and Brooks was not on it. Presumably he'll be in AAA until Billy Beane or Theo Epstein or another GM with a brain calls and offers a couple of cases of Skoal to the Brew Crew for the right to book Brooks, whereupon he will help some other team to a division title. Milwaukee wasn't going to win one anyway.

And therein lies the problem: Having a guy on the roster who can both hit and pitch (Kieschnick apparently is exemplary at neither, but competent at both) saves you a roster spot. That way, you can carry, say, a fourth catcher, if you're Bobby Cox, or another superutility guy, if you're Tony LaRussa, or a fifteenth pitcher, if you're the Rockies' manager, or even an extra infielder who can't hit, if you're Lou Piniella. But if you're the Brewers, then having someone like Kieschnick on the roster might actually help you win games, and that would be bad. Because then you'd have to admit that it's possible to win games being from a small market, and acting-commisioner-for-life Bud Selig would have to do the same, since the team is, for all intents and purposes, his.

I'm not sure what the purpose of making such a big deal about Kieschnick's presence in camp was. It's been a long time since anyone has carried a guy who got significant playing time as both a hitter and a pitcher, as Rob Neyer pointed out some weeks ago. But several of the guys who made the team ahead of Kieschnick could not possibly have made it for any reason other than that they were going to make it no matter what they did. Take a look (I left out the starting pitchers, since they're not really his competition):


Vizcaino 28 1.42 6 6.1 10 1 1 0 4 8
DeJean 32 1.64 10 11.0 6 2 0 0 8 9
Nance 25 1.84 10 14.2 13 3 1 0 3 11
Foster 24 3.65 9 12.1 15 5 1 0 6 9
Kieschnick 30 3.95 9 13.2 10 6 0 0 8 9
Leskanic 34 6.94 10 11.2 13 9 3 1 4 8
de los Santos 30 9.35 9 8.2 12 9 2 0 7 5
Ford 21 13.50 6 6.0 16 9 0 1 3 9

Granted, Kieschnick wasn't light-out or anything, but he was reasonably effective. And 'reasonably effective' is better than 'sucks ass'. But we'll get to that later.

Now, Luis Vizcaino, Mike DeJean and Shane Nance all had very good springs, so I can't begrudge them a spot, and the two former were pretty decent last year too, as was de los Santos, despite these numbers, so I have no real problem there. Leskanic is coming off an injury year, and so it seems to me that perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad thing to start him out in AAA until they're sure he's healthy AND he can get hitters out. John Foster is fairly young, but has progressed through the Brewers' farm system, and was decent in AAA last year, but lost about 3 K's/9 Inings, and his ERA rose more than a run for the second year in a row, so I'd say it's not a foregone conclusion that he's got nothing left to prove in Richmond.

So that leaves one player (here comes that ass-sucking I promised you...): Matt Ford. Ford is only 21 years old, has exactly one year of pro ball under his belt, and it's an impressive one: 9-5 2.37 ERA in 114 innings...at Class A Dunedin in the Florida State League. And as you can see from the above, he did a pretty good impression of a batitng practice pitcher against watered-down competition this spring, allowing 20 baserunners, and nine runs, in only six innings. Ouch. How a 21-year old, with no experience above the FSL and no evidence that he can prevent hitters from teeing off on him makes the team ahead of a 30-year old with decent pitching numbers in AAA last year (2.59 ERA and 30 K's in 31 innings) who can also hit a little, and play the outfield, is beyond me.

Now, what about the Bench?

Kieschnick OF/1B 30 14 4 6 2 7 0 0 .857 .429
Helms 1B 26 68 7 20 1 5 1 0 .412 .294
Podsednik OF 27 70 11 17 1 10 4 2 .343 .243
Vander Wal OF 36 67 12 13 2 13 1 0 .373 .194
Conti OF 28 36 3 7 1 1 0 0 .306 .194

Again, Kieschnick beat the tar out of the ball every time (not that there were many) he came up. C'mon, 2 homers and 7 RBI in 14 lousy pinch hit at-bats? What more do you want him to do? Sell ice-cream?

Podsednik is a speedy guy with no power and decent plate discipline, and is therefore handy, as are Conti and Helms, if they ever do anything (both have a career OPS around .700, which is bad for a shortstop, much less an OF or 1B). The Brewers traded for Conti from the Devil Rays ("you know you're in trouble when..."), sending catcher Javier Valentin, who probably should have beaten out either Kieth Osik or Eddie Perez for the starter's job, had he stayed.

At the time, Brewers' GM Doug Melvin said, "In Jason Conti, we have acquired an outfielder with major league experience that will provide immediate assistance, given the injuries our club has sustained during spring training." Well, in responnse to that, I'd like to quote inspirational self-help guru Matt Foley;


There are piles and piles of experienced major league outfielders who can help you right now, Dean. You don't have to trade a 27-year old catcher who can actually hit a little (NOTE: Perez and Osik can't.) to get one. The injuries to which he refers are Geoff Jenkins and Brady Clark, and probably Jeffrey Hammonds, who if he isn't now, will be injured soon. But they already had several guys with major league experience, all of whom could help now, if you'd let 'em.

John Vander Wal had a terrible spring, but has generally proven himself to be a decent guy to have on the bench, and his numbers for the Yankees last year were right in line with his career averages. But he didn't do anything in the spring, and was only signed to a minor league contract anyway, so they could have cut him loose, instead of paying him something like $750K to ride the pine and spot start until Jenkins comes back. Anyway, most of the bench is a toss-up, but given the relative weakness here, it couldn't hurt to have an extra pinch hitter. Could it?

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27 March 2003

Morgan Than I Can Handle

With apologies to Mike Carminati, I saw this today and couldn't let it go:

Morgan: Teams in mix for Series

As most of you know, Joe Morgan is a great analyst...if you need a laugh. If you're looking for hard core, well founded study and/or prognostication, go to Baseball Prospectus. If you're looking for head-in-the-sand, old-school, pitching-and-defense-win-Championships kinda writing, then Joe's your guy. I'll show you:

Let's take a look at the teams I believe are in the mix for the 2003 World Series (as well as one sleeper from each league). And as we preview this season, let's review how the 2002 champions got there -- because I believe their success will have a bearing on this year's eventual champion.

BoS:Yes, let's. But we know that this is what you believe, Joe. It's your column.

American League
Anaheim Angels
The Angels won the World Series not because of superior talent or dominant pitching or tremendous sluggers. They won because they understood what the word team means. Each player understood that he had a role in the run to the championship.

BoS:Joe, they won because they scored more runs than the Giants did in four of the seven games they played. Pretty simple. They got the runs they needed in the clutch like they did all season long, but such good fortune rarely follows a team two years in a row.

[...blah-blah-pitching-blah...] The other key for the Angels was aggressiveness. They were aggressive at the plate and on the bases, which enabled them to create offense and manufacture runs.

BoS:Ah yes, the old aggressiveness theory. Let's see...the Giants only stole five bases in the series, whereas those aggressive Angels stole...six! That's 20% more! Big factor. Didn't hurt that the Giants' pitching gave up five and a half runs per game and only held onto two of four saves either. Well, it hurt the Giants.

Anaheim's hitters wouldn't let pitchers throw a first-pitch fastball over the plate to get ahead in the count. They were aggressive from the moment they stepped in the batter's box. They also put the ball in play consistently. The '02 Angels had the fewest strikeouts in the majors (805). By contrast, the Cubs had 1,269 to lead the majors.

BoS:By contrast, the Cubs kinda sucked last year, so you're comparing apples and meatballs. The Yankees struck out an AL-leading 1171 times in 2002, en-route to winning an also AL-leading 103 regular season games, By contrast, the 62-100 Kansas City Royals had the second fewest K's, with only 921. I doubt you'd say that we should all hope for our favorite teams to emulate the Royals, so what's your point?

This season, I believe we'll see teams being more aggressive than before -- taking the extra base, going from first to third, putting pressure on the defense to make plays. While many teams may try to copy the 2002 Angels, we'll have to see how many can maintain that team concept for an entire season.

BoS:Yes, Joe, we know it's your column. But you know, aggressiveness on the basepaths only works if you have baserunners on the basepaths. A team that relies as much on batting average to get on base as the Angels did last year is bound to have trouble repeating its own success at scoring runs.

Oakland Athletics
Most people believe the A's are automatic World Series contenders because of their Big Three of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. But I'm still not convinced they have the offensive philosophy to win a championship.

The A's approach emphasizes on-base percentage, which works well during the season when you play inferior teams. But when you get to the postseason and face better pitching, you draw fewer walks and are forced to rely on the home run. This has contributed to Oakland's first-round exit the past three years.

BoS:Joe may have a point here, beside the one at the tip of his duncecap. On the other hand, if you can't win in the regular season, then you don't have a chance to get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

The A's also must deal with the Miguel Tejada contract situation this year. I'm shocked that management would say before the season that they won't sign their star shortstop, who will be a free agent after the season. Usually, you say, "We'll evaluate that in the offseason." There seems to be some faulty logic at work there, and it will affect the A's this season.

BoS:This is very funny: Joe Morgan lecturing you about 'faulty logic' is like Geraldo Rivera lecturing you about 'sensationalism'. Or George Steinbrenner lecturing you about 'fiscal responsibility'. Or Keanu Reeves lecturing you about 'good acting'. Or Burt Reynolds lecturing you about 'hair'. Or...well, you get the picture.

Honorable Mention -- Minnesota Twins
The Twins are also in the World Series mix, but not quite as much as the above teams, in my opinion. Their newfound postseason experience could come in handy. And their style is similar to the Angels.

BoS:Oh, this is your opinion, Joe? I thought you were just reporting prophecies you had gleaned from the Almighty. Thanks for clearing that up. Again.

Sleeper -- Texas Rangers
They have baseball's best player, Alex Rodriguez, and one of these years their pitching and defense could come around. Will this be the season they put it together?


National League
San Francisco Giants
[...blah blah aggressiveness blah...]

This year the Giants have added speed guys -- second baseman Ray Durham and outfielders Marquis Grissom and Jose Cruz Jr. -- while slugging second baseman Jeff Kent departed for the Astros. The Giants want to get more runners on base in front of Bonds. Another big acquisition is third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, who could offer protection for Bonds in the lineup.

BoS:Grissom is going to be a bust. He's got a little speed and power, but won't get on base often enough to be a factor and will lose his job by mid-season.

It will be interesting to see if the Giants can overcome the loss of Kent and Dusty Baker, the best manager in the baseball. It won't be easy.

BoS:Baker's refusal to play guys who know how to hit in spite of their ages or handedness is what lost the World Series. Anyone who calls in Tom Goodwin to pinch-'hit' for Reggie Sanders in a crucial point of the game cannot wear the title "Best Manager in The Baseball", whatever that means.

Atlanta Braves
[ Braves...blah...blah...pitching...blah...weak offense...yadda..yadda] And while their overhauled rotation appears to be weaker, Greg Maddux has said that this could be the best staff the Braves have had. When he says that, you take notice.

BoS:Yeah, and Wayne Campbell once said that monkeys might fly out of his butt, and everybody took notice, but nobody took him seriously.

There will be more of a race this year in the NL East -- remember, last year the Braves won the division by 19 games. But they certainly know how to win, and I expect them to be one of the NL's best teams.

BoS:I know how to win, too: Score more runs than your opponent does on any given day. No secret there. The challenge is actually doing that. An offense that gets really thin after Gary Sheffield and Los Dos Joneses and a pitching staff that gets really thin after, well, Maddux, can know all it wants to about winning. They just won't do it. At least not as often as the Phillies.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Someday, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson won't be the dominant, fearsome duo they are now. But "someday" won't be this year. I believe they'll be as dominant as ever in 2003. The support they get from the rest of the staff and from the lineup will determine whether the D-Backs can win a second World Series in three years.

BoS:There he goes with those silly 'beliefs' again...

Sleeper -- Chicago CubsThe hiring of manager Dusty Baker, the rotation (led by Mark Prior and Kerry Wood), and an offense led by Sammy Sosa make the Cubs an intriguing team to keep an eye on.

BoS:Intriguing? Yes. Competetive? No, not this year.

So these are the favorites. But remember, the Angels went from 41 games out in 2001 to the world championship in 2002. And that can happen again -- other teams have similar potential this season.

BoS:Joe, you've been reading Jayson Stark's columns again, haven't you? The 2001 Angels won 75 games, and only finished 41 games out of first place because the Seattle Mariners happened to win 116 that year. Technically, this can happen, as there were two teams who finished 41 or more games out of first place in their divisions: The Devil Rays (48 behind the Yankees) and the Brewers (41 behind the Cardinals). But anybody who thinks that either of those two teams can make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series, must be "really stupid" ... if you get my drift.

But they must commit to a total team effort for it to happen. So keep this in mind on Opening Day: More than just the big-market teams have a chance to win.

BoS: You really believe that, Joe? Well, I guess he's not all wrong. Except that the total team effort to which the Milwaukee or Tampa teams must commit is kindnapping and brainwashing the Yankees' roster, dressing them up in Brewers' or Devil Rays' uniforms, and marching that team out there 162 times this year. Otherwise, they've got no hope in 2003, and you'll hafta look to some of the at least decent teams (White Sox, Astros, Phillies, Blue Jays) to take some big strides and surprise everyone.

Heck, maybe Joe Morgan himself will take some big strides and surprise everyone ... by making sense in consecutive paragraphs sometime this season.

Nah, probably not.

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26 March 2003


I have added or updated a few links.

David Pinto's King of all Baseball Blogs has moved to the aptly named www.baseballmusings.com. Do not adjust your sets, just your links.

Through my eXTReMe Tracker, I found that I am (or was) linked by a couple of political blogs. Ken Goldstein, who runs the hillarious Illuninated Donkey, was kind enough to provide me with some publicity last fall, and had me in his rotisserie links for a while again. The Donk is now my first official not-really-a-baseball-or-sports site link, though sadly he falls way under all the baseball bloggers on the left there. Doesn't mean I don't love him.

Also, I've added Skrythals (Loud Mouth in Norweigen) right below him. The proprietor of this politics/sports blog thinks enough of me that he's got me sandwiched right between Andrew Sullivan and John Perricone. I know, it sounds uncomfortable, but really, I'm honored. And Perricone and I are the only baseball blogs he's linked to anywhere. Pretty cool.

Twisted Fans Sports Blog is a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of sports, the bizarre things that happen in it, and our reactions to them. Evidently the keepers of Twisted Fans discovered my post about the beating of Royals' 1B coach Tom Gamboa last SeptOber, and therefore keep a link to that post on their main page. Hopefully I'll say something funny again sometime soon so they'll have a reason to link the main page of Boy of Summer.

Getting back to baseball, The New Giant Thrill has 100% more authorship than Boy of Summer does, as two guys (Matt and Josh) write about their favorite team, which just happens to be the reigning NL Champion San Francisco Giants (New & Improved, Livan Free Version!!). They asked me some time ago to give them a plug, so here it is: Plug.

And last, but not Finally, another book review, over at Boy of Summer's Books:
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life.

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14 March 2003

Welcome Uecker Fans!
...somebody has to

For my birthday, which happened to coincide with the deadline to offer arbitration to your own free agents, I thought I'd buy myself a baseballreference.com player page, and simultaneously support Sean Forman's work over there. Because I'm a cheapskate, I looked for a bargain, something in the $10 range, and couldn't come up with much. Actually, I tried to get Dr. Strangeglove, but somebody beat me to him. So I found Bob Uecker, and his nearly 50,000 visits for a paltry $15. I've gotten a little traffic, but now my bet is paying off in spades.

Everyone's favorite self-effacing ex-backstop, Bob Uecker , has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Sorta. Actually, he's been given the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting, which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp frick. Err...stick.

Mr. Baseball even got himself a little free publicity in Rob Neyer's chat forum today:

Bob Uecker (Front Row, MO): Hey, how come it's taken this long for me to get into the Hall of Fame? I was a better hitter AND broadcastert than Scooter...or at least I am now.

Rob Neyer: (3:04 PM ET ) I don't have any idea, Bob; you certainly should have been elected years ago. Technically, though, you're not actually in the Hall of Fame . . . but that's a topic for another day. Thanks for all the great questions, and I'll be doing this again soon.

OK, so that was me, getting Bob some publicity in his name. Rob never answers my questions in chat sessions, so I figured that this was the only way. Acyually, I first tried asking a question as "Buddy Bailedout (Macho Grande):" buddy wasn't having any of it.

So anyway, welcome, all you Uecker fans, to Boy of Summer. Hope you'll come back.

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13 March 2003

The Gambler Wins!

Not or some poser but this Kenny Rogers was signed by the Minnesota Twins to a one-year, $2 million contract.

My initial reaction to this news was to think that it's the classic knee-jerk, poorly thought-out, desperation signing, and I'm still not totally convinced it wasn't. The pricetag is not too bad for a team like New York, LA or Chicago, but $2 million is still a lot of money in the midwest. What's most surprising about the signing is that Rogers wasn't already signed by someone, given that Jamie Moyer had been able to negotiate a three-year deal with the Mariners. Take a look at their home/road splits the last three years:

Home 4.59 17 15 47 300.33 337 172 153 33 103 156 0.285
Away 4.70 14 13 40 258.33 282 143 135 26 94 152 0.276
Total 4.64 31 28 87 558.66 619 315 288 59 197 308 0.281

Home 3.45 22 13 48 318.67 273 132 122 33 71 197 0.231
Away 4.47 24 11 45 275.66 285 144 137 41 76 167 0.265
Total 3.92 46 24 93 594.33 558 276 259 74 147 364 0.247

At first glance, one might think that there's a pretty vast difference between the two pitchers, and certainly a 3/4 run disparity in ERA is nothing to sneeze at, but a closer look, as usual, reveals that the pitchers are not so different. Jamie Moyer's been helped tremendously by his home park, Safeco Field, where his ERA over the last three seasons is more than an entire run lower than it is on the road. Rogers had the presumed displeasure of pitching half of his games (more, actually) in Arlington Cemet..err..Ballpark, which is described as a "severe hitters park" by Baseball Prospectus. (His slight improvement in ERA at home belies the fact that all of his peripheral stats got worse there.) So they're probably as close to even with each other as any two pitchers could be.

I'm not saying that Rogers is going to suddenly morph into Warren Spahn, or even Tommy John, but he is two years younger than Moyer, but he's been almost as good as Moyer for the last three seasons, and would presumably have a better chance of aging gracefully, since he throws harder than Moyer does. (Actually, come to think of it, my cousin's 2-year-old daughter probably throws harder than Moyer, so forget I mentioned it.)

Eric Milton went down with a knee injury that should keep him out of action for about four months, which kinda sucks for him, but was not necessarily expected to hurt the Twins' chances much this year, as they already had six or seven guys who could start, and Radke, Mays and Milton all kinda underachieved last year. If one of the other two bounces back, and if they get even comparable performances from Kyle Lohse, Santana, or Juan Rincon, then the Twins are fine, and might have better spent the money shoring up their infield or bench.

Still, you'd understand it if they were maybe a little reluctant to go with an all-young guys rotation, and needed a "veteran presence" to steady the load. But Radke, Reed and Mays have all been around for a while (Reed's been around for two or three whiles), and Johan Santana is likely to be very good at the back of the rotation. Or at least he would have been, if not for Rogers. The only truly troubling thing about the transaction is this:

According to the AP story,

"The Twins were confident Johan Santana could fill Milton's spot, as he did
last season when Milton, Brad Radke and Joe Mays missed a total of more
than six months to injuries. But Santana, 8-6 with a 2.99 ERA last year,
is more valuable in the bullpen as a long or short left-handed reliever."

I'm sorry, but unless you think think that Santana is going to be a BAD starter, it makes no sense to say that he's more valuable as a reliever. As I mentioned the other day, an as Buffy will confirm, it is much easier to kill one vampire than ten, and it is much easier to find someone to pitch 70 good innings than 200. Duh. At least it wasn't a direct quote from anyone in the Twins' front office.

Not surprisingly, Aaron Gleeman expresses many of the same sentiments as me, but in more detail, and with a somewhat more positive spin, as he is a Twins fan. Aaron also goes into some discussion of the Jack "DH Waiting to Happen" Cust acquisition by Baltimore and the Joe Table-Omar Vizquel feud, which has already been overplayed, so I won't discuss it myself.

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10 March 2003


I have finally fulfilled my promise to the esteemed author Harvey Frommer, and written my review of his co-authored book Growing Up Baseball, which is on my book review website, Boy of Summer's Books. I've also got a review of Doris Kearns Goodwin's memoir, Wait Till Next Year, which I borrowed from my mom like a year ago and finally got around to reading last month. I'm a little behind. Which I guess is better than being a giant ass.

Christian Ruzich, the Cub Reporter, had the opportunity to visit the spring training home of everybody's favorite baseball team named for immature forest animals. I'm pretty jealous, being stuck here in Pennsylvania.

Stephen Keane sent me an email last week to inform me of his new site, the Eddie Cranepool Society, a Mets blog. Stephen writes kinda longwinded and stream of consciousness and spellling isnt always his strongest suit but he has some interesting things to say and hes very passionate about his Mets and you should go check him out if you havent already.

Also, as a public service message. Just over a month ago I added a tracker to the webcounter, so I have an idea of who's reading my stuff and where they're coming from. I don't check it everyday, but sometimes I see that I was referred to by a link on a website with which I am not familiar. If you have me linked, please let me know. If not to reciprocate the link, which I will usually gladly do, then to let me know who likes my stuff enough to spend the time placing a Boy of Summer link on their own website. I'm always honored when somebody does that. Thanks.

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07 March 2003

Kim The Merciless

Byung-Hyun Kim, the former Arizona Diamondbacks closer, is bidding to become a starter this year, and so far the results are promising. Kim has only made one start in the majors, and he gave up four runs in just over two innings. Otherwise, he's been exclusively used as a reliever, and more recently, almost entirely as a closer. Take a look at his stats:

Year GF% IP H R ER HR   BB   SO WHIP K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR/9  ERA
1999 40% 27.33 20 15 14 2 20 31 1.46 10.21 6.59 6.59 0.66 4.61
2000 49% 70.67 52 39 35 9 46 111 1.39 14.14 5.86 6.62 1.15 4.46
2001 56% 98.00 58 32 32 10 44 113 1.04 10.38 4.04 5.33 0.92 2.94
2002 92% 84.00 64 20 19 5 26 92 1.07 9.86 2.79 6.86 0.54 2.04
Total 64% 280 194 106 100 26 136 347 1.18 11.15 4.37 6.24 0.84 3.21
200IP 64% 200 139 76 71 19 97 248 1.18 11.15 4.37 6.24 0.84 3.21

Kim had been a starter throughout his career until he got to the majors. He was only 20 when he first came up, and despite the cultural stigma associated with relief pitching, Kim swallowed his pride and then promptly began chewing up and spitting out major league batters. His record (and Matt Mantei's annual trip to the DL) got him the closer's job, at which he has excelled. The challenge now becomes considering whether to take a guy out of a role in which he has thrived to place him in another in which he may not, leaving the pitching staff potentially weaker in two places.

TSN's Ken Rosenthal doesn't think it's a good idea, but then Ken and I don't often agree. His feeling is that Kim's not necessary as a fifth starter, since they have Miguel Batista and Armando Reynoso to fill out the back end of the rotation. First of all, counting on Armando Reynoso as anything other than a towel-boy has repeatedly proven itself an unwise expectation. The man has pitched all of 47 innings in the last two years, and hasn't had an ERA under 5.00 since 1999. Secondly, if Kim the Starter is even somewhat like Kim the Closer, he'll soon be their third starter, not their fifth. Patterson has talent, but won't likely turn many heads this year. Batista and Dessens are both decent, but nothing special (Dessens' 3.03 ERA in 2002 belies peripheral stats that indicate that he won't be able to sustain such success.)

The other concern that Rosenthal and others have raised is Kim's durability. Aaron Gleeman did a good job of de-bunking Rosenthal's pitch-count arguments, so I won't go into that again, but Ken's contention that the Korean's diminutive stature somehow makes him more susceptible to injury is almost laughable. What little we understand of the science and mechanics of pitching indicates that bad mechanics and poor usage patterns lead to injuries much more consistently than whether or not a pitcher has a 'rubber arm'. If anything, Kim's underhanded delivery should actually place less stress on the arm and shoulder than conventional overhand pitching, allowing him to pitch more innings, more often. If you can throw that way, and still have the velocity and control to get major league hitters out (which Kim has consistently done, his two World Series meltdowns notwithstanding) then more power to you, I say.

[Interestingly, Yankees farmhand Jay Tessmer's submarine-style delivery has not afforded him the same success that Kim has had, at least not in the majors. Admittedly, he doesn't throw as hard as Kim, but hey, you'd think that after the 23 innings spread out over five freakin' years the Yankees have given him to prove himself, he'd have done something by now, right? Maybe if he were pitching for Bob Brenly he'd get a shot to do something.]

The bottom line is that good relievers are much easier to find than good starters. Obviously, if you had the choice between getting 200 good innings or 70 good innings out of a guy, this becomes a no-brainer. Or, in the immortal words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer,

"Like, does the word 'duh' mean anything to you?"

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06 March 2003

Same Oriold Story

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has given his front office permission to take on the $79 million due Cincinatti Reds' centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr. in the final six years of his contract, several major-league sources told The Baltimore Sun in Wednesday's editions.

In a related story, several reliable sources have told Boy of Summer that President Bush is "more than willing to take all that bothersome oil" off Saddam Hussein's hands, as long as they can reach an acceptable compromise. Also, I understand that one-time pretty-boy Corey Haim has decided to stop holding out and begin making big motion pictures again. He's just waiting for the right deal to come along. Like Dream a Little Dream II. Wait, too late.

Anywho, ain't no way that nobody from no lousy-ass Orioles' farm system plus some sorry-assed major leaguers is gonna make Jim Bowden wanna give up his star CF, even if he has only played center stage about as often as Liberace the last two years. Griffey can still be one of the five best CF in the majors when healthy, which he's expected to be this year, pretty much. I don't see it, but you're allowed to wish. Besides, even if they did get Griffey, and didn't have to give up any of their major league "talent" the Orioles are still about five impact players away from, well, having an 'impact'. On third place.

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04 March 2003

Welcome to the Smart-Ass News...

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A CAT-scan has confirmed that Colorado Rockies shortstop Juan Uribe has a broken bone in his right foot. He will have surgery Wednesday and likely be sidelined for more than a month. Uribe will have a screw inserted into the bone.

Rockies trainer Tom Probst declined to estimate how long Uribe might be out.

``Everybody heals differently,'' Probst said Monday, ``so we're not throwing out an arbitrary date. A bone usually heals in four-to-six weeks. But is he going to be back playing then? No.''

Probst then elaborated, "We're gonna keep this guy outa the lineup as long as possible. I mean, did you see what he hit last year? Like .240 with no power and no plate discipline and no speed. And that's playing half his games at Coors! His OPS on the road barely cleared .500! Nope, I think if that right foot heals quicker than we think, we might hafta do something about the other one."

David Wells Either Is or Is Not A Big Fat Idiot
...and other non-committal observations

David Jumbo Boomer Big Giant Honkin' Lard-Ass Wells (who, to be fair, is roughly my size, except with some athletic prowess) like his pudgy basketball counterpart, Charles Barkley, seems to have been mis-quoted in his own autobiography. Imagine that.

First, it came out last week that he had been half-drunk, with a "skull-rattling hangover" or something like that, when he pitched his perfect game against the then-woeful Minnesota Twinkies back in 1998. Now he says that was an exaggeration, as was his originally quoted estimate that 25-40% of MLB players take steroids, and that this number is rising. Apparently Wells plans to change that number for the final re-write of the book, as it is too close to Jose Canseco's estimate in the tell-all book that he keeps threatening to write.

The whole problem with a tell-all book is that it's supposed to tell, well 'all'. If it only tells some, or if the author takes back a bunch of what's in it, before the public even gets a chance to read the darn thing, well then it isn't worth much, is it? Can you imagine how seriously people would have taken Ball Four if Jim Bouton had bowed to Bowie Kuhn's wishes and discredited the book when it was released? Not very, I betcha. Of course, there are two major differences here:

1) Wells is almost 40 years old, and planned to retire after this year anyway, probably, and he's already a bajillionaire, so he's really not risking anything by stepping on anybody's toes. Bouton was only 30 when he was writing Ball Four, and it basically ended his career in MLB, which had not yet made him rich. (Bouton made the double-mistake of being born in 1939 and having all his success when he was only 25.)

B) Nobody cares what David "Insert Weight-Related-Derogatory-Nickname Here" Wells thinks. Bouton had a reputation as quirky and unorthodox, but also intelligent. This morning I heard a certain radio personality use the old joke about how the first book Wells writes will make one more than he's probably ever read, and while that's probably not true, Wells has gone out of his way to let people know that he's anything but cerebral. Like in Blazing Saddles:

"You've gotta remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land.
The common clay of the New West. You know ... morons

Feliz CumpleanosCumpleanosCumpleanos

The Bad News: It turns out that SanFran IF Pedro Feliz is actually 27 years old, not 25, as was previously thought.

The Good News: Statistically, this should be Pedro's peak year at the plate!

The Worse News: Baseball Prospectus only project him to an EqA of around .230. Some 'peak'.

In Other News...

David Pinto has a tongue-in-cheek lineup of the Democratic Presidential hopefuls. Clever guy, that Pinto.

Also through Baseball Musings, I found Baseball Primer's Kansas City Royals season preview in the form of Poe's 'The Raven'. (It's even better if you imagine it as recited by Tarzan, Tonto and Frankenstein!) Very funny and very smart, something the Royals' front office is not. Don't worry, I won't spend three days worth of posts detailing how bad the KC team is. But I could put a Devil Rays season preview to verse..."Stairway to Basement" anyone?

Speaking of verse, Mike Carminati adapts an old Franklin P. Adams favorite for the re-introduction of the beloved Joe Morgan Chat Days. Also very clever. (Mike, not Joe.)

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