Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Mariners 5, Angels 7
Final score, Mariners 5, Angels 7.
Update: on the money, $48M over four years. That's one heck of a big gamble.
Update: The more I think about this, the less I like the deal. GA took advantage of Arte's neck-sticking and got far more in dollars and years than he should have been given. What this comes down to is Stoneman betting that the 37-year-old version of Anderson will hit as well as the 32-year-old version. It's about as bad as the Salmon deal, and will be coincident with it for a couple years. PECOTA (subscription required) projects Anderson to take a substantial dip in value starting this year, with an eye-popping 36.4% collapse rate this year alone. Many of his comps (Tony Oliva 1972, Joe Pepitone 1972, Ted Kluszewski 1956, George Bell 1991, Orlando Cepeda 1969, and Dante Bichette 1995) started or were in the midst of substantial declines. It looks startlingly like another move based more on sentiment than sense. The major caveat with PECOTA is that Anderson only picks up 35 comps, so as crystal balls go, it's a pretty foggy one. Chalk it up to Stoneman's inability to discern from career years, a flaw that got Scott Spiezio resigned as a starting first baseman in 2003.
Update yet again: U.S.S. Mariner agrees with me, and even goes so far as to say Arte could prove to be another Tom Hicks. All that, of course, predicated on PECOTA's accuracy. For sure, I wouldn't have given GA that much dough for that many years.
Weaver = Brown?Does Baseball Prospectus like the Dodgers' chances this year? Well, maybe. The magazine seems to have a bad case of schizophrenia. One day, they're picking them to finish fourth, and the next they're heaping praise on Paul DePodesta for picking up outfielder/petty criminal Milton Bradley. (As usual, some or all of these links require a BP subscription.) While BP hasn't recalibrated their standings, the news is mostly good on the Dodgers' chances, with Hideo Nomo remaining a big question mark. Joe Sheehan is even more optimistic (Nomo aside), declaring Weaver might be Brown's equal this year:
Jeff Weaver, Dodgers. Part hunch, part context, and his brutal spring doesn't make me feel any better about this selection. While Kevin Brown is the better pitcher of the two, much of the differences between the ERAs of Weaver and Brown last year was context: ballpark, league and defense. You can't make a more extreme move right now than going from Yankee Stadium and their middle infield to Dodger Stadium and theirs. That alone moves the two pitchers to within a run of ERA of each other. I think Weaver takes advantage of the context to get his command back, and ends up having comparable value--within a win, in Support-Neutral or VORP terms--of Brown.I like Weaver's chances to improve, but I'm not that convinced. As I said earlier, he looks to improve a lot, but a 4.07 ERA is nothing like Kevin Brown's nasty sub-3.00's he regularly posts when healthy. Still, it didn't hurt that his first outing ended in the "W" column.
"Party Arte" All BusinessIn case you missed it, today's Times carries an article about the Angels under Arte Moreno. Arte's clearly got a game plan: winning breeds financial success. Whether he can pull that off with an unimaginative GM remains to be seen, but he's got a long way to go. TV revenue still "lags far behind the Dodgers'", but this could merely be the prelude to something I've speculated on previously, the opening of a new cable channel:
The Angels' contract with Channel 9 expires next year, and the contract with Fox Sports Net expires in 2008. The Fox contracts with the Lakers, Mighty Ducks and Clippers all expire by 2008, and the Angels have considered the possibility of starting their own cable channel — or threatening to — in partnership with other local pro teams. Disney lost interest in owning the Angels and Ducks after its plans for an ESPN West cable channel collapsed.And HBO, and Cinemax, etc. The point is, even if this year is less-than-stellar, Arte could spin off his own cable network four years from now, something the Dodgers won't be able to do for years.
"We are exploring everything," Moreno said. "There are some great teams in L.A. You've got showtime there."
Monday, April 12, 2004
Bott to the Looper
Bott, a 22-year-old left-hander, was 7-7 with a 3.16 ERA, 143 strikeouts and 38 walks last year at Single-A. He will report to the Dodgers' Double-A Jacksonville club.Mariners Wheelhouse has a bit more on this trade, saying that this makes things more even, though I disagree; getting Ketchner was a steal, and if Bott's K/BB ratio is 3.76, I'll take that as a huge positive, even though he's untested above single-A. Score another one for DePodesta.
Angels 6, Rangers 7
Bottom of the 3rdThis game is pure vivisection. Wash is shaky against this lineup, not a big surprise; he hasn't had a 1-2-3 inning yet. Colby Lewis is worse, with hideous control problems, but the Angels' offense isn't taking advantage. All tied, 2-2, but the Rangers are outhitting us, 5-2. Wash loses confidence, tries to make a buncha pickoffs with Soriano at first and Teixeira at the plate. Pitch, already. One bona fide strikeout and a popup to Erstad later, the inning's over.
Top of the 4thHalter unexpectedly doubles, and Molina dribbles him in on a weakly hit single. Molina's batting ninth? Kennedy's moved up to the seven hole. Note to MLB.com: please... fix... Gameday... The batter view is wrong about a quarter of the time, so it looks like Eckstein flied out to center, when it was really Erstad. Man, the E-team is definitely not an E-ticket so far this year -- at least, Ersty isn't.
Top of the 5thAfter an uneventful bottom of the third -- good for Wash for finally collecting another K -- Vlad grounds out, but then GA strokes one into center for a single, and Guillen walks. The charge that he's a free swinger is a strong one, so it's nice to see him get a free pass, especially against a pitcher as shaky as Lewis. Grr. Salmon flies out. C'mon, AK, do something. Please to note, "something" does not equal "popping up to the shortstop". Grr.
Bottom of the 6thWash gets shaky, and now Blalock singles in two. Enter Osama Ben Weber, with a predictable result: Fullmer clears the bases with a double. Note to self: see if we can get Weber listed in FAA's TIA system so we won't see him in road games. Ha, ha, Brad, very funny. The ironic part is we would be better off having kept him (at 1B, anyway), not signing Guillen, and leave Erstad at center. Oh well. Those uncashed baserunners in the early innings are starting to look expensive now.
Top of the 8thAngels get on base, Shane Halter (subbing for Troy Glaus, who "tweaked a hamstring" in the wet infield running the bases Sunday) drives one in. 7-4.
Top of the 9thYou call that a closer? But, close it he does, even after two runs score. Final score, 7-6.
I want a recount. I want better pitching. Wash did okay -- by his usual nailbiter flyballer standards -- until he ran out of gas in the sixth, but the team has too much invested in guys who aren't enough at their positions, whether on the mound, at the plate, or in the outfield. CoTL observes -- again, read into this at your own risk because of sample size issues -- that the Angels are dead last in the majors in fielded fly ball percentages. I agree with him that if there are in fact defensive problems in centerfield, that will not be recognized and/or dealt with. But it's been obvious to anyone watching the games: Anderson is overmatched in centerfield.
National Disgrace, Part 2
It started with the Red Sox, who, as far as I am concerned, may keep it for their own.
It moved on, thanks to Frank's greasy ownership, to the Dodgers, though mercifully the expression has not found wide currency of yet. Now, improbably, the Yankees have become infected with this peculiar disease. The latest superstar du jour, ex-Dodger Bubba Crosby, has become an instant hit in his last several at bats, slamming a three run shot out of the park and holding on to a win for Mike Mussina, as well as making a number of sterling defensive plays. These were skills he never displayed in Chavez Ravine. Crosby, moved in the Ventura trade, may have given Yankee fans quite the thrill, the throng at the Bronx being unaccustomed to actual rookies. What many may not realize is they may have also unwittingly witnessed Bubba's best half-dozen or so at bats of his career. While I'm quite happy for Crosby -- who, had he failed, would no doubt find himself on the business end of New York's heavy flensing machinery -- also bears the burden of, for the first time to my memory, appearing coincidentally with the expression "Yankee Nation":
"I'm sure [Steinbrenner] knows everything that's going on," Crosby said. "I haven't really met him other than to shake his hand the other day. But I'm sure he knows there's a Bubba on this team."The curse spreads, and so now we know that it is the Orioles' or the Blue Jays' year. But, whoever it may be, please, let us hear of this abomination no more.
All of Yankee Nation knows now, and if Bubba still has to go when Lee is activated, we know something else too: He'll be leaving us dirty.
For The Angels, Is It "Wait 'Til Next Year", Already?
The back of the pitching staff was ripped by Texas' lively bats and lively ball park, which just proves you can never have too much pitching. I'm confident Mike Scioscia and Bud Black will get something out of the Ramon Ortiz-John Lackey- Aaron Sele mix, and maybe add a prospect like Bobby Jenks around mid-season.Such has been theorized previously. No matter how much of a fan an owner appears to be, they usually -- unless the owner in question is George Steinbrenner -- have limits to their spending. (Sometimes the limits are ridiculously low, as in the case of the Devil Rays.) There's no way of knowing what Arte's real payroll ceiling is, but a closer analysis certainly indicates that both Sele and Appier -- yes, Kevin Appier is still on the payroll in 2004 -- will be gone next year. That's a total of $20 million right there. Arte's already spent a lot of that money on Vlad, Colón and Escobar -- more than that, in fact. In 2004, he'll spend $14M for Vlad and Colón, and $6.25M for Escobar, or $34.25M on three players.
The big worry for Angel fans is the prospect of Arte Moreno having to settle on signing one of their two stars eligible for free agency next season, Troy Glaus and Garret Anderson. They're both indispensable, but having spent heavily in the offseason, he may have only enough payroll for one.
Sele we know is done, or likely so; it's possible we could get a final year out of him before he completely falls apart. But Ortiz has had chance after chance, and still isn't reliably producing, and of course has Agegate issues as well. Both have declining K/9 rates; both posted career lows, Sele 3.92 and Ortiz 4.70, last year. And then there's Lackey, whose excuse of having a sophomore slump ran out last year. If the team has to replace Sele, Ortiz, and possibly Lackey by the end of the year, Arte's wallet could indeed be tapped already. Combined with the near certainty of Darin Erstad having an unproductive year at the plate, and the strong possibility that Salmon will also, that's a lot of hitting to replace. If Baseball Prospectus is right and the Angels finish third, the team will have spent a lot of money for nothing -- and won't have enough in the farm to fix either the rotation or the DH position any time soon. Jenks might be able to help this year, but you certainly can't count on rookies to pull a Fernando Valenzuela.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
It's Official: Ellis Out, Maybe Over
The Las Vegas Expos?
"They've been aggressive," Selig said of the Vegas suitors.What might that mean for the Dodgers' 51's? Considering the big club has pressured the city to make substantial improvements to Cashman Field, it might make sense for Vegas city fathers to take the next step and move the Expos into town. The Dodgers would then have to find another AAA home, something that might end up a positive, considering the enormous disconnect between their major league park and their minors. (You can read more on this in this Futility Infielder article and here in Mariners Wheelhouse.)
Could baseball put a team in a city dominated by the gambling industry?
"I was raised in an era when it wouldn't have been plausible," Selig said, "but the fact of the matter is gambling is legal most everywhere today. There are a whole lot of hurdles out there, but Las Vegas is a viable consideration. Thirty years ago, we would have automatically eliminated them. It's different now. No decision has been made, but they are being very aggressive."
On the other hand, it could just be a bargaining ploy to get Washington to pony up. That would be odd, considering the recent news that Washington, D.C. has proposed a $340 million publically financed stadium.
Prior May Need Tommy John Surgery?While normally this blog covers the Dodgers and Angels, I do have a rooting interest by marriage in the Cubs. The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports a rumor that Mark Prior may require Tommy John surgery thanks to Dusty's overuse of him. This would pretty much put their hopes of winning the division, let alone getting into the World Series, at an end. It also comes as something of a surprise, because as recently as April 6th, Will Carroll's "Under the Knife" column for Baseball Prospectus said he was playing catch in Cincinnati. Prior started the season on the 15-day DL and is not expected to be available until May.
Lenny Harris To Hang 'Em UpLongtime pinch hitter Lenny Harris is calling it a career after this year. His goal is to get 19 pinch hits, which will get him 200 over his career.
Dayn Perry Vets DePoDodgersDayn Perry in his April 9th column (subscription required) vets the Dodgers' recent pickups. He continues to make the common wrong assumption about the team's cash flow ("cash to the Dodgers is like dog hair on dark shirts to me: more at my disposal than I know what to do with"), which still makes me wonder whether he's paying attention to anything outside his immediate field of expertise. But his takes on the player trades jibe well with my own ("All six deals, from the L.A. perspective, range from tremendous to patently sensible"), especially the Ketchner acquisition ("you don't pass up an opportunity to grab a flipper like Ketchner for almost nothing"). The big surprise to me was the Cody Ross deal; I thought it was nothing special, but Perry writes that
This deal and the [Ketchner deal] are the ones that hew closest to the status of thievery probably addressed somewhere in the Patriot Act. In Colyer, DePo surrendered a fairly vanilla minor league reliever with sub-optimal control. What they got was a 23-year-old center fielder who slugged .507 in Double-A and .515 in Triple-A. The downside is that Ross tore his ACL late last season, but he's young enough to rebound without it hurting his baseball chops much.Good stuff, and nice to see my own feelings are vindicated.
Roberts Stealing His Way Out Of Town?Base stealer Dave Roberts has heard Paul DePodesta doesn't like the running game. I have to believe that it's not so much base-stealing but getting caught stealing that is the problem. Dave's success rate is such that I can't imagine him being moved for that, though I can imagine his weak bat and poor OBP being moved for someone with a real bat. He's one of the Dodgers more exciting players to watch, but unfortunately for him, my guess is he's ultimately destined elsewhere.
Corrected Minor League Park Factors
I noted that you also picked up the info on park factors. But when you take a park out of it's league, you need to adjust the park factor for the league in which they play.Later, he added:
Vero Beach is not a hitters park - it's only a hitters park in comparison with the FSL.
I just about got trapped in it, because I had a whole piece composed about how Gutierrez might not be as good as advertised because he had played half his games in an extreme hitters park at Vero Beach, even though FSL is a pitchers. Then it dawned that not a single park in the FSL has a factor as low as the leage factor. Then I figured out that the the parks are only calibrated within the league.Ah, good point, Jeff. So let's go back and reconsider those park factors:
|A||Cedar Rapid Kernels||1001||Vero Beach Dodgers||987|
|A||Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||1097||Columbus Catfish||986|
|AA||Arkansas Travelers||1164||Jacksonville Suns||858|
|AAA||Salt Lake Stingers||1225||Las Vegas 51's||1083|
All the Dodgers parks are pitchers parks -- though in the case of Columbus and Vero Beach, not by very much -- below the AAA level. Conversely, 100% of the Angels' minor league parks are hitter's parks, period. Good stuff, and thanks for that catch, Jeff.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Nomo Shines, Dodgers 7, Rockies 4
I mentioned earlier today that the pitching is suspect, and I still cling to that statement. Paul DePodesta, it seems, agrees with me:
The Dodgers got Bradley for their anemic offense. Interestingly, GM Paul DePodesta has indicated to fellow executives he actually doesn't like his rotation either, which was supposed to be a strength. L.A. is spending about $30 million on Darren Dreifort (bumped to the pen), Kaz Ishii (control problems), Hideo Nomo (lost velocity) and Jeff Weaver (good first start off of a horrid spring). It has been so bad DePodesta has offered some hesitancy about moving Odalis Perez, though he is a malcontent in his walk year represented by Scott Boras.Surprising that, but I suppose middle relievers are a dime a dozen, yes? Or else he's convinced he's got ten of those in the Dodger system just waiting for a chance.
One player DePodesta has revealed he could move that the previous regime would not is elite set-up man Guillermo Mota. The prospect he did move for Bradley, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, was compared to a young Ellis Burks by a scout who watched him all last year in Single-A.
Lackey Lacking in 12-6 Loss
Which makes me worried about facing the A's, who have actual pitching. But outside of the marginal pitching, the Angels face two very real problems this year: Tim Salmon's .050 and Erstad's .200 batting averages. Both could very possibly become league average hitters this year.
Dodgers Dipstick, (Almost) One Week In
- Middle infield offense. Despite Alex Cora's triple last night, he's hitting .143 in the regular season thus far, despite a gaudy .391 in spring training. And while Izturis' .313 represents even a step up from his .306 in spring training, you have to wonder just how many more at bats he's going to be able to keep that up. Further, the hitters haven't seen any teams with genuinely solid pitching to date; let's see him do that against Jason Schmidt or Randy Johnson.
- First base. Shawn Green seems to be settling in defensively better than expected, yet his bat sleeps (.188/.278/.375). Jon's already weighed in on this subject, and frankly my reading of it is toward the black end of that scale, i.e. Green's shoulder is permanently on vacation, and the likelihood of getting power from 1B is nil.
- Encarnacion will scare us throughout the year; his .188/.235/.313 says all you need to know about his streakiness, and why he was benched last year in the World Series (for the most part). He was a nice cheap pickup by Evans amidst the McCourt purchase maelstrom, but you can be certain DePo will unload this guy at the first opportunity for a real hitter.
- The Dodgers still can't score, and trail the division again in runs scored. However, eleventh in the league beats last.
- Update: How could I forget pitching after Nomo's shellacking on opening day? But today's outing calmed me some, though Nomo-san's 40-pitch second didn't do much to make me think he's not sputtering.
- Adrian Beltre's bat. Beltre is actually slugging in April; .438/.471/.813 with 2 HR's is an enormous turnaround for him. If he keeps this up, he'll be making the case for the Dodgers to keep him around, not to mention bumping him to the three slot in the batting order. This will no doubt incite riots in some quarters, but PECOTA finds guys with similar records at his age includes names like Bill Mazeroski, Robin Yount, and Brooks Robinson (BP subscription required). It also includes a large number of guys whose careers tailed off, like Aurelio Rodriguez and Wil Cordero. I won't bore you with the standard line on Beltre, but as Raul wrote the other day, time to put up or shut up, Adrian.
- The Dodgers team OBP is sixth in the National League, behind only the Padres in the division.
- Dave Roberts' kleptomania, successfully stealing six bags without getting caught caught yet.
- Paul DePodesta's Michael Milken impression. While they're early and few, the moves he's made give me confidence that he knows what he's about. Picking up Milton Bradley was a good deal for both teams; the Indians get our best hitting prospect (though they're already awash in outfielders), and we get a major-league ready hitter.
- Milton Bradley, though I qualify it heavily; in what universe does a .267/.389/.333 line -- i.e., his SLG is below his OBP? -- qualify as an "impact bat", as Dodgerkid has asserted? Whatever. Anybody approaching a .400 OBP has to be a godsend for the Blue, and I'll chalk that up in the plus column.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Who Are You, And What Did You Do With Anderson?The space aliens have abducted Garrett, as evidenced by this comment in today's Times about the kind of hitter he is:
"I was just trying to keep it simple, hit the ball on a line, be a tough out," said Anderson, a career .294 hitter against left-handers. "I wasn't trying to go deep and be a hero. I'm a leadoff hitter. I need to get on base."Somewhere on the mother ship, poor GA's getting colorectal probes and having electrodes attached to him in unspeakable places. His doppelgänger apparently forgot that Eckstein's OBP has been better than his two of the last three years, while GA's SLG has been substantially higher than the little guy's over that time. 6-4-2 hopes for a speedy return of the spaceborne Angel.
Live By The Longball...... die by the longball, three in all for the Rangers. Texas can still hit -- 18 in this game alone! -- A-Rod or no A-Rod. Sele isn't fooling anybody, and neither is headcase Ortiz. Ortiz has steadily become a flyball pitcher, very bad news in a hitter's haven like Arlington, and Sele's never pitched out of the bullpen in his career. The ugly 12-4 final score vindicates the worries I had about the bottom of the rotation, and Lackey, whose taterrific tendencies accelerated last year, might be no better tomorrow.
Last year, we opened the season with a loss to the Rangers. Let's hope it's not an omen.
M's fans, I feel your pain.
Torre Unavailable For Angels Play-By-PlayJoe Torre is unfortunately unavailable to resume his role in the Angels' TV broadcast booth, as he's signed a three year extension with the Yankees to manage that east coast team. But, hey, how cool is it that Steinbrenner's general partner (and son-in-law) is a guy named Swindal?
Closeout!Say buh bye (at a reduced price, of course) to these bobbleheads:
|Richie Sexson as a Brewer||A-Rod as a Ranger||Miguel Tejada as an Athletic|
Who buys these things, anyway? I guess I can understand it in a general fan way, but I have a distinct aversion to anything whose principle function is to collect dust. But that's not to say they're completely useless. One of my co-workers (a Dodgers/A's fan -- go figure!) has built a little Tommy shrine:
|Tommy looks upon the good works of acolytes Green, LoDuca, and McGriff|
On mane padme hum, on mane padme hum...
People always care about Opening Day in Detroit. It is an unofficial holiday in an around the city of Detroit. People play hooky from work and school, and start drinking very early in the morning-much like St. Patty's day. Fueled by a 3-0 start this year, the opener wasn't just about the peripheral festivities (drinking). The baseball game on the field actually took on more importance than any of the 7 previous openers I'd attended.Even the Tigers have something to look forward to, a bit of the thing with feathers. I can't think of anything more cheerful than that on this cloudy morning.
Padres 4, Giants 3
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Minor League Park Factors
|A||Cedar Rapid Kernels||1027||Vero Beach Dodgers||1102|
|A||Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||946||Columbus Catfish||1038|
|AA||Arkansas Travelers||1097||Jacksonville Suns||912|
|AAA||Salt Lake Stingers||1145||Las Vegas 51's||1012|
What's surprising is how the majority of parks in both systems are hitter's parks, though the big surprise is that the so-called hitter's park of Cashman Field -- home of the 51's -- ain't all that. But Jacksonville's home field is a pronounced pitcher's park. Could that be the reason why the Dodgers weren't initially interested in seeing Edwin Jackson go to AAA, in that the lessons he might learn there would be next to useless in the very pitcher-friendly confines of Chavez Ravine? On the other hand, if you can pitch your way out of Salt Lake, you're just about ready for Coors Field. What's interesting to note is that virtually all of the A's minor league parks are pitcher's parks. The question I'd like answered: Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to have your minors' parks play similarly to your home park? The accompanying article seems to indicate that a number of clubs have decided it's an advantage and are moving in that direction, with the Rockies and Braves among them. If the trend continues, it could be very bad news for many of the clubs in the Pacific Coast and California Leagues, as many of those parks are far more extreme than most major league parks.
- Highest park factor: lucky 1313, for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
- Lowest park factor: 859, for the Tacoma Raniers.
- Best hitter's league: California League
- Best pitcher's league: Florida State League
More Love From The Press
Rally Monkey 5, Seattle 1
Update: And as if my favorite simian didn't have enough going on, there's a bunch of nice changes over at rallymonkey.com: an enormous photo gallery, game times, standings-at-a-glance, copyright violations from major news media about the Angels, a slightly dysfunctional store, and more. Somebody needs to warn this guy that Rally Monkey now comes with a (tm) afterwards these days.
Bronx Banter Interviews Bill James
King Taco In Angel Stadium!
Quality Mexican food can only be had in a state that actually borders Mexico.Having had simply awful simulacrums in Virginia, Florida, and Germany, I have to admit this has served me well. I'm not above mentioning that I've found exceptions to this rule: I've had solid Tex-Mex in Arkansas -- which is not quite the same thing -- along with some surprisingly underwhelming experiences in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, of all places. I might be willing to take a gamble in, say, Chicago or New York, as both cities are known for their gastronomic refinements, but I would wager against finding quality, cheap taqueria-style food-for-the-masses a la the much missed King Taco, which I discovered long after they left Dodger Stadium.
I came late to the KT party, introduced by a USC alum who still makes lunchtime pilgrimages from our Culver City offices to their downtown locations. Before 2003, they used to have a stand in the cheap seats at Dodger Stadium, with three tacos for $5, an unbeatable deal. I understand they left because Aramark insisted on hiring the employees -- who would of course be unionized -- and that would definitely take away from the profits, as well as the cachét.
Arte, I don't know if you're reading this, but you could do far worse than to put KT upstairs at the Angels games.
... Because He Has A Mother, You Know
BTW, congrats to Lil' Jeffy on a successful outing and a series win.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Bat Man!
Guillen -- get that hand checked, dude. .125? You sure you don't need some time off or something?
Wash looks sharp -- not striking out a lot of guys but getting a bunch of outs. He's only faced 10 batters by the fourth. But -- uh oh. Wash gives up a double to Winn and then he steals third. Boone doubles him home. Wash starting to shake things up a bit. Man, could we use a double play ball... instead he gets a single from Ibanez and a double from Aurilia ... and a bloop RBI single from Wilson. This game erases any doubts about Jarrod's symbiotic relationship with Darin Erstad's legs, iffy though they may be. Now it's Washburn's turn for an embarrassing ERA, 9.82. Oops.
And now Osama Ben Weber comes in to the game, and promptly sets off a bomb that bounces out of the park. You're supposed to give up groundballs, dude, not ground rule doubles. Man, the pitching smelleth; and he walks Dave Hansen. Dude, what are you, some kinda enemy combatant?
Ugh. Ichiro hits one to second but legs it out to prevent a double play. 9-6 -- and before I can finish the sentence, Randy Winn whacks one past Glaus and it's 9-7. And uncharacteristically, Weber strikes out Boone.
High concept: the Cardinals of the AL West?
Stick A Fork In HundleyToday on MLB.com, Jim Tracy admits Todd Hundley's career is over, despite the $6.5M he's owed this year. He "remains in contact with the [Dodgers] medical staff". Well, that's one albatross gone... next year.
Being Aaron LooperPoor Aaron Looper. DePodesta thought so little of him that he's being assigned to AAA Las Vegas without so much as a fare-thee-well. The Dodgers have to trade him within ten days or else he has to clear waivers. You'd think if he were tradebait, DePo would've kept him on the 40-man roster. Could Seattle claim him back? Now that would be funny... But seriously, why pick up a guy you'll just let hit the waiver wire within the week? Was it just to strip Seattle of a pitching option, as I suggested earlier? Or is he the PTBNL in the Bradley trade?
Barry Zito's "Ranger-Killer" Rep In DangerBarry Zito lost to the Rangers yesterday, 2-1, for the first time in his career. He's now 17-1 against the club, though the article doesn't speculate whether this heartbreaking disappointment will prompt him to retire.
Belly On Up To The Supplements, Boys -- Steroids For Everyone!
Imagine a world where performance enhancement was open and regulated. Instead of forcing athletes to sneak through back alleys to stay competitive, sports authorities should admit that drugs are essential - then help athletes cope with the side effects. Once legalized, drug use would still have limits, but they would be established by physicians and athletes - based on their ability to handle performance enhancers. Bad outcomes would be far less frequent if players were not forced to rely on quacks (such as the former Tower of Power bassist at the center of the baseball designer steroid scandal). Innovation in performance enhancers would accelerate in the light of day. There might even be spinoff applications that would benefit you and me.Zachary admits it's not a perfect scheme, but it's better than the ban-'em-all-let-God-sort-'em-out attitude pervasive in the game today. George Will, sycophant, in one breath gives a big wet kiss to Commissioner Seligula (" Selig has been -- baseball is a game of inches, but this is not a close call -- the greatest commissioner") and then condones unconstitutional searches as a justification for steroid testing!
The parenthesis opened in the 1990s. It must be closed to remove the cloud of suspicion that hovers over all players. Americans standing in stockings while their shoes and luggage are X-rayed at airports doubt that privacy considerations should prevent random, year-round testing, backed by serious sanctions, for illegal drugs that traduce baseball's integrity.Oh, got it. Look, George, why don't you just make it official by changing parties to one more naturally aligned to your thinking. Or, what part of
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.did you not understand?
Marry In Haste, Repent At Leisure
In the end, the ability to recognize and properly reward talent will be far more important than the current roster. My basis for judging DePodesta is based on a small sample size, to be sure, but one that gives me some comfort level. Stoneman's lack of imagination gives me pause. Shouldn't he have had some kind of "in" with Javier Vazquez, given that they both worked for the same organization once upon a time? Sure, Vlad was a nice pick up, but the way the story's told, his acquisition was an accident. If there's any contract the Angels may live to regret, it just might be the four-year extension of Stoneman's contract as GM.
Update: thanks to those writing to remind me that Erstad's contract was negotiated mid-year rather than after the Series.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Milton Bradley, Your Chemistry Test Starts Now
Bradley is either a jerk who dogs his way through practice but delivers -- and hot-dogs -- when it counts, or he's a misunderstood, emotive youngster who's just being exuberant. Yes, the trade gives him the chance to begin anew, but a similar opportunity was afforded to Gary Sheffield, too. ... Bradley gets a fresh start, but players -- perhaps especially young ones -- with attitudes often fail to make the most of those. Have we become so desperate for offense that we've forgotten how miserable a malcontent can make things for all parties? I haven't.Well, that's fair enough, and I'll even go so far as to agree that Sheffield was borderline cuckoo when he was with the Dodgers. Even years after his Dodger adventure, nothing has changed for the Shef; Steinbrenner got a taste of his psychosis sandwich when Sheffield rejected an unbelievably lavish offer of $11M/year for three years, this for the services of an aging, yet still very capable player. Given the circumstances, it's hard to see how Sheffield could have avoided being traded, especially since he asked for it after the Kevin Brown contract fiasco.
So with all that said -- how can there possibly be a case for actually wanting the services of Milton Bradley?
Essentially, it comes down to this:
- The Dodgers have no other options. If it weren't for Bradley, they wouldn't have anybody, and the team would be in much worse shape than it already is.
- Winning causes chemistry, not the other way around.
During the late 1980's I was part of the senior management of a company that went from 5 employees to over 100 employees in four years. The excitement around the office was palpable. People came to the office early and stayed late. They went out for beers after work together. They hiked together, skied together, hung drywall together, and generally shared life together. The company softball team was the most enjoyable softball team I ever played on. Everyone was challenged, excited, and enthralled. Opportunities were there for the taking; if someone was ready for more responsibility, they could have it. Our growth was limited only by our ability to find and deploy skilled staff. We were making and distributing a ton of money. We were doing great work, having a great time, and life was good.Well, naturally we can fill in the next paragraph for ourselves; it's obvious. The point isn't so much that we should excuse Bradley as chemistry is irrelevant. Winning will fix chemistry problems -- in the main. Some guys are such insufferable jerks that no amount of success is worth the headaches of working with them. Whether Bradley is one of them -- and there's admittedly signs he might be -- is debateable, but the team has no room to err on the side of caution. Must. Have. Bat.
It was like being on my championship IM flag football team again, but the feeling went almost non-stop for three years. I tried to tell the people who worked for me to enjoy the times, because they would not always be so good. The usual response was, "Yeah, yeah."
By the fifth year our growth rate flattened. A couple of projects had some problems. We were now market limited – now promotions and raises were not automatic even though a person might have proved themselves ready for more responsibilities.
Anyone care to guess what happened to our team chemistry?
The entry for Griffey, Jr. is not to be missed.
Vladimir Guerrero, the biggest free agent signing for the Angels, maims four middle relievers in April while trying to throw out runners at home.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers pitching staff posts a record 1.50 ERA for the season, but finish below .500 after scoring .25 runs a game. Adrian Beltre hits .250, with ten HRs and fifty RBIs. Scouts say, "He is finally showing patience at the plate and should be a good one next year."
Eric Gagne's ERA reaches negative numbers.
Angels 10, Mariners 5
Scot ... Scot... strike zone... come on, you can find ... ugh! Walking a run in? Gregg... Jesus Louises, could you have a little control, Kevin? What is it about pitchers named Kevin on the Angels? Thank God for Frankie. At least he earns his gaudy nickname today.
As Ye Sow
And then came the wave of front office defections or firings.
First, it was Bob Graziano, whose departure was expected, but certainly the manner of his departure was not . At the same time, Kris Rone resigned. At the time, she was the fourth-highest-ranking woman in baseball at the time, setting a pattern for the exits that would follow for David Walkley, HR director, and, perhaps the most important loss, Derrick Hall, Director of Communications. In fairness, Graziano was expected to leave once the new management came in, but what's telling is that the club proceeded without a president afterwards. Baseball is full of hangers-on; they could surely acquire the services of one of their legions. While the job may not be in reality quite the neutered corner office gig I envision it, and I'm glad they didn't give any significant responsibilities to Lurie-era Giants exec Corey Busch, I have to believe that, amongst the rubble of ex-players and ex-con men, somebody suitable could be found for the job. Similarly, Hall's exit has filled me with gratitude. In conjunction with a delightful Times story, he has managed to largely silence the McCourts, whose public proclamations deaden the very air with stunned disbelief.
And that doesn't even begin to describe the ugly, inhumane way Dan Evans was fired in preference for untested whiz kid Paul DePodesta. Evans was "given a chance" to keep his job; this, in McCourt speak, apparently means your neck is already in the noose, as in the old Soviet courts. Players told they'll have a chance need to worry.
So if I was upset, imagine the rancor in the clubhouse. It was obvious from the beginning that Frank's monomania prevented him from comprehending the damage he was doing to the team, and to morale of the players. They must endure, first hand, Jamie's idiotic speeches about being in the playoffs every year and -- for God's sake! -- bashing the Dodger Dream Foundation for not doing enough. They must listen to Frank ignore his legitimate critics. They must hear the flying rumors of impending fiscal doom that would prevent the team from picking up a quality free agent bat. They started spring training with no substantial offensive help in the infield, where it is most needed, an aging rotation minus Kevin Brown, a Shawn Green minus pop, and a bullpen minus Paul Quantrill.
All this, until last weekend, in the absence of real offensive help.
Frank needs to face his critics squarely. He won't do it; he knows he's been handed a team with the usual safeties -- the debt service rule requirement -- turned off. So now the lies, the crooked dealing, the dysfunctional optimism, all of it comes back now, and with a vengeance.
Play ball, suckers.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Padres Lead The Division!
Seriously, if it takes a replay of 1992 to oust Frank McCourt from owning this team, I'm all for it.
More on the Bradley, Cabrera trades
Sunday, April 04, 2004
McLemore An A -- Should Beane Get A B-?
Maybe this is what the M's bloggers were complaining about: McLemore is the kind of guy Bavasi should have been pursuing rather than unload pitching prospects -- especially two of them -- for a weak-hitting infielder.
In other news, the A's still haven't given up on Mark Ellis returning, and are hedging their bets, at least in public. Also, Rich Harden, their supposed fifth starter, has been sent down to AAA; this is only temporary, and Harden is expected to return by April 15th.
Green Back To 1B
Update: Not a rumor anymore, though Tracy needs to recalibrate his definition of what an "impact player" is. Bradley can be good... when he decides he needs to be.
Update: Mariners Wheelhouse is back after an extended hiatus. Stephen was kind enough to drop me a note that he has returned, and with a very nice analysis of the Cabrera trade, similar to that made by U.S.S. Mariner. It's all good. Welcome back, Stephen!
The Loss Angeles Dodgers
So: will Milton Bradley, with his projected 21.2 VORP help the team that much? I doubt it. PECOTA, whose numbers I distrust but still use in the absence of anything better, has as high a collapse rate as it does an improve rate, a scary prospect for a guy who's famous for fighting with managers and dogging out injuries. It's going to be a long year.
Milton Bradley Is A Dodger
Update: Now on MLB.com, for Franklin Gutierrez and a PTBNL. Gutierrez was the Dodgers' third best prospect according to Baseball America:
Strengths: Gutierrez’ raw power became above-average game power last year. He has a balanced approach with outstanding bat speed and natural lift to his swing. He’s wiry strong and athletic, with the speed to run down balls in center field. He has plus arm strength and enough bat to handle a move to right if needed.Sounds like an even trade, depending on the PTNBL. DePo did a good job on this one considering the shortness of time to get an offer together.
Weaknesses: His swing gets long, creating holes, especially up and in. Improving his pitch recognition would help Gutierrez make better contact. Like many young hitters, he’s vulnerable to good breaking stuff and needs to learn to take pitches the other way.
Frank... Frank -- you're supposed to be taking notes when Arte's talking...
Saturday, April 03, 2004
The Times reported earlier today that the Dodgers are pursuing a trade for Bradley, and the parts acquired for Romano and Cabrera may be bait.
So, what do the Indians need?There's talk on the Dodger boards that David Ross might be out of tonight's game for a reason. I don't doubt that the M's have more arms to deal, but it's not insignificant that the Dodgers elected to use a moment of weakness to strip them of a pair of interesting options at a crucial moment.
1. A frontline, major league ready starter.
2. Offensive middle infielders.
3. Catching depth.
Update: or not. Ross got some swings in; it made no sense to me that they'd lose the only operable backup catcher they had with Hundley starting the year on the DL.
Cabrera, Romano Dealt
- Jason Romano was sent to Tampa Bay in exchange for SS Antonio Perez. Perez is the ninth best prospect in the Devil Rays system. About him, Baseball America says
Strengths: Perez is a capable defensive shortstop who could be a star at second base. He has soft hands, a strong arm and good instincts. He has excellent range for the position. While his power is good for a middle infielder, he’s best slapping the ball into the gaps and hitting for average. He has above-average speed.So this trade is probably all about Alex Cora. I would say we came out on top of this deal.
Weaknesses: Perez doesn’t get good jumps or show good instincts on the bases, which limits his running and basestealing ability. He’ll have to make more contact to hit effectively in the majors.
- Jolbert Cabrera was sent to the Mariners for RHP Aaron Looper and LHP Ryan Ketchner. Of these two, the Mayor says
Looper, 27, was 1-0, 1.93 in six spring games in 2004. He made his ML debut in 2003 with the Mariners, appearing in six games (0-0, 5.14). He was 5-2, 3.11 in 46 relief appearances with AAA Tacoma last season. Aaron is the son of Mariners Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Benny Looper and the cousin of Mets pitcher Braden Looper.About Looper, BP says:
Ketchner, 21, was 14-7, 3.45 in 31 games, 22 starts, with high-A Inland Empire in the Cal League last season. He was a Cal League All-Star and was named Inland Empire's Most Valuable Pitcher by the Mariners organization at the end of the season.
Made the big club, and not just as a favor to his dad. Looper doesn't have tremendous stuff, but he's made some sort of progress every year, and the whole package isnow a pretty reasonable pitcher. He'll be fighting for a job in the spring, and probably for several springs after that.Hmm, sounds like this guy could be tradebait for Cleveland. Maybe both.
Baseball Prospectus says this about Ketchner:
At any level, anyone who strikes out more than a guy per inning and posts a K:BB ratio of around 5:1 deserves some notice. People will latch onto the easy human interest story here (Ketchner was born deaf), but the real story is that this guy is dusting people fairly convincingly with an 87-mph fastball. His pitching pattern is reminiscent of Barry Zito's; hitters get used to looking for a featured pitch aside from the fastball (in Zito's case the curve, in Ketchner's, the changeup), then are way behind a fastball they'd normally have a good swing at. He'll face the Double-A testing grounds next year.Well, that would be this year. Man, it sounds like we really cleaned up on the M's on this trade.
Update: Looks like 3B Scott Spiezio will start the year on the DL with back problems, and the M's need a versatile bench player to fill that need. Jolby's their man, for sure.
Sabermetrics' Question Mark
What made the A's so dangerous in 2000 was they finally brought up all of their trio of Hudson, Mulder, and Zito. In the absence of an ungodly rich Steinbrenner in the division, the A's haven't really had to compete with bottomless pockets -- until at least this year. Arte is probably as close as you'll see to that outside the AL East. But first, he's got to prove himself to a mildly skeptical Southern California audience that the Dodgers are in the midst of a long-term decline, and that dominance is shifting to the Angels, before his business plan can let him spend like a Steinbrenner and get away with it on an ongoing basis. And while the Jays have a number of young power arms in their minor leagues now, only two of them -- Francisco Rosario and Dustin McGowan -- made Baseball America's 2004 top 100 prospect list.
Those arms will no doubt prove vital to the Jays' success, just as the A's cheap, young, and effective starting rotation has proven vital for the A's. For all that Billy Beane has been quoted about baseball players being fungible, you will notice that none of Zito, Mulder, or Hudson have been traded. Given their similarities in fiscal circumstance, Toronto will have to count on those young arms to carry them through the late 2000's, when Steinbrenner's wallet may have painted him into a corner with multimillion dollar contracts paid out to players who may no longer be effective, and likewise for John Henry with the Sox. The Jays' principle competition then might be the Orioles, who are in a precarious position -- the team is wagering heavily on its young arms in the minors, too, but also on expensive free agents like Miguel Tejada. At the same time, current owner Peter Angelos has put the team on the block. As if that weren't enough, there's talk the Expos might move in to Washington, diluting the O's market share. There's enough going right in the Jays that they could dominate by the end of the decade. But it's still too early to know whether their bets will pay off, and still too early to tell whether Sabermetrics (tm) brand baseball is really the product of superior scouting. Repeatability is the hallmark of science; Toronto will prove whether the A's methods are truly reproduceable, or just so much hype.
Arte, The Moment Is Now
"The Dodgers have always had a strong following," Kuhl says. "I never worry about the Dodgers. I'd rather have them worry about me."Autry, who knew broadcasting but not, in the end, baseball, certainly didn't make it happen. He bought too many washed-up stars in the 70's and 80's. The team almost, but not quite, made it to the World Series, only to be denied in heartbreaking ways.
... But even in the glow of 2002 and the afterglow of 2003, the Angels sold fewer tickets than the Dodgers and attracted fewer viewers on Fox Sports Net. The cable network will pay the Dodgers four times what they pay the Angels for broadcast rights this year, perhaps the most striking example of revenue disparity. Moreno intends to close that gap by assembling a must-see team and selling it to fans and broadcast partners and corporate sponsors across Southern California.
"He's telling his prospective clients that he sees it as a major market and they ought to jump on the bandwagon," says Richard Brown, Angel president from 1990-96. "But Arte Moreno ordaining it as a major market does not make it so. The team may be a very good team, but the team doesn't change the market."
Fernandomania did not spread across Southern California solely because the Dodgers employed an adorably pudgy Mexican pitcher who rolled his eyes toward the sky before letting go of the ball. Fernando Valenzuela won and won and won some more, the same thing Moreno plans to do.Which is why I think the accusations that Arte's alleged pursuit of only Hispanic players as a way of marketing the team to Hispanic Orange County is idle speculation. The real issue may be a lack of creativity in the front office. Bill Stoneman got the best free agent pitcher available without actually getting the best pitcher moved in the offseason, Javier Vazquez, then of the Expos and now of the Yankees. Vazquez is certainly Hispanic; if the team were after guys with certain surnames, why not bag him? If he could be had for injury magnet Nick Johnson and a couple of what the Yanks are pleased to call "prospects" these days, Stoneman's dealmaking skills certainly need to be called into question.
"For me to specifically target one nationality or one ethnic group would be against the way I was brought up and the way I believe," he says. "Everybody is welcome in our park."
If the Angels don't win, neither will Moreno. If they don't win, Los Angeles won't care—not the fans, not the advertisers, not the broadcasters. If they don't win, he can't pay major-market salaries and turn a profit.Easier said than done, of course. But on this particular early spring day, there are reasons to be optimistic, especially when the parking lot maven on the other side of town raises parking prices before the team even plays game one. And with Vlad around, who knows what this team can do to Oakland's vaunted pitching staff.
An MBA is not required to assess the execution of Moreno's business plan, just a glance at the standings in the sports section. Carpino is not shy about sharing the 10-year strategy.
"To be in the playoffs," he says, "and be world champions. Multiple times.
"If we do that, everything will generate positively, from the TV and demand on down. If we're strong on the field for the next 10 years, we'll be strong everywhere else."
Here's to the finding out.
Friday, April 02, 2004
My Five Seconds
Thursday, April 01, 2004
OT: For The Birds
It's a little grayish-brown bird, maybe a house finch or a small mourning dove. Closer to:
Last year, we had house finches nesting in our patio. It was really cool to see the little birds come up and beg for food when the parents flew in! Maybe I should put up a screen so the mama bird isn't so worried about us being nearby when we come and go from the house. Spring has all kinds of surprises!
Rosenthal: Bradley to Dodgers?
4/1 Pickoff Moves
A-Rod Wants Out Of NYIn a Birds In The Belfry exclusive interview, A-Rod has surrendered to what many analysts considered an inevitable change of heart about his signing with the New York Yankees after their recent 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay. "Did you notice that we don't have [names on the back of our uniforms] in New York? I had never noticed that before", a visibly frustrated and sleep-deprived Rodriguez opined.
Pappas: Yanks Need A New StadiumBusiness of Baseball author Doug Pappas makes a case for Yankee Stadium 3, one we've heard with increasing frequency from Steinbrenner, whose public carping about the Yankees' lack of competitiveness has made him almost as much a nuisance as Bud Selig. Pappas points to Yankee Stadium 2's lack of architectural integrity, grossly inadequate parking (depriving the team of yet another revenue source), poor location, and weak fan loyalty as arguments for abandoning the old stadium. Pappas concludes: "If New York taxpayers can offer $600 million to construct a platform so the NFL Jets can build a stadium atop rail yards, surely they can offer as much to ensure that the Yankees can remain competitive for years to come." The additional revenue will be indeed welcome, after their expensive 2003 additions, whose contracts won't expire until well into the 2010's.
Jays Release Entire Scouting StaffDayn Perry today reports on the release of Toronto's entire scouting staff. As I wrote earlier, Oakland GM Billy Beane introduced scoutless recruiting to the A's some time ago, and we're starting to see the fantastic results thereof already. Sabermetric baseball fans everywhere will cheer on the Jays as Ricciardi introduces another, still bolder wrinkle: having the players write their own scouting reports. Here's a sample, written by one Stephen Drew:
Comments: Handsome, powerful and destined for greatness. Don't be the fool that passes on this incredible talent. It wouldn't surprise me if your ass got fired for passing on Stephen Drew. Don't make a fool of yourself by offering him less than $15 million and a major league contract. Rumor has it that scouting directors who pass on Drew, who's a bad ass, will be declared illegal combatants and transported immediately to Gitmo. If you don't believe me, just ask me. Millions, I said.While old-school clubs like the Mariners and Angels continue to send old guys in used Toyotas all over the country to get subjective opinions of prep and college pitchers, the Jays look to save a bundle annually with this approach. I've long suggested scouts are tremendously overrated, and expect to see this cutting-edge stuff applied in Dodgerland any moment. Fire 'em all, Paul!
Milton Bradley Available, No Word On Kenner or Hasbro
OT: How E-Voting Threatens Democracy
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Tommy John's 30thToday is the 30th anniversary of Frank Jobe rehabilitating then-Dodger pitcher Tommy John's ulnar collateral ligament. Back in 1974, John blew out his elbow, and he asked Jobe to "make up something":
Jobe extracted a tendon from John's right arm and used it to replace the torn ligament on his left, pitching arm, threading the healthy tendon through holes drilled into the bone above and below the elbow. At the time, no one was certain of the outcome, but John went on to win 170 additional games; the procedure thereafter became known as 'Tommy John surgery.' Without Jobe's help, John would never have pitched another baseball.Jobe was today honored in a pregame ceremony, but perhaps a fairer reward would be to have Darren Dreifort pay him a commission so long as he's on the DL.
...Dr. John Bergfeld, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health, said, "Slight modifications have been made, but the principle of the surgery is the same: to repair a ligament that is frayed and torn with an accessory tendon from the arm."
The accessory tendon does not have a useful function otherwise and is usually taken from the hand, wrist or forearm. According to Bergfeld, 12 percent to 13 percent of patients do not have such a tendon in either arm, in which case one is taken from the leg or toe.
Daal "D" For "Disabled"In fortuitous (for the Dodgers) news, former Dodger Omar Daal is -- you guessed it -- on the DL for at least three months thanks to shoulder and elbow problems. Unloading Daal was one of Evans' more astute moves; he's only pitched a total of 19 games for the O's since signing his two-year contract.
And speaking of the DL and ex-Dodgers, Brian Jordan's surgically reconstructed knee has given out again, and he'll probably start the season on the DL. Note to Brian: if you're going to grouse that the Dodgers pushed you to return too early from the DL, now's the time to prove you can spend bench time with the best of 'em.
Trammelled UnderfootAfter the arrival of the latest DePoDodgers, Bubba Trammell got the boot, leading to some wondering whether the power to pick favorites has moved up the food chain from Tracy to DePodesta.
Giant InjuriesEx-Dodgers aren't the only ones with spring injuries, of course, and in our principle rival's ballpark, the bad news accumulates. Ray Ratto at the Chronicle opines that the Giants are ransacking the Brewers for pitching, picking up
- lefty starter Wayne Franklin
- righty long reliever Leo Estrella
- righty reliever (and ex-Cub) Dave Veres
- ex-Card and released ex-Brewer Mike Crudale for the team's Fresno AAA affiliate as insurance.
The Score Bard Is Will Carroll's Co-PilotKen Arneson, aka The Score Bard, is now a co-author on Will Carroll's all-baseball.com blog. Will he continue with humbug.com? I surely hope so. I managed to miss his wonderful AL East and AL Central previews.
You Can Lead A Horticulture...
"I'll take my glove down to the pen and take it from there. I hope that I can contribute. I doubt it with the pen we have, but maybe I can carry extra food down there for the guys."Oookayyy, we'll take that as a "no". Man, the Angels just know how to pick 'em. Let's hope Colón isn't one of the guys he's carrying food to.
A-Rod Speaks... And Sean Wishes He Wouldn't
"I was overcome with a sense of depression," Rodriguez said. "There were days I didn't want to go to the park."If that doesn't give the Rangers added incentive to give a hiding to Yankee pitchers, I don't know what would. Bonds detractors, note well: whatever else he's done in his career, Barry hasn't touched this particular dual peak of arrogance and pettiness. As Sean put it, "Just. Shut. Up."
Rodriguez also said he told his wife that he failed to see any "light at the end of the tunnel" and that he would have never come to the Rangers if he had been told it would have been Rodriguez and "24 kids."
Owens ReleasedThe Mariners released Eric Owens, leaving the sixth outfielder to find a bench job elsewhere.
Sturtze ReleasedAnd likewise for Tanyon Sturtze, released by the Dodgers. Evidently, he has a drug problem of some kind or other, or he wouldn't be saying things like
"I really was trying to make the Dodger team, and I thought I was throwing the ball really well with the Dodgers," said Sturtze, who was 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA and .367 opponents' batting average in four games (11 innings). "It just happened there were no spots."In what world is a 9.00 ERA with a .367 average against good?
A's Look For SS AlternativesDespite the ongoing denials about the ESPN report about Ellis' injury being season-ending, the A's are in the hunt for a spare shortstop, because their utility bench is better at playing second base. Despite what Tyler thinks about the A's depth in the middle infield, the fact that the name Benji Gil is being mentioned should tell you something. On the other hand, he also believes Junior Spivey or Ramon Martinez feature more prominently.
Times Story On Jered WeaverAnother Jered Weaver story, this one in the Times today. It sure sounds like the Padres will draft the guy. Meantime, the honors just keep racking up, with Jered garnering his fifth Louisville Slugger national player of the week award, on the heels of a record-tieing 16 K performance against Wichita State. What can I say but... wow!
Blog readers, take note: Weaver will take the mound this Friday against CSUF. Go Dirtbags!
YAABYet Another Angels Blog, League of Angels. Whoosh, the number of Angels blogs now equals the number of Dodgers blogs -- nine in all.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
"Losing Makes Me Puke"
Moreno bought the most impressive free agent on the market -- the wondrous Vladimir Guerrero -- and two pitchers, Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon, who addressed the Angels' biggest need. He added Jose Guillen just for laughs, bringing the Angels their biggest payroll ever.Damn straight. They oughta know a few things in Minnesota about rotten ownership, so the other kind is blissfully rare. One of these days I'm gonna come across Arte at the stadium. This oughta be a fun year.
Reason to raise prices, right?
Not in Arte's world. Moreno turned down millions in naming rights to re-name the former Edison Field "Angel Stadium."
He lowered the price of beer, souvenirs and children's tickets.
He spent many of his nights in Arizona dining at The Tee Pee, one of Phoenix's best hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants, where he's greeted by name.
He refused to complain about baseball's salary structure, competitive imbalance, the Alex Rodriguez trade, George Steinbrenner or Johnny Damon's hair.
And he actually said: "Losing makes me puke."
If you are an Angels fan -- no, if you are a baseball fan -- Moreno should be your hero.