Saturday, June 25, 2005
Pickoff Moves, Lazy Saturday Afternoon Edition
Jay Jaffe Gets In His SoxploitationAt the winter meetings last year, Jay Jaffe confided to me that he was in the process of writing a (Red) Soxploitation book. I must have misheard him slightly, because he was working on a Red Sox book, only it was a couple of chapters, and not a whole book. The book, a Baseball Prospectus group effort, is titled Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart and Finally Won a World Series; Jay wrote the chapter on David Ortiz, which got excerpted on the blurb. Available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble, the book will ship in September.
Aside from telling us about the book, Jay erupts with some scorn at the Dodgers for allowing Gagné to injure himself, something we now know may have been misplaced because his elbow trouble stemmed from nerve issues rather than a failed Tommy John repair.
Lastly: Jaffe publishes an excerpt from License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent, something I had forwarded to me, but decided against publishing because, hey, they probably sent it to a dozen guys before they stumbled across my name.
Roster MovesAs always, of relevance to the AL/NL West divisions:
- The Rangers activated LHP Ron Mayhay from the 15-day DL, DFAing Jason Standridge.
- The Padres have disabled starting catcher and former Athletic Ramon Hernandez for a left wrist injury. The move is retroactive to June 18th. Unusually, nominal first baseman Robert Fick has been starting behind the dish and has received compliments in that role from Jake Peavy during the recent Dodger series.
Also, Padres starting pitcher Adam Eaton was disabled retroactive to June 16, despite earlier reports that he might be able to pitch as early as yesterday. Eaton, 9-2, is the Padres winningest pitcher. Hernandez was placed on the DL Wednesday, June 22. In their places, RHP Tim Redding and rookie (and former Dirtbag) Paul McAnulty were called up.
- Back in April, I questioned Kevin Towers' judgment for hiring Dave Roberts because of his chronic injury problems. Well, here we go again: the former Dodger is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday after he left a game Friday with a strained patella tendon.
Sheehan Gives It Up For Los HalosHard-earned props from Joe Sheehan:
The Angels have established themselves as the favorite in the division, a favorite with a below-average offense, an average defense, terrific pitching. That formula might not have worked in 2002, but in a year when no other AL West team is likely to crack 85 wins--acknowledging that the improving A's may yet worm their way into the picture--it could be more than enough to assure a third postseason berth in four years.
Chris Kahrl On Angels, Dodgers Transactions
- Angels: One of the nice things about having a roster as flexible as Anaheim’s is that the loss of just about anybody can be covered. Finley’s out? No problem, a temporary platoon in center of Chone Figgins and Juan Rivera can do the trick (Figgins can even keep platooning with Dallas McPherson at third base, making this really a McPherson/Rivera platoon. It’s convenient that this has also happened as Adam Kennedy heats up, but there’s a similar convenience in getting Izturis back just as Orlando Cabrera needs a day or two off. It’s this sort of depth that fuels titles; with minor exceptions like Ben Molina or Scot Shields, it isn’t like anyone’s putting in a career performance. The Angels could gripe about their injuries, the way it’s usually fashionable to do, but why bother? They’re in first, and unlike the Rangers, it isn’t like they need to find half of a rotation in the middle of the season.
- Dodgers: I’m not one to get turgid in my claims that a lost closer will ruin an entire season. As has been demonstrated before, most teams do pretty well winning games they lead in going into the ninth. In the context of the regular season’s long haul, a closer as good as Gagne basically just overkills opportunities that people as varied as Joe Borowski or Brandon Lyon can handle well enough. But in the case of the Dodgers, I worry, not because I think the Dodgers won’t still do fine with most of their ninth-inning leads, but because of how thinly stretched they seem to be in terms of pitching talent already. It isn’t who gets the saves, although fantasy-minded bookkeepers will care. The problem becomes more one of who’s good enough to use to protect any lead in any inning; if you’re holding back Yhency Brazoban or Duaner Sanchez to log that all-important save, who’s pitching the sixth, seventh or eighth innings for a staff where the rotation is already injury-depleted? Giovanni Carrara and… and… Scott Erickson? Kelly Wunsch is good for one situational out. But you see the problem: it isn’t about logging footnotes of a team’s success, like a save statistic, it’s having people who can pitch. At this stage, the Dodgers need as much of those guys as they can get, which is why Dessens’ return is good news. He’s gone straight into the rotation for the moment, which is fine, it means it’s that much less likely that Erickson will be allowed to spot the opposition a few crooked-number frames. But it’s a staff that needs Odalis Perez back more than it needs Gagne, if only to give them somebody to take leads into the seventh, push a pitcher like Dessens back into the pen, and keep the workload on that pen to a survivable minimum.