Sunday, June 21, 2009

Five MLB Tidbits

I spent most of the day doing laundry, and caught parts of four different games here in the Man Cave. That, plus staring down the barrel at my Stat Tracker at three different fantasy leagues, leads me to pull the following nuggets of wisdom out of my nethers.

1) If anyone has seen Jimmy Rollins' bat or head, would you please call the Phillies? After today's 0-for-4 festival of weakness, the leadoff hitter for the defending world champions is hitting .217 with a .608 OPS, far and away the worst numbers of his career. He's not even stealing bases worth a damn (10 for 15), at least not in comparison with his usual self. Given that the man is only 30 and was born in America (which is to say, his birth certificate does not have the usual Dominican issues), and I bid way too much for him at auction, I'd like to know what the hell the deal is. So would Philly Fan, who has watched his team drop six in a row on a 1-8 homestand that was one of the worst in franchise history, while still holding first place in the suddenly weak NL East. I'm really hoping that this is all pointless worry, and that Rollins will pick it up and get back to his usual numbers and self... but, um, that OPS ranks at 161 for all qualifying MLB hitters, which is to say, 8th-worst of all hitters. Not exactly what I was buying.

2) How many road games do the Yankees really play every year? You'd have been hard-pressed to find a Marlins fan beyond the folks who cheered when Hanley Ramirez destroyed a ball for the tying home run in what would eventually be a Fish "home" win over the Yanks. The game will be noted more for the second inning exit of CC Sabathia, who suffered some form of worrisome tightness, and the Yankees playing the game under protest after the Marlins screwed up a double switch. Not exactly a routine loss for the Bombers... and just as I was putting this post to bed, there's news that they are going to have to rest A-Roid a game a week until the All-Star Break, due to that troublesome hip. Jeez, do these people like drama.

3) Memo to Joe Torre: I've given up trying to understand why you feel compelled to bury Matt Kemp in your lineup. I get that the guy is streaky, maybe not the headiest player in the world, might be a little maddening to deal with from time to time. He dropped a ball in the ninth inning tonight that he could have caught. (Oh, and kudos to the official scorer for calling a ball off a glove as a double, costing me in my roto league, where I was tied in RBIs and opposing Hunter. Fantasy baseball is pure freaking misery.)

But let's consider the OPS of your starting line up here.

Pierre .806
Furcal .658
Hudson .849
Blake .881
Ethier .827
Martin .662
Loney .718
Kemp .863
Ausmus .757

Um, you are aware that your second best hitter is hitting eighth here, right? You know, the place where Furcal should be hitting? Or perhaps Martin?

If I were running an MLB team, I'd be desperately trying to separate the Dodgers from Kemp right about now. I mean, Juan Pierre's played so well, right? He needs to keep going once Manny Ramirez is back. Ignore the fact that Kemp is 24, 21st in the entire NL in OPS, and plays a fine centerfield. He's just your #8 hitter! He can't be any good!

4) After today's loss to the equally ferocious Padres, my Oakland A's are 30-38, 7 games out and in last place in the utterly mediocre AL West, with the second-lowest runs scored in the AL. Which leads everyone to assume that the Matt Holliday Sales Watch Is On... which would be a fine idea, but only if Holliday's sales price hadn't dropped like a stone in his 68 games in Oakland (a ho-hum .790 OPS). Oh, and Holliday makes $13.5 million a year, which the A's will, of course, want defrayed in the event of any move.

One problem with that idea is that there might be, oh, maybe five team in all of MLB who are able to even consider that kind of salary, let alone give up any kind of prospect for him. Which leads to the real possibility that they will have given up prospects and useful pieces to the Rockies for a guy they can't get any kind of return value for... and maybe even have to throw a prospect into the mix to be rid of. But remember, folks, Billy Beane's a genius! (And the fact that their All-Star representative will in all likelihood be Adam Freaking Kennedy... just means Billy's still got it. Um, sure.)

Ed. Note and Update -- How bad of a year is it? The "Moneyball" movie just got shut down. It's OK though, I hear that the film will be made by a different studio that can afford to make movies, once they can get Brad Pitt to stay healthy...

5) The Mets might be the most efficient baseball team, from a fan perspective... because you can more or less limit your viewing of their offense to the 3-4-5 hitters (Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Gary Sheffield). Oh, and if you are pressed for time, feel free to cut Master Shef off the list, too. I get that they are missing their leadoff hitter (Jose Reyes) and usual clean-up hitter (Carlos Delgado), but really... this is an MLB+ team? And they fell into Shef thanks to the Tigers cutting him loose in spring training. For a team with a new stadium, it's kind of astounding that they were going into battle with Ryan Church and David Murphy playing prominent roles, but what the hey... it's not like they have the memory of two straight collapse years haunting their efforts. (Oh, wait...)

1 comment:

Steven Gomez said...

Interesting stuff today, Shooter.

1. You think his roid/HGH dealer got run down? That's my guess.

2. Despite it all, I think they outrun the Rays (barely) for the Wildcard behind the Sox, who I still think are the team to beat in the AL. The Rays are hurting too (whither Scott Kazmir, and Iwamura's done for the year) and they need to figure out their closer situation at some point (JP Howell's the hot hand right now but I don't think he's their guy: his control issues are like the man's personal herpes and he's due for an outbreak).

3. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an old school GM who values the vets over the kids to a fault, which makes you wonder when Matt Kemp's ever going to be considered a vet, and which explains why they paid Juan Pierre $40 million to ride their bench. And of course, Joe Torre fits Colletti's mold of old school baseball perfectly. The only way Kemp moves up is if half the lineup drops dead tomorrow.

3b. Rafael Furcal missing time with a buttocks injury is the funniest thing this side of Kaz Matsui's anal fissure.

4. The M's blogsphere is worried about a surge from the A's, but uh... yeah, Billy hasn't exactly assembled a mountain of talent with your ballclub. Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden are top end starters? Really? Beane's been hiding behind his reputation longer than Yuniesky Betancourt (and don't get me started on THAT guy).

5. Yeah, that Mets team was hollow on paper before this season and before Sheffield reconnected with HIS dealer (maybe Jimmy Rollins ought to ask for a phone number). I pegged them as 3rd behind the Phillies and Braves before the year, though obviously the Braves are letting me down so far. I'd still expect a 2nd half tear from the Braves and Phillies to leave the NY media calling for heads a little earlier than usual, maybe by the end of August.

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