Some quick takes on recent baseball news...
- I like Jonah Keri's take on the Marlins/Blue Jays trade in his appropriately titled piece, "There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria". After all the hand ringing and righteous indignation, the Marlins made some good baseball trades and unloaded a bunch of bad contracts. And baseball needs its villains and I'm sure Loria is fine with being one.
Thing is, the Marlins weren't going to win with the players they had, at least not for the foreseeable future. Last offseason, they signed Reyes, Buehrle, and Heath Bell while narrowly whiffing on Albert Pujols, breaking the bank in an attempt to build an exciting, winning team as they moved into a new ballpark. After all that, they won 69 games, finishing second to last in the National League in runs scored while allowing more runs than all but four other NL clubs. Free agents tend to produce their best results early in long-term deals, while they're still at or near their prime, then fall off in later years. The Marlins got productive Year 1 performances from Reyes and Buehrle, bundled them with a talented but hugely injury-prone pitcher in Johnson plus a couple of fungible veterans, and cashed them in for some intriguing prospects, plus the GDP of a Pacific island nation in salary relief.
Better to realize your mistakes and move on quickly then compound them. Stadium financing and local politics are their own issue. The Blue Jays did alright, they certainly acquired some talent and will pay dearly in Canadian dollars for it. If Josh Johnson is healthy and pitching like Josh Johnson and if Jose Reyes doesn't blow out his legs on the turf, they'll certainly be right in the mix with the rest of the talented A.L. East.
- The Tigers signed Torii Hunter for 2/$26M today. He'll probably have his pick of left or right field with the departure of Delmon Young. The Tigers are in the position of win it now, so a short deal for a 37-year old isn't all that foolish and Hunter's value seems to extend to the clubhouse. Of course, last year was the first time he topped .300 in his career and safe money would be on a steep decline soon to come. To pile on, Pete Abraham had an interesting tweet.
Hunter last season: .817 OPS, 16 homers, 92 RBIs. Cody Ross last season: .807 OPS, 22 homers, 81 RBIs. 5 years younger, too
- This year's "Managers of the Teams We Completely Undersold in the Pre-Season" were awarded to Davey Johnson and Bob Melvin. I have no comment other than it's still the dumbest award out there. There is absolutely no criteria beyond there teams were expected to suck and they did not suck, so it must be the manager.
- Back to the Marlins, saw some folks chirping about Cubs making a call for Ricky Nolasco while the Marlins are in payroll dump mode (he's owed $11.5M for 2013). Here's a reminder of his ERA+ starting from 2006: 90, 81, 124, 85, 92, 84, 88. Let's never speak of it again.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...