Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 Stories To Watch, Part VII

  • I'm blossoming:

That's right. I'm blossoming into a cult hero along the lines of Ed Wood, except my stuff is good good, not so bad it's good. The sequels never end, but this show doesn't need Jason; Freddy Krueger; or Michael Myers----I'm all three combined along with a nice bit of Darth Vader and a pinch of Hannibal Lecter.

It's a blockbuster.

An intriguing closing option for the Twins:

Jon Heyman writes the following about a possible strategy for the Twins dealing with the loss of Joe Nathan:

The Twins have a strong bullpen, but since they have no one obvious closer-in-waiting (Jon Rauch, Pat Neshek, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Jesse Crain are among the possibilities), one option would be to sign a free agent starter and move Francisco Liriano into the closer's role. That scenario is said to be floating around Ft. Myers, though it could depend on whether the Twins have insurance on Nathan (it isn't known whether they do).

This is an interesting idea and something to seriously consider.

Francisco Liriano was devastating as a reliever before being inserted into the starting rotation in 2006 (where he was also just as good as a starter) before hurting his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery. Functioning with an adjusted motion, his timing appeared off when he returned in 2008; he was good, but nowhere near what he was previously; and he was atrocious last season.

The scuttlebutt has been that Liriano's looked like his old self this spring; that he's primed for a big year as a starter; and will function as the top of the rotation powerhouse that the Twins lack. I'm not buying it. The only way to know that he's back to form is when he's truly back to form; and given the way the Twins closer situation is in flux (not catastrophic, but in flux), Liriano could be the answer.

It's not just that he's needed out there more than he is in the starting rotation, but it might be easier on his surgically repaired elbow to crank it up for 75 innings than it would be for 200. Closing would free Liriano to cut loose for one inning at a time and not worry about saving himself; and he's a strikeout machine. Plus, the Twins bullpen is deep enough where it would be extremely rare that he's needed for more than one inning.

I don't know if this was something that was considered as a last-ditch option (they do have pitchers to rack up the saves in Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch), or just thrown out there to gauge the reaction, but I'd consider it very, very strongly. It might be a championship move.


Yankee fans are going over-the-top with their frustration over Joba Chamberlain's horrific start yesterday. It was the second straight spring starting in which Chamberlain got attacked----NY Daily News Story.

Is it cause for concern?


Is it worth the maniacal reaction within Yankeedom and what you can pretty much expect from Mike Francesa today? No.

Chamberlain is a mess right now. He's been a mess for the better part of two years since he burst onto the scene as the ultimate weapon out the bullpen in 2007.

And the Yankees are to blame.

In their efforts to shield the gifted righty from getting hurt and institute The Joba Rules to prevent similar abuse and injury that have befallen other phenoms, the Yankees have battered him in a far different way. The damage is due to organizational paranoia that if he gets hurt, they'll be the ones held responsible. Because of that, they don't let him pitch.

Encased as he is in the cage of innings limits/pitch counts/usage guidelines, he's afraid to throw the ball. Like a reticent overtrained animal, Chamberlain's head is on a swivel every time he walks out to the mound. You can almost read his thoughts as it's been drilled into his head----DON'T GET HURT!!!

He hasn't gotten hurt.

That part of the "plan" was accomplished. But he's been awful. Last season, aside from a few starts, he was bad as a starter; then later in the season he wasn't all that good as a reliever either.

The spring training starts are meaningless. Chamberlain was ill a couple of weeks ago and his timing, strength, command and mechanics are a work-in-progress; but the scrutiny, inflamed by the Yankees delicate approach to the pitcher, is causing a spiral. He doesn't know which end is up and he needs clarity.

It's enough.

He's a reliever.


The Yankees, bolstered by the idea of 200 innings being worth more than the 70-80 a reliever provides are trying to smash a square peg into a round hole. What happens when you do that? Not only are you running the risk of breaking the board, but you're going to smash the peg. Plus the Yankees don't need Chamberlain in the starting rotation. It's clear that Phil Hughes belongs in the starting rotation; Chamberlain the bullpen.

Yet they're still clinging to this ideal that Chamberlain's four pitch arsenal makes him a viable starter; but has it been considered that he mentally cannot do it? That he's been turned in so many circles by the club that he's a disaster?

It's hard to believe that they can't see it; can't see what they're doing to a 24-year-old who deserves better. The JOBA RUINATION continues without any sign of abating----to the detriment of the Yankees and the pitcher.

It's a shame.

A fireable offense in every venue but this one:

This is almost too ridiculous for words.

The Pirates, who inexplicably signed the journeyman infielder Ramon Vazquez to a 2-year, $4 million contract before the 2009 season, are now considering releasing him----MLB Trade Rumors Story----leaving them on the hook for $2 million.

The Pirates.

Who claim not to have any money.

Are throwing $2 million down the tubes.

When they signed Vazquez, it didn't make any sense; now they're going to compound this error by releasing him outright. I can only shake my head. The smart thing to do now is to keep Vazquez, give him some at bats early in the season and hope a club in need of a backup will take him and maybe give up a minor leaguer the Pirates might be able to use for something.

The Pirates are like the Dr. Nick Riviera of the baseball set----total quacks who haven't the faintest clue what they're doing.

"Hi, everybody!!"

"Hi, Dr. Nick!!!"

  • Viewer Mail 3.11.2010:

Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE Joe Nathan and Bobby Jenks:

Joe Nathan is better than Bobby Jenks.

Not in the post-season and I'd rather have someone I can trust in the playoffs than a glossy stat compiler in the regular season. You should know that. Maybe come up with a stat "Post Season Performance vs Regular Season Stat Compiling" or something like that. I'm not in the mood to come up with acronyms. Get to work!!!!

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE my suggestion of Julio Lugo retiring as a Red Sox:

Julio Lugo retiring as a Red Sock. That cracked me up.

They're missing the boat here. They could sell countless jerseys from numerous players from the past: Matt Clement; Wily Mo Pena; Shea Hillenbrand; Cliff Floyd; Wayne Gomes; Rolando Arrojo; Brian Daubach; Lou Merloni; even Grady Little-----it's a celebration in the Rick James tradition!!!!

David writes RE the zombie attack:

I've been reading these links you post to the Think Factory Website. If I may, I'd like to draw another comparison to them being true zombies. These guys can't even stay on subject! How does three posts about criticizing you turn into "English Literature" and a thread about "Napolean Dynamite versus Superbad"? Anyway this reminds me of the video game Left For Dead. If you aren't there to shoot the zombies or you eventually just run away, they stand around like idiots barfing or hitting trashcans. Same level of attention seems to be held on these posts. Congrats guys.

I think it's great. The best part is that it happens every time when I'm linked and, from what I've seen, it goes the same way with everyone:

A) the posting is linked; B) it's read; C) they attack the author regardless of what it says; and D) they attack each other.

The more they talk, the worse they look as the zombies cement their own downfall. Their self-destruction and my laser precise blasts of lightning have me winning this fight. Victory shall be mine!!!!


She-Fan said...

I think you should pitch that idea to the Red Sox. It's brilliant. Wily Mo Pena....I can see the press conference now.

Gabriel said...

You forgot about Dave Roberts. "The Steal" t-shirts.