Thursday, March 25, 2010

2010 Stories To Watch, Part XI

  • Someone less talented would have to stop after Part XIII:

There's a mystical spring (or cesspool; or bog of quicksand) from where this stuff emanates. Some of it is due to me; some of it due to circumstances.

Occasionally sequels are better than the original. Examples are Rocky II; The Empire Strikes Back; The Dark Knight; and you can argue endlessly about The Godfather Part I and II; but my sequels are improving exponentially, much like my rising power.

Soon I will learn to trust my feelings; then I will be unstoppable.

First things first----Paul Lebowitz's 2010 Baseball Guide:

I'm not going to shut up about this from now until....I dunno when.

If you want a story to watch, here's a story to watch. 2010 is the year in which I either blast off into space like Major Tom; or explode and come completely undone, like...Major Tom. And this is in every aspect of my life.

Everyone loves a triumph; or a train wreck; or both.

At least I'm interesting.

Pitchers on the comeback:

There's been talk in the mainstream media about Dontrelle Willis and Fausto Carmona returning from ineffectiveness and mental issues to pitch well. Both are important to their clubs, but unless Willis can revert to his Cy Young Award contending, gregarious 2005 form; and Carmona can pitch as well as he did when he won 19 games in 2007, they're not going to help their clubs----the Tigers and Indians----much, if at all.

I haven't seen Willis this spring, so I can't judge on anything aside from what's been said; but the talk----in this Jon Heyman article----won't be proven one way or the other until the season starts.

Talk of Carmona's comeback comes from the delusional Buster Olney, who appears to have an Indians fetish.

And I'm dubious about both.

The idea that Willis, after being so atrocious and mentally fried last season, is going to be able to revert to the excellence from his Marlins days is a little tough to swallow. Like creative types, players who are so emotional have trouble controlling themselves and regaining their bearings when things go badly; and it can't be forgotten that even before Willis fell apart mentally, he hasn't pitched well since 2006. That was four years ago and he's rapidly gotten worse.

I wouldn't expect much from Willis regardless of how well he's pitched this spring. It may be a "false comeback" and the big lefty might lose it all over again when the games count. In fact, that's what I expect.

With Carmona, his issues were mechanical; and if he straightened them out, he does have a chance to be good again. I admire Carmona's mental toughness. After the way he detonated in 2006 when the Indians tried him as their closer and he was about as bad as bad gets, he returned as a starter and became a Cy Young Award contender just one year later. If he pitches well, he'll help the Indians; but the following statement from Olney is borderline deranged:

There are not many players capable of single-handedly transforming a team's pennant hopes. Carmona has shown he can be one of those guys, if he throws strikes. The Indians will look like a very different team if they get the 2007 version.

Let's just say the Indians get the 2007 version of Carmona. How does that help their woeful bullpen; their pockmarked lineup; and the rest of the rotation that is either questionable or hideous?

So with a good Carmona, they'd win 72 games instead of 65; only in the parity-laden world of PECOTA (where 81-81 is the rule rather than the exception) would that equate with a club being within sniffing distance of a playoff spot.

The best thing for the Indians to do would be to hope Carmona's good so they can trade him and his contract ($11 million guaranteed through 2011) and bring back multiple players before he disintegrates again.

Transforming relievers into starters:

The Royals trying Kyle Farnsworth as a starter is the smartest thing they could do. Farsnworth had success as a starter earlier in his career and was so rotten as a reliever that it makes absolute sense to give him a shot to start simply because his penchant for giving up homers wouldn't be so detrimental as it is coming out of the pen; and he couldn't be much worse as a starter than he was as a reliever.

The Rangers taking a valuable lefty arm in C.J. Wilson and shifting him from the bullpen to the rotation makes no sense.

Wilson was a starter in the minors and wasn't very good once he got past Single A. He gave up too many hits; and his strikeout numbers were unimpressive. As a reliever, he found his groove; racked up the strikeouts; and has the ability to get out both lefties and righties. Add in the fact that the Rangers, playing in a hitter's haven, need Wilson more out of the bullpen than they do as a starter and this is the wrong thing to do.

With the Rangers, they need usefulness from their starting pitchers to keep them close in games; and outs from the bullpen when they get a lead. Strikeouts are the best way to prevent homers and with Neftali Feliz, Frank Francisco and Wilson, they get strikeouts. Unless they intend to use Feliz as a big arm out of the bullpen and to back-up shaky closer Francisco, how are they filling that gaping hole with Wilson in the starting rotation?

He wasn't good at it in the minors; why would they think he's suddenly going to be able to pitch deeply into games now, especially in that ballpark?

Wilson's value is as a reliever. He's a crossover lefty; he strikes people out; he doesn't allow many homers; and he's a free spirited independent thinker with a really big mouth.

Sounds like a reliever to me.

After the way the Rangers and GM Jon Daniels recovered from what was quite possibly the worst trade of all time----Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young to the Padres for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka----and built an organization packed with prospects ready to contend, the moves he's made this past winter have been highly suspect.

Trading Kevin Millwood to the Orioles for a returning-from-injury Chris Ray and expecting Rich Harden to stay healthy and step up to the front of the rotation (forget it); and now this maneuver with Wilson all have the potential to be disastrous mistakes and will only add to the misery the Rangers are currently enduring with the Ron Washington cocaine scandal and the possibility that the club was blackmailed to keep it quiet.

This latest move with Wilson only adds to the questions; and it's a big mistake.

  • The tragedy of Dwight Gooden:

My capacity for empathy/sympathy is limited to begin with and even then, it's only allocated to those who are worthy.

Dwight Gooden is not one of those people who fall into the category of worthiness.

In case you missed it, Gooden's latest self-destructive foray occurred yesterday when he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs; got into an accident; left the scene; and had a child in the car with him----ESPN Story.

I'm not an addictive personality. I had a bit of a gambling thing a few years ago, but it was never to the point where I got myself into trouble and I stopped because it got boring. I do understand what Gooden is dealing with though; but at what point is enough going to be enough?

When he was a kid, it was easily explainable to say that he was 19-year-old thrust into big league superstardom before he was emotionally prepared. Add in that he was on a Mets team that was the hardest partying group of the past 30 years in any sport and it was natural for him to partake in everything that his status had to offer. But now?

He's 45-years-old.

He's still revered in New York for what he added to both the Mets and Yankees. There are plenty of people from both franchises who would be willing to help him and give him a job; yet he continues to behave in a way that's not just dangerous to himself, but to everyone around him.

Until he decides on his own to straighten out, it's never going to change; but those that are expressing sadness for Dwight Gooden should look elsewhere and find someone who deserves it, because in his current state, he doesn't.

  • Viewer Mail 3.25.2010:

Peter at Outside The Phillies Looking In writes RE Joe Mauer:

The best and funniest event to come out of the Mauer signing was Joe Maddon publicly thanking the Twins for signing him, so the BoSox or Yankees didn't get him.

I think Joe Maddon needs to worry about his own team and lose the absent-minded professor act to keep his job. If I were the Rays front office, I'd tell him to keep his mouth shut; then again, if I were in the Rays front office, I'd have fired Maddon after last year.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE my book:

Your knowledge is breathtaking, Prince. To have that much detail about the Pittsburgh Pirates is a thing of beauty. I can't wait to read your book to see what you have to say about the Royals. :)



Teams like the Pirates and Royals aren't much of a problem because they're such catastrophes and have so much upon which to unleash that they're easy. The teams that are the problem are the Astros, who aren't contenders; aren't so terrible that they're easy marks; and have more than a few players who are hard to recognize immediately.

As vicious as it seems, attacking the Pirates is kinda fun; plus I don't take cheap shots; it's all right there to bash if anyone wants to bother to look.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE my book:

BOO YEAH! Time to play the title track to Slim Thug's "THE BOSS OF ALL BOSSES" album.

I'm firmly in charge and leading the troops. Ably assisted by most loyal aides.


She-Fan said...

Re: Gooden. I'm afraid he'll have to hit some horrible bottom if he ever gets clean. Prison didn't do it. Maybe this time?

Gabriel said...

About Gooden, I agree with Jane, but he IS going to self-destruct, he won't come clean. He's Tyson's type. Young into stardom, uncontrollable for the rest of his life.

Jeff said...

Maybe Doc should hook up with Lenny and see if they can get high and rob Keith Hernandez's house.