Monday, July 19, 2010

Half Measures Are No Measures

  • Keeping Oliver Perez could cost the Mets more than paying him to leave:

I've always been a fan of talent and I believe that most anyone and anything (within reason) is salvageable. Getting use from an individual----even for one game, one at bat, one pitch----makes it worthwhile to keep them around as long as the negatives don't outweigh the potential positives.

The negatives with Oliver Perez have grown so monstrous that it's time for the Mets to cut the cord and release him, eating the remaining money (whatever he's still owed for this year, plus $12 million next year) and move on.

I completely understand the reluctance to simply dump him. The money is the biggest motivating factor in Perez still being a member of the organization, but presumably there are people like me who believe that Perez's flashes of abilities have him viable to try and rebuild him to some form of competitiveness. Then there are others who are worried about another Mets mistake of dumping a player and seeing him blossom elsewhere; but what they're not realizing is that every organization has players who they misjudged and gave away for nothing. Whether they're competent or not, it happens everywhere.

The Athletics under Billy Beane dumped Ryan Ludwick and Aaron Harang. As I mentioned yesterday, the Orioles, Blue Jays and Dodgers all gave up on Jayson Werth. Casey Blake bounced from the Blue Jays to the Twins to the Orioles and back to the Twins before getting his shot with the Indians. The Red Sox tried Joel Pineiro as a closer before trading him to the Cardinals for a nondescript minor leaguer.

It happens to the best and the worst and is a cost of doing business.

What also has to be realized is that the change-of-scenery and different approach from various teams, managers and coaches has a lot to do with how a player performs. The Red Sox have a very competent coaching staff, especially with their pitchers, but if you cornered John Farrell, I bet he'd admit he wouldn't have been able to rebuild Pineiro the way Dave Duncan did.

It's just fact.

Sometimes players connect with coaches; perhaps it's technique; perhaps it's the confidence boost from knowing someone of Duncan's stature feels as though he can fix whatever problem there is----but it's been historically accurate. Few people remember the pitchers that Duncan and La Russa couldn't fix like Rick Ankiel, but they exist as well----in fact, Duncan and La Russa had a hand in the ruination of Ankiel by starting him in the opening game of the 2000 NLDS; and Perez's control problems, while not on the scope of those experienced by Ankiel, are in the same ballpark.

The Mets manager and coaching staff don't want Perez; the players don't want Perez; the front office don't want Perez; and the fans? Do I need to say it?

It's enough. The club has mucked around with explaining away Perez's stints on the disabled list with knee issues; he's gone to the minor leagues under a different pretense than the Mets initially wanted and Perez was able to save some phantom "face" by not being demoted; he was on a "rehab" assignment, and the results have not been positive. He's got to come back soon and apparently he will----unless the Mets dump him.

Logically, not only are they not getting a return on their investment for Perez, but he's hurting the team to boot! Wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run if they dump him now and don't run the risk of him entering a game and blowing it up to see the team miss the playoffs by one game at the end of the season? Do they want to look back and say they shouldn't have let Perez cost them one more possible win than he already has in 2010?

Someone would pick Perez up under similar reasoning used when eating the samples of unknown mystery foods in supermarkets----hey, it's free! But are the Mets, with all they've seen from Perez in his time with the club truly concerned that he's going to go to the Cardinals or Brewers and become baseline serviceable? Really? And if he does, so what? The entire organization will be better off without Perez if his ghost remains every time he receives a paycheck.

Swallow the money.

Move on.

  • I can't argue with this:

The Padres are giving manager Bud Black a 3-year contract Story.

I don't think he's a particularly adept strategic manager (he relies too heavily on the imaginary book and does as he's told by upper management), but the Padres are playing excellent ball and play hard for their manager; they seem to like him.

For the most part, Black----a former pitching coach----handles the pitching staff very well and does a fine job managing the workload and deployment of his bullpen. He still does odd things with his offense as if he doesn't trust his baseball experience and would prefer to live by the numbers so he has an excuse to the reporters and his bosses.

One glaring example of this was on June 1st against the Mets when the Padres were rallying in the bottom of the ninth inning against Francisco Rodriguez and Black chose to let Chris Denorfia bat with the winning run at the plate and Matt Stairs on the bench; Stairs has never gotten a hit off of K-Rod, but so what? I'd have sent up Stairs and am pretty sure he would've come through with a hit or, at the very least, worked a walk.

Strategy is only one (sometimes small) part of managing. How often do we see managers who either don't know what they're doing or do things to make it look like they have a plan in place and somehow see those decisions work?

Jim Tracy, it can be argued, is the best strategic manager in baseball, but was fired twice. Once with the Dodgers when fissures between field personnel and upper management became factional and unworkable; the second time with the Pirates, who are, well, the Pirates.

The Padres are playing terrific ball; Black handles the media and the clubhouse well. He has his faults, but there's no reason not to give him a reward for the good things he's done.

  • The silence is laughable:

I hate to keep harping on this, but will until I get a response.

It's ridiculous to me that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was labeled a "genius" for one year on the job in which he did a lot of "stuff" and his team essentially self-corrected from an underachieving and disaster-laden 2008 season into an 85-win 2009. Before the season, it was said that the Mets missed out on a a "Truly Amazin' Baseball Exec" by none other than....Joel Sherman----NY Post column, Feb. 1, 2010.


It's "amazin".

It's "amazin" that no one is criticizing Zduriencik for a team that can only be labeled as a radioactive wasteland. That the deal Zduriencik made for Russell Branyan made absolutely no sense whatsoever given the club's current circumstances; that the team is in essentially the same position they were when Zduriencik took over, albeit with a lower payroll.

I have no clue what the Mariners are going to look like in three years; they might be a championship caliber club; they might be in the market for a new GM because the "genius" turned out to be a false prophecy and his supporters hypnotized members of a cult.

That's the point. The "experts" tear into one entity because of perceived errors and support another with no basis in fact; no success to speak of aside from believing what they believe and looking like they know what they're doing----and then reality is ignored as it happens. This is not reporting; it's not the presentation of beliefs and acceptance of mistakes; it's self-serving arrogance and weak premises due to a lack of self-confidence and honesty.

Is anyone going to look at the Mariners and say, "Y'know what? This guy's done a bad job here,"? Analyzing the work based on the first half of 2010 is no different from anointing Zduriencik as a genius or chastising other teams for passing up on him with only one out-of-context year in the rear-view mirror.

Actually, it is different.

It's more factually accurate.

  • Viewer Mail 7.19.2010:

AndyD writes RE Jayson Werth and his behaviors costing him money:

I'm not sure. It's a very good question. No doubt Werth is a quality player but sometimes he stops himself from going the next step.

Taking his injury-history, behavior and age into account, a team is taking a risk giving Werth a similar contract as to what Jason Bay got with the Mets (4-years, $66 million). Bay's been a major disappointment, but at least he's been healthy and hasn't been the jerk as you might get with Werth if he has the same struggles as Bay.

Werth seems to be counting on the Yankees being after him and they will be...after Cliff Lee and probably Carl Crawford. He's a fallback option who may be on the market deep into the winter and then have to take a shorter-term deal for less money with a team for whom he really doesn't want to play.

Jeff (Acting Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Jayson Werth:

I've always wanted to like Jayson Werth, but he makes it really, really difficult. The attitude, the hair (seriously, what's with the Phillies and awful hair?), the grotesque beard, banging Utley's wife (any truth to that? who knows)...

Your assessment seems accurate... I expect that rage to get him hurt one of these days. And that would be a shame.

Did you see the movie Overnight about a bartender named Troy Duffy who got a movie deal and screwed the entire thing up with his ranting and arrogance? I get the similar impression from Werth as I got from Duffy----they're more interested in gloating over success to those who they perceive to have "wronged" them rather than the success itself. All that does is give some validation and attention to those that you want to get away from in the first place. Who cares what they think?

Somehow Duffy got the sequel to that mediocre (at best) film----The Boondock Saints----made; whether or not he's actually made any money is the question; and why anyone would want to work with him after the way he behaved is a bigger question, money or not.

Um...Utley's wife? What?!?

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Joe Torre:

I disagree on Torre. I think he's a lifer. Sure he's got a younger wife and a kid, but if a team comes along with a nice package, I say he takes it.

Maybe you're right and he'd be willing to listen as a mid-season replacement for someone if he did leave the Dodgers and take some time off. The thing with Torre is that----unlike Bobby Cox----he enjoys being out in the public and receiving the Frank Sinatra treatment; he wouldn't be bored to death in LA; he'd have broadcasting opportunities to make more money (which we know he loves). Another aspect is that he can't be inducted into the Hall of Fame and receive all the accolades (and money) he'd get from that honor. If he "retired" after this year----even if it's a Bill Parcells-style retirement----he'd enter the Hall of Fame fast.

If he's back next year, it's hard to see it with the Dodgers and will he want to move again? There's always the Mets, but would he want to come back to New York and deal with the outside distractions? I can't see it. It's always a possibility though.

Joe writes RE Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox:

How did I not listen? You didn't hear Beltre's name did you? Meaning I was referring to after the season, and understood that is what you were talking about as well. And I know who is coming off the books. The point is, Gonzalez will cost a ton of prospects, and if he is going to DH is it worth it? If you simply wait one more year, you can have him via free agency -- if no one signs him to an extension. There is a lot more risk than you seem to let on. He is FAR from free. Prospects PLUS having to overpay him for a few years at the end of a Teixeira like contract.

Let me rephrase: you listen, but you don't hear.

The Red Sox covet Gonzalez; and if they want him, they'd better hope he gets traded to a team that's: A) going to let him leave after 2011; and B) is willing to ante up the prospects to rent him for a year.

As much as they try to hang onto their prospects, the Red Sox are a win-now team; and if they're going to win next year, they're going to have to get a bat to replace David Ortiz. Gonzalez, to me, is close to a guaranteed investment and would be there for the long term. Kevin Youkilis can play the outfield for a year, DH here and there and play some third base while they keep Adrian Beltre and then let him leave as well.

Speaking of Beltre, with the year he's having and the position he plays, do you really think Beltre is going to exercise a player option for $5 million when he can probably double that on the market? For a year at least? The Red Sox would gladly accept his 2010 season for what it is, let him leave and move Youkilis to third in favor of Gonzalez in 2011.

Regardless of statistical popularity, the Red Sox fling money at their issues in winters immediately following seasons in which they miss the playoffs, an eventuality that's looking increasingly likely now. They're going after Gonzalez whether you like it or not.

And I'm willing to bet you hope they keep J.D. Drew after next year so you don't have to change your wallpaper and buy new, non-Drew-themed pajamas. Go back to Spider-Man, Joe. Go back to Spider-Man.2010BaseballGuideCover.gif

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.


Jeff said...

Cuttin' off Ollie!

Radioactive wasteland!

J.D. Drew themed pj's!

What a post! A lil somethin' for everyone today. I dig it.

She-Fan said...

This is my third time trying to leave a comment. What's up? Anyhow, I agree with Jeff. A bravuro performance today in this post! I don't follow the Mets and hardly know who Perez is, but after reading your post even I want him gone.

Joe said...

I only get to wear my Drew pajamas like five times a week though. Always some mysterious hole or fray I have to take care of the other two days.

Anonymous said...

Werth has had ONE injury to speak of (anything else was muscles & over fast) that happened when he was w/the Dodgers. Interestingly it was caused by AJ Burnett who hit & broke his left wrist with a pitch. Dodger doctors misdiagnosed and, therefore, mistreated underlying ligament damage. Due only to his own tenacity Werth found his own doctor at the Mayo Clinic who fixed it. He has never had "rage issues". He's had ONE incident & that fan was a moron. To make any more of that is - well - just New York of you. And he is not now, nor has he ever done anything with Jenn Utley. Jenn is good friends with Julia Werth, Jayson's wife. The two couples are friends. The rumor was posted only on the internet by someone not even pretending about lying to start whatever trouble they could. Hard to believe anyone w/an IQ above 40 would believe it.

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

(Mariners) What makes his resume even worse is ownership having been agreeable with payroll. They really are a good ownership group but can't seem to make a good hire. Why more people aren't screaming about the bad job he's doing? I say it's Seattle itself. The divorce capital and depression rate there has that part of the country un-plugged. No one talks about Seattle. To most of this country Seattle is like the 4th Marx Brother... at least since Sweet Lou last managed there.

Ollie? Ugh. Good grief!