I wrote this last night...I had been averaging 100-130 posts a year and this year only about 20. I can't make any more excuses, I will only try and write as much as I possibly can. The problem is when I write less frequently I tend to be more general in opinion and I don’t down to specific situations, such as analyzing the pitch selection in Rivera’s blow save the other day (he should have thrown the running fastball on the 3rd base side of the plate to both Markakis and on the HR instead of throwing the traditional cutter that came back over the plate. Sure, the spot was not good, but after Markakis hit the deep fly ball that just went foul on a good location, it showed the movement was not that sharp and also he was on it. CC allowed two homers yesterday and those were both inside fastballs (91) that would have hit the glove…that would lead one to believe it was the wrong pitch or the wrong location.
In the meantime all I can do is be a little general at this time and I will try and post as often as possible.
This team is pretty painful to watch as we are trotting guys out there that have been released from other teams or are not ready for the majors. The latter part I am OK with. For example, while David Adams clearly played very poorly (.536 OPS), at least they gave him a decent opportunity (over 100 AB’s) and now he can go down and work on what he needs to and may still come back and do something…or at least we know he is not the answer. When we play guys like Ichiro and Wells, we know they are not the answer; they just may be able to help us get through some times. Right now we are getting to see what Almonte can do and he looks good defensively, has some speed and hits pretty well from the left side of the plate. His swing righty does not look very good to me. Regardless, this gives us some opportunity for the future. As I stated many times, why pay Ichiro 12 mil over the next 2 years when we could get that out of a rookie (or a guy like Chris Dickerson (who is playing in Baltimore) and possibly have upside. Dickerson is only hitting to an OPS of .706 which is barely better than Ichiro’s .695, but my point was/is that similar production with upside is far better than similar production with no upside and 12 mil invested over 2 years. I also mentioned that I was surprised we sent down Brennen Boesch who at least had an OPS of .831 in his 50 AB’s. He is not much of a fielder but at least we could pinch hit for him as I can’t believe how pathetic some of the guys we are sending up down by one run in the 9th inning. Go with one less pitcher so you can pinch hit for some of the dregs we have up there.
BTW, Wells OPS is .646 for those interested. 13 mil for this and next year was a bad move, even if he helped us through the beginning of the year.
I know we have been devastated by injuries and outside of the original injuries, it was hard to expect Grandy, Tex and Youkilis to all come back only to get reinjured and only Grandy still expected to return. That is tough to overcome, but we are parading released guys and at almost every turn we have brought in guys who have stunk. Luis Cruz? Reid Brignac? Alberto Gonzalez? Chris Nelson? I mean look at their careers, what made us think we could turn these guys around? Yes, we are desperate, but I would rather they try the Adams, Almonte’s and even Romine’s (who needs to go back down now) than the Ben Francisco’s of the world (who as you know I hated signing…402 OPS).
Now, I was in favor of signing Youkilis because it was a one year deal and while I didn’t like he faded toward the end of the year last year, I thought a one year risk was worth it knowing ARod was out for awhile. .648 clearly didn’t get it done though, but again one year. I would have been far more tolerable of Ichiro if they signed him for one year and while he is doing better than I expected, a .695 OPS from a corner OF'r is not productive. His defense is solid and he does still have decent speed. But, it is still not productive, just not a huge weak link.
I was in favor of signing Overbay and he has done about what is expected (OPS of .719 OPS and above average D) he is not the answer as that production from 1B is not good. Losing Tex is a lot worse than people think…People gave Tex a lot of crap, but wouldn’t you love his .807 OPS from last year?
This team is in serious trouble and I am not sure making a desperate trade is the answer. There are too many holes. Our hope is that Grandy, ARod and Jeter come back and play to the back of their baseball cards otherwise the season is over.
On the pitching side, all is pretty good. I have said over the past years I like Nova’s stuff better than Hughes and I would have traded Hughes when he was hot. Right now, we won’t get much for him. This next Nova start will be important as his problem has been inconsistency more than stuff. He is an important part for us. Joba has looked good (numbers have not looked good though) and I would sign him cheap if I could. If not he is another that I would think would have some trade value. Of course being a free agent limits the value but he is an arm I could see people throwing a prospect at.
One point, Hal and Hank have done an awful with the stadium. Prices are crazy and the place is so quite it is sad. Nobody in the stands close to the players and there is NO intimidation at all. The place is empty and it is sad. Parking is $30! I said this before but lowering the pricing would get more people in the stands and more concessions and they would make more overall. George knew that you had to spend to get a great product and then you can charge a little more and the more crowd the more revenues generated and the better home field advantage (which is the worst in our division right now)
All this said, this team is 48-42 which is as good as we could have hoped with the injuries. I am not disappointed in the record; in fact we are lucky to be over .500. With our division, we are in trouble as you can’t have only 3 places where you are league average or better (catcher with Stewart has been fine, Gardner has been solid and Cano has been very good). The rest are ranging from pathetic to below average.