On Friday at around 5:00 PM, I was absolutely ecstatic. The Dodgers had gotten rid of Scott Erickson, and brought up Johnathan Broxton, and Dionner Navarro. While, unlike most people, I was willing to deal with Phillips' inability to throw out runners, Wednesday night's game was a truly horrible loss, and Navarro would bring a nice change of pace. Tracy finally wouldn't have Phillips starting 85% of the time, and he might be able to work his way back to respectability.
I like Jason Phillips. As a catcher hitting eighth, I believe that he is a boon to the offense. Well, at least he was until he started playing everyday.
What a difference 24 hours makes.
Phillips has to go immediately. He's become one of Jim Tracy's toys that he uses in strange and unusual ways. Catcher in the bottom of the order, great. First baseman in the middle of the order, he actively he hurts the team.
Thanks to his home run today, Phillips has secured his job as our backup to Olmedo Saenz, if not the starting first baseman job. Thanks to this new revelation, the Dodgers now have, by far, the worst first baseman in baseball. (As a point of comparison, the second worst first baseman in baseball, Darin Erstad, has a .718 OPS Phillips' OPS is ..663) This also ends any hope that Hee Seop Choi might have possibly had of regaining the starting job. At this point, either Phillips, Saenz, and Kent have to get hurt, or, if Olmedo remains healthy, Phillips, Robles, Perez and Kent have to be hurt. Is there any player in baseball that is further down on the depth chart?
After Phillips was announced as the first baseman today, I immediately violated number three on Dodger Stadium's fan code of conduct. This was despite Tommy Lasorda's pleas to make the game fun for everyone. The best way to make Dodger Stadium family friendly is to get rid of Jim Tracy.
I suppose there is some good to come out of this. The Dodgers easily have the best bench in baseball. After all, what other team can send out a guy with 13 home runs to pinch hit, and then follow that up with someone with a .335 average in 182 at bats. Of course, these tools don't help nearly as much when you have a shortstop that has put up sub-Guzman numbers for the last two months, one of your corner outfielders is best known for his massive amounts of scrap, you have the worst first baseman in baseball, and the third baseman just got out of an 0 for 26 slump.
Here's a lineup that I'm sure wouldn't be that hard to follow:
It's not perfect (it needs Werth to come back to fill a massive hole), but it's far better than what we ran out there today. Of course, this will never happen.
Finally, Tracy's stupidity gets an exclamation point when he brought in Carrara in a one run game. He then proceeds to give up a home run to the person that is less likely to hit one than anyone in baseball, save Jason Kendall. Just lovely. To complete this really crappy day, I got something in my eye which caused it to burn for the last two innings. That sucked.
At this point, I don't put anything beyond Tracy. If we go get Dunn, I wouldn't be surprised if we added him to the best bench in baseball. It's like he's become a parody of himself. At least if San Diego can put together a mighty seven and three stretch, it will put me out of my misery.
Who's intelligence is closer to that of the Rock of Gibraltar?
Brad Penny has now been suspended for five days for getting upset about being thrown out of the game by a Bush League umpire. Well, that just goes to show you how ridiculous the penalty department of the MLB is.
Think about the following punishments:
Brad Penny gets upset for getting thrown out of a game for no reason: five games.
Roberto Alomar spits on an umpire: five games.
Sammy Sosa cheats by corking his bat: seven games.
Brendan Donnelly cheats by putting pine tar on the ball: eight games.
Alex Sanchez cheats by taking steroids: ten games.
Kenny Rogers picks up two assault charges: twenty(?) games.
Apparently, saying some choice words to an umpire who wanted to flaunt his power (hey, he's only got a couple weeks in the bigs, might as well make a mark before it's back to AAA) is just as egregious of an offense has hocking a fat one on some umpires grill. It's also only slightly worse than corking your bat, or throwing a Vaseline ball. Hey, as long as the punishment matches the crime, right?
That's pretty stupid, but let's see what the challenger can do.
Sadly, we can only refer to the the challenger as "anonymous GM" so things won't be as fun, but, here's a good quote from ESPN.com (who were nice enough to make me pay to read Jayson Stark.)
"...Perez is only in the first year of a three-year, $24-million contract -- "AND he's really a No. 5 starter," said one GM who couldn't change the subject fast enough when the Dodgers dangled Perez in front of him"
While Odalis is a headcase, and isn't the first guy you want to hand the ball to in a big game, he has proved to be a solid number two/very good number three starter during his brief career.
In the last three years, Odalis has finished third, ninth, and eleventh in K/BB ratio, respectively. In the two years were he didn't have any significant injuries, he had an ERA of 3.00, and 3.26. Some fifth starter, huh?
Who else is out there, instead of Odalis? How about A.J. Burnett? After all, every team would love to have A.J. Burnett, and can turn a good team into a great one, right? Who wouldn't want to add a potential ace, instead of a fifth starter. Well, let's see what the numbers say.
VORP Since 2002
A.J. Burnett, Age 28
2002 - 40.9
2003 - 1.6
2004 - 26.8
2005 - 19.7
Total - 89.0
Odalis Perez, Age 28
2002 - 59.9
2003 - 19.3
2004 - 49.7
2005 - 1.9
Total - 130.8
Hmmm...it would seem that superstar A.J. Burnett has never had a better year than Odalis Perez, in fact, he's never had a VORP within 18 of Odalis Perez. He's certainly worth having to eat Mike Lowell's salary over, isn't he?
Am I saying that I would rather have Odalis Perez instead of A.J. Burnett? No. But, to have a team willing to destroy their future for the opportunity to have A.J. Burnett for two months, while simultaneously not touching Odalis with a ten foot pole is just bad management.
I'm sure anonymous G.M. would have been willing to sell the future in exchange for Kris Benson last year, but, again, one of the most solid pitchers in the last three years is a fifth starter. Makes sense to me. Of course, this could be the same anonymous G.M. who said
"All [Marlins G.M. Larry Benifest] traded was his fifth starter (Brad Penny), a platoon guy (Hee Seop Choi), a bench player (Abraham Nunez) and two minor leaguers (Bill Murphy and Travis Chick) And he got the best setup man in the league (Guillermo Mota), one of the best catchers in the league (Paul Lo Duca), a decent fifth starter (Ismael Valdez), a starting right fielder (Juan Encarnacion) and a useful arm (Rudy Seanez). And he got the Dodgers to pay them to take their best player (Lo Duca). How 'bout that?"
Another anonymous front office man chimes in
"I believe in intangibles,And I believe Lo Duca is that kind of player. That team fed off his energy. I just wonder if they outsmarted themselves by trading him."
Jayson's Stark conclusion after both these quotes: "Larry Benifest is the best G.M. in baseball". Whoops. Conclusion: all AGM's likely are in charge of the Reds, Devil Rays, or Mariners.
Despite the absolutely ridiculous suspension that Penny received, I believe that calling Odalis Perez a fifth starter is an even worse move. It's comments like these that keep me fully confident in the Dodgers future, despite this horrendous year.
Hernandez is the reason the Nationals are in first place. Without him, Washington wouldn't be in first, while the Marlins aren't in first place with Willis."
I would personally call Roger Clemens the NL Cy Young, but Willis is still a fine pick. Livan Hernandez, on the other hand, is not. While is rubber arm is very impressive, his stats are still similar to Brad Penny's. No one in their right mind would call him the Cy Young.
Would you call John Patterson the Cy Young? Of course not. However, he has a better ERA, better K/9, better BB/9, and has not allowed an unearned run. The only thing Livan has on him is more starts. John Patterson, for all intents and purposes, has been superior to Livan Hernandez this year. However, Livan is the reason the team wins, most likely because of that inspirational (stupid) 150 pitch start.
Also, Nick Johnson and Jose Guillen might take offense to Livan being called the only reason the Nationals are in first.
"I'd give the midseason MVP to Ramirez [over David Ortiz] because he plays the field"
Joe, you do realize that Manny Ramirez is easily the worst fielder in the league, right? Out of all left fielders, he is currently last in zone rating. Last year, he was last in both range factor and fielding percentage, meaning he got to less balls than any other left fielder, and of the balls he did get to, he dropped the most. It's gotten to the point where it's just sort of funny to watch him play, you never know when he might get a spike caught and go head over heels.
Shouldn't this degrade his MVP candidacy? One would think so. But, we are in a world where trading Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik is a good thing, so, who knows?
Of course, saying Joe Morgan is an idiot is just sort of redundant, but, this is always fun.