The Baseball Revue
I don't know how or why I missed these two rather major injuries, but I did. Anyhoo...
Signed RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki to a two-year contract extension.
Nelson is one of the best setup men in the game, if not the best. The surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow will leave Nelson out 4-6 weeks, but the rest of the AL West is scuffling along and shouldn't gain a ton of ground on the Mariners if they can even adequately ride out his absence, which they should be able to.
Sasaki, who has rejoined the team after a personal trip to Japan, has a third-year option on his deal. The 34-year old closer would have been a free agent after this season, and he has become one of the best in the big leagues after being the best in Japan for a decade. The Mariners have locked him up at least for the remainder of his prime in the closer's role.
Optioned RHP Joaquin Benoit to Triple-A Oklahoma. Recalled 1B/OF Jason Romano from Triple-A Oklahoma.
I am sorry to hear of Carl Everett's latest injury. I know all you gave up to get him was Darren Oliver (who has pitched somewhat well in Boston, I might add), but he is not only an injury-plagued lunatic, but now a fat injury-plagued lunatic. You may want to consider trading him while even the stupidest of teams still think he's worth the hassle.
P.S. He's really not that good, anyway.
Placed RHP Shawn Chacon on the 15-day DL.
Chacon's got a strained pectoral muscle that he suffered while pitching against the Expos last Wednesday, and Dennis Stark is expected to be called up on Monday to take his spot. Stark was acquired from Seattle in the Jose Paniagua deal, and has been good (1-2, 3.82) at Colorado Springs so far.
Activated OF Chad Hermansen from the 15-day DL. Optioned IF Abraham Nunez to Triple-A Nashville.
And yet, Mike Benjamin continues to be a Pittsburgh Pirate. A bigger piece of Pirates news is that Kris Benson has been cleared to return and will start Monday against the Diamondbacks. He's not quite 100% and won't be for some time, but it's still good news. Ron Villone will be demoted to the bullpen, and Benson will take his spot in the rotation.
THANK GOD. Don Baylor's not a big fan of Zambrano anyway, and frankly, neither am I. Hill better start off hot, or he'll find himself back in Iowa to make room for Chris Stynes or Mark Bellhorn or Homer Bush or whoever Baylor thinks could be more helpful to a team that isn't playing worth a crap. Mark Prior better get his bags packed, too.
How many times is Pichardo going to retire? Maybe the question should be, "How many times is Jimy Williams going to convince Hipolito Pichardo that he should be a pitcher in the major leagues?" The answer is uncertain, but if he's finally gone, then praise the lord for that one.
Daryle Ward better watch out for Jason Lane, because Ward has been a big fat disappointment this season. I know he's hitting .316, but the .341 OBP says little for his patience, and he's hit an entire two home runs with 12 RBI. He's been like this somewhat-horrifying mix of Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Grace; getting hits (many doubles), ignoring walks, and running really, really slow. His glove being what those in the know call "shitty" isn't helping him out any, and if his production doesn't increase, Lane could be put into the starting role. He had 132 at-bats at New Orleans, sporting a .321 average and 19-to-7 BB-to-K ratio.
Rigdon's a bleah swingman and the other two are Brewers in Triple-A.
Koskie is a big part of Minnesota's lineup and a great third baseman, so this will be an issue unless Jay Canizaro or Denny Hocking start hitting really well. Blake has shown good power at Edmonton (6 HR in 121 at-bats, .306 average) and might actually get to play third base for the Twins instead of just playing cards with Tom Prince and getting his shoes set on fire.
Signed LHP Barry Zito to a four-year contract extension worth $9.3 million.
Even with the incentives and the $8.25 million option for the 2006 season, this is a steal. Zito is one of the best pitchers in baseball, period, and he's still all of 24 years old when his birthday arrives next week. He'll make $500,000 this year (with a $400k signing bonus), $900,000 in 2003, $2.7 million in 2004 and $4.8 million in 2005, with the aforementioned club option for 2006. There are also $2.15 million in escalator clauses, meaning he could end up with $18.45 million out of this contract.
$18.45 million for five years of Barry Zito's future. Barring any unforeseen crappiness, that's a bargain of major proportions in today's game.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Placed RHP Kevin Jarvis on the 15-day DL. Called up RHP Dennis Tankersley from Double-A Mobile.
Jarvis heads back to the DL after only one start off of it, in which he threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. He's become a pretty decent starter, but let's not lie: getting a look at Tankersley in the bigs is the thing on just about everyone's mind. Tankersley, of course, is a major piece of one of Dan Duquette's biggest goof-ups, as he was traded to the Padres from Boston for an Ed Sprague well past the days when Ed Sprague was a productive player. Tankersley will start tonight against the Braves, and he'll face Greg Maddux. Tough luck.
Joaquin Phoenix Chris Benoit was pretty good in his first start of the season, going six innings and giving up just one run in a win over the White Sox, and he's probably just as good right now as Dave Burba or whatever other generic old sort of-has-been the Rangers will dig up this week. I got to see his one start last year against the Tigers, and he was roughed up pretty badly (6 ER in 5 IP), but he's got a cool name, so I like him.
Sent OFs Peter Bergeron and Henry Rodriguez to Triple-A Ottawa. Recalled OFs Endy Chavez and Troy O'Leary from Ottawa.
For all the talk about how Bergeron's patience has improved, it seems as though everyone kind of didn't notice that that was the only thing that improved. He still can't hit for beans, and his inability to actually get hits put his OBP at .310, which is still subpar. Chavez has been hot at Ottawa, and if Bergeron isn't ever going to improve, which keeps looking more and more like the realistic bet, they may as well let him get some time, as he's been hitting .335-.414-.470 for the Lynx.
This double-whammy promotion/demotion also ends the comedy stylings of Henry Rodriguez and brings the feature attraction to the stage, funnyman Troy O'Leary.
NEW YORK METS
Announced that LHP John Franco will miss the rest of the season.
Franco faces reconstructive surgery or retirement, and I'd say it's a pretty easy bet as to which will happen. Steve Phillips says not to bet against John Franco, but the realistic side of this is that Franco is 41 years old and a passable lefty setup man. He's not a make-or-break player for any team, and while it would be quite a story for him to come back after a huge surgery, it won't happen. Franco is lost for all of this year and part of next, so when could he be 100% again? At 43? No one is 100% at 43, so it's probably time for Franco to just hang 'em up and become a coach with the Mets.
Okay, so we got sidetracked a few days. No worries, just a big update today.
Placed LHP Donovan Osborne on the 15-day DL. Recalled LHP Scott Chiasson from Triple-A Iowa. (05.08)
Not that Babe Bellhorn and Chris Stynes didn't do an adequate enough job of filling in, but Mueller gives the Cubs a few more lineup options. Hitting him second gives the Cubbies the option of getting Corey Patterson into the leadoff spot, but until they get Bobby Hill up to replace Delino DeShields, they're going to struggle. It doesn't help that Moises Alou and Fred McGriff haven't hit a lick and that Sammy's 14 homers have come with an entire 22 RBI, but the Cubs may as well go to what for them is "the extreme": actually playing young players.
Replacing the terrible Donovan Osborne with the perfectly okay Scott Chiasson is what you call a blessing, the same with Hundley going on the DL, even though the replacement options are Joe Girardi and Robert Machado.
Petrick's inability to hit like he's been expected to, along with his defensive deficiencies, not only cost him his job to Gary Bennett, but now has him back in Colorado Springs. Bobby Estalella isn't a bad catcher, and is in fact probably better than most of the catchers that already have been on major league rosters (I'm looking directly at you, Todd Hundley). The fact that he has some decent pop in his bat will just be icing on the cake as a pinch-hitter and backup catcher.
Speier had quite a season in 2001, going from Cleveland to the Mets in a trade, then getting waived by the Mets and claimed by Colorado, where he was a pretty good long-relief man for the last few months of the season. He's better than Mike James, I'd venture to say.
Recalled RHP Blaine Neal from Triple-A Calgary. (05.06)
One is right-handed, the other's in Calgary.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Losing Brent Mayne wouldn't be a big deal for most teams, but this actually matters to the Royals. The fact that Berger should probably be starting for the Royals anyway just makes this all the more disgusting. I hate talking about the Royals.
Figueroa is valuable in the way that Ron Villone is valuable. The Brewers suck, so having a decent swingman is really not something they should be terribly concerned with anyway.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Goodwin is what those in the know refer to as a "shitty player." Of course, Dunston is hardly better, he can just hit the ball a little farther. This is interesting only because of the terrifying idea that the Giants might use Goodwin as a leadoff hitter instead of staying with the brave and bold idea of using David Bell in that role.
Placed RHP Paul Abbott on the 15-day DL. Recalled RHP Justin Kaye from Triple-A Tacoma. (05.08)
Pitching musical chairs with a bunch of average pitchers is always a hoot, isn't it?
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Sandberg wasn't exactly lighting up Triple-A pitching (.261-4-21), but Bobby Smith sucks. I guess this means Aubrey Huff will finally get that well-deserved Triple-A playing time. I hate talking about the Devil Rays.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Vernon Wells will take over in left field for Stewart. Eric Hinske could move to DH if the Jays are that uncomfortable with his sloppy fielding, but he's eventually going to have to learn to play on turf, so I'd leave him alone, especially with how bad this team is.
Huckaby is a 32-year old career minor leaguer that is simply serving to take up time with Tom Wilson before Fletcher gets back, and, ultimately, Josh Phelps takes over as Toronto's No. 1 catcher. Seeing Lesher back in the bigs is nice. I've always liked him for some reason.
And, to end this entry, Homer Bush blows, but there are certainly teams that would take him for either the right reasons (Tigers) or the wrong ones (Cubs).
Well that was a productive stint for Manzanillo. He pitched an inning, struck someone out, hit someone, and that was that. Back to the DL with bone chips. Getting Reese back is...I don't konw. If you want to look at it defensively, it's a plus, because Reese is a better fielder than Abraham Nunez. Not a remarkably better one, but let's be nice to Pokey for once. And he was hitting well, too. Plus, the Pirates were playing better with him in the game. That means, like, nothing really, but it can be one of those things.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Walker's 33 years old and has pitched only 19 games in his career (13 of them in '95, his first season), but it's probably better for him to take the bombs in the majors than Cassidy. Walker's a minor league journeyman with a history of control problems, but, as I've said before, the Blue Jays suck, so it's worth a shot. Cassidy probably won't be at Syracuse long, but there's no point in having him up to get slaughtered with the rest of the team. He's not exactly young (26) but this was his first shot at the majors.