The Baseball Revue
Wall's getting close to the end of a long, medicore baseball career. Someone probably said that about Jesse Orosco ten years ago, too.
Ah, Yankee jitters. Prinz got bombed in New York, and was subsequently the droppable slug to get Cintron up for the banged-up Junior Spivey. Cintron played very well against the Yankees, but will likely just be back in Tucson once Spivey is 100% again. The fact that Prinz is in Tucson while Mike Morgan continues to exist on the major league club AND get high-leverage innings shows either a complete disregard for the importance of a quality bullpen, or extreme confidence from Bob Brenly.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Ginter has pitched very well out of the bullpen in his nine appearances, posting a 2.45 ERA. The only reason he was sent down is because the Sox wanted another bat handy for the NL vacation, and Willie Harris is a good one to have around, as he can hit a little, play the outfield and, probably most importantly for now, pinch run very well.
Alomar's empty .284 (.298 OBP) and slapdash power display this year should be nothing that should make the White Sox want to keep him around, especially when Mark Johnson is an able starter and Josh Paul is a perfectly good backup. And I refuse to call anyone that's 35 years old and has the knees of a 50-year old "Jr.".
If Riggan pitches to his ability, he'll be a perfectly adequate replacement for Shuey, though not good enough to make anyone forget him. Shuey is one of the game's most underrated setup men, especially now that he's stopped giving up so many hits.
Higgy's hammy (that's fun) is really of no worry, since you'd assume he'll bounce back just fine and he's of no real use to the Tigers. Higginson is the kind of player you always find on contending teams. He's a lot like Kirk Gibson back when the Tigers were decent, and maybe if he gets traded to the Cardinals or something he can hit a game-winning homer in the postseason. He's already got the leg problem building up.
This is just not the Astros' year. Their offense isn't scoring runs thanks to Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell declining and guys like Daryle Ward just not doing anything that would help the team, and their pitching has gone through a ton of injuries. Even with the young depth they have, it's hard to win when you RELY on Tim Redding or Carlos Hernandez. Having them around is great because someday they could be the starters you lean on, but not now. They needed consistent performance from Shane Reynolds and Dave Mlicki this year, and while both of them have been perfectly Shane Reynolds and Dave Mlicki (though maybe reversed in what you'd expect from them), they're now both on the DL, leaving Houston with a rotation of Roy Oswalt, Wade Miller, Hernandez, Redding and, soon, current Round Rock ace Kirk Saarloos, a 23-year old third-round draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton last season. It's a tough road ahoe, and talent-wise you could see the Astros pulling back and getting into the race for good. But reality is that they're just not performing and while their pitching is young, two of their biggest offensive keys are aging and showing it.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Shouse's 6+ ERA and 1.6+ WHIP was finally too much to bear. He was a situational lefty that situationally sucked, giving up 15 hits in 14.2 IP with nine walks. That's just bad. Mullen is unlikely to be good, but the hope is probably that he will be acceptably mediocre.
Wells has been absolutely brutal this season (7.36, 1.97), and this is, in truth, a blessing for the Twins because they have blind loyalty to relievers far too often, as evidenced with Wells here and LaTroy Hawkins in the second half last season.
NEW YORK METS
The Mets going through hitting coaches like Cal Ripken went through batting stances, so if Chambliss was looking for an easy-in to a managing job, I don't know if this was it. Of course, a new perspective can't hurt, and Chambliss is a well-respected guy that will hopefully inject some life into Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz and Roger Cedeno.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Field will never see the light of Yankee Stadium unless it's in a grey uniform.
BOSTON RED SOX
Placed IF Rey Sanchez on the 15-day DL; recalled 1B Juan Diaz from Triple-A Pawtucket. (06.10)
Sanchez is more valuable than any stat indicates to the Red Sox. His fielding is superb at both middle infield positions, and if anything were to happen to Nomar Garciaparra again, he could at least be a suitable glove option at shortstop instead of the team being again forced to mess with the likes of Mike Lansing and John Valentin, as they were in 2001. Ben Affleck's good friend Lou Merloni should see the bulk of the playing time at second. Diaz is up for reasons I can't quite comprehend, but maybe it's to pinch-hit for Trot Nixon against lefties. I don't know.
Much like carrying Robert Machado was unnecessary and counter-productive to the cause, getting Ojeda back to take his spot on the roster is much the same. It's slightly better, but is it noticeably, even one win better? No.
Riedling missed most of 2001 after shoulder surgery, but was effective in the short amount of time he was healthy, as he has been for a few years between Triple-A and the Reds. He's got pretty good stuff and could end up in the rotation for good if he pitches well.
Monroe, a savvy pickup from the Rangers, is a lefty-killer that could be beneficial in a spot role. Patterson's second trip to the DL this season would indicate that something is probably more wrong with him than the Tigers know/admit.
NEW YORK YANKEES
With Rivera out, Joe Torre will flip between his options for the ninth inning, rotating guys like Steve Karsay, Ramiro Mendoza and Mike Stanton based on matchups. All three are perfectly acceptable as fillers-in for Mariano, and it's another reason to get mad at the Yankees. Even the best closer in baseball going down shouldn't hurt them much. Thames takes Juan Rivera's place on the roster, and hit his first career homer off of Randy Johnson in the third inning on Monday night. I could think of about seventy million worse starts to a major league career. Of course, the problem is it's all downhill from there for a while.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Yeah, okay, this is about as bad as it gets in terms of injury replacment.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Tank will be back soon enough, but Fikac will have to do something special to regain his position as a fan favorite in San Diego. The fact that those guys got sent to Mobile shows where the talent is in the minors. Hint: it's not Triple-A.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Ooh, the Padre fans will be fuming about this one for years to come.
Calvin Murray sure went to the wayside quickly for a team whose center field options have, by in large, played no better than you'd expect Calvin Murray to play if he was out there every day. Gabe Kapler is homerless and quickly adopting the nickname "Gabe Krapler", and Carl Everett is a complete mess. Powell's return adds to John Rocker's as the Rangers try to settle on a bullpen. I would predict that they will not settle on a bullpen, much as they have yet to settle on a rotation, and will spend the rest of 2002 spinning their wheels in the worst of directions, kicking up mud like Hideki Irabu and Rudy Seanez all season long while shooting harmless pebbles like Myette and Joaquin Benoit and Rob Bell back to Oklahoma over and over and over again. If John Hart doesn't resign after this season, it won't be too far into 2003 that he does.
Acquired OF Jackson Melian from the Milwaukee Brewers for C Robert Machado. (06.09)
You know what's funny is that the Cubs owe Todd Hundley over $18 million for the next two-and-a-half years of his career. No, wait. I didn't mean funny. I meant "really horrible."
In Melian, the Cubs acquire a 22-year old, switch-hitting prospect that was once a YankeeFutureSuperStar, following in the footsteps of Ricky Ledee and Ruben Rivera. The fact that he's hit worse than either of those two ever dreamed, doesn't run well, sucks in the outfield, and has already gone through two organizations since the Yankees cut him loose kind of says it all. But still, he's young and has way more possible dreamworld upside than Machado, and with the Cubs playing the way they have this season, there's no reason to carry a third-string defensive substitute at catcher behind Hundley and Joe Girardi.
With Charles Johnson hitting the way he's been hitting, the Marlins should really consider giving Castro some playing time. At the least, they could do him the favor of trading him so he can get something out of this year. He's been ready to start in the majors for two years, he hits for power and average, and he plays solid defense. This is not to say Johnson is certainly too old or washed-up or anything like that, but Castro is right now at least worth the shot. If he flops, then you have the luxury of going back to Johnson. But carrying three catchers and splitting two of them in an offense/defense backup platoon is just silly, especially when your #1 man is supposed to be doing both already. If Johnson was so good, the Marlins wouldn't need Mike Redmond (he's a good backup, yes) to begin with. Castro should be given a shot at playing time with Florida or sent somewhere where he can do some good, like, I don't know, every team excluding the Mets, Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees that don't have an irreplaceable starter or too many unknowns already.
Hey look, Henry Blanco's back. And it's nice to see that Chad Fox is as durable as ever. A good season for the Brewers so far, yes sir.
For the love of all that is holy, LET LECROY PLAY. The problem the Twins have, which I've discussed before, is that there are too many people hitting that all deserve playing time (Bobby Kielty and Dustan Mohr, and to a lesser extent Brian Buchanan, in particular), and adding LeCroy to the mix kind of complicates things, but it can do that in a good way if they'd just forget about David Ortiz and go to the man with the plan, being LeCroy.
NEW YORK YANKEES
"Argh my Ricky Ledee bone!"
Recalled LHP John Rocker from Oklahoma City; optioned RHP Rob Bell to Oklahoma City. (06.09)
Damn it, I'm sick of Joaquin Phoenix Chris Benoit being jerked around like this. While I am not quite blind enough in my favoritism toward Benoit to believe that he's a better pitcher or prospect than Myette, I wish the Rangers would get a grip on what they want to do, for the sake of the sanity of every baseball fan that follows the moves teams make. There is pretty much no excuse for Dave Burba to still be in the rotation, and at this point, it's pretty clear that the organization sees Benoit as only a #5 starter, and he'll probably end up in the bullpen next year. Myette should be given a chance to stick, but then again, maybe he won't be. Maybe he'll make his one start and then go back to the RedHawks so that Doug Davis can come up and make a start.
Rocker will return to the closer's role after Hideki Irabu predictable collapsed of late. Irabu lasted much better than anyone could have predicted. When he took over, it was one of those "Oh my dear god no" things, but he gave the Rangers 12 saves before falling to pieces and claiming he wasn't adjusting to the role, weeks after saying he was adjusting to the role just fine. For those of you (like me) that happened to ride Irabu's short wave of success in a fantasy league, congratulations. Now dump him, because at the end of the tunnel, Irabu was once again just a grumpy fat guy with a horrible work ethic.