The Baseball Revue
Mathews is out with a strained right bicep, but won't be missed much because at his best, he's just a generic reliever, the same as Cruz, who will take his spot. Optioning Brad Lidge back to New Orleans so Jimy Williams can continue to be in love with Hipolito Pichardo makes some sense, since Lidge has been shelled in his two outings and doesn't really need to have that on his mind. Getting more work in Triple-A will serve him well, since he's a part of Houston's future rotation. Pichardo can get killed and no one will care.
Mercado will head to the bullpen, while the rotation will fill out with Dave Coggin in Person's absence. Coggin, at least, is not a horrible option, and is unlikely to be remarkably worse than Person, who has regressed into being the same mediocre pitcher he was for years prior to last season, when he was pretty good. I'm not saying I'd rather have Coggin than Person, but there really isn't going to be a very noticeable difference for anyone that doesn't have Person on their fantasy team.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Hey, why not? Pete Walker may not ever be anything special, but the Blue Jays really, really suck.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Ooh, a double switcheroo. The real story is that these two gave up six homers to Mike Cameron and Bret Boone, so that did it for them for the time being. Parque's velocity is still way low (84-85 on his fastball), and even though he insists he's fine, his first three appearances for the ChiSox kind of showed he's not fine at all. Sending him back to Charlotte is just a move to see if he can regain his arm strength, which he should in time, and also a way to see if he can mention IHOP and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for another funny quote. Rauch is an interesting case, because he's always going to get looks for being 6'11", but right now he's just not ready. You can't blame the White Sox for giving him a go, though, because if he were to hit a little hot streak he'd have been beneficial. He just didn't.
Getting Ginter and Biddle back up is pretty much an equal-level exchange, because neither are going to light the world on fire. Biddle had his moments last season and has a cool name, and always reminds me of Rocky Coppinger, so I'm all for him. He was pretty good in his two rehab starts at Charlotte, but Ginter has been nothing to write home about there (5.40 ERA in 10 relief appearances).
The Tigers are swearing up and down that this really is just a shoulder strain, and that his trip to see Dr. James Andrews was really just a safety measure. I'm willing to believe them, but any time someone goes to see Andrews, they come back a whole lot worse than they were before.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The only people in the world that care about Hernandez being back are the Royals and the guys who have him on their fantasy team. I belong to neither group.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
And the pitching nightmares for Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals just continue. Kline isn't great, and will probably never again be as good as he was last season, but he's a good short-innings lefty. Rodriguez will take his spot in that role. Ankiel is still suffering from elbow tendinitis. I think everyone should just ignore Ankiel for another two seasons at this point.
Earlier this season, there was concern that Cabrera might never play again, recovering from gunshot wounds to, well, his ass, so it's nice to see him make it back. He's a pretty valuable player because he actually CAN play lots of positions defensively. He plays a good outfield and second base, can hold down third, and is passable at shortstop. Add on that he's not a disaster at the plate like Augie Ojeda and that he has some speed, and you've got a great bench player.
Bradley is the usual generic starter on mediocre teams, the one that's not helping or hurting anything, but wouldn't make the cut with anyone good. The more we get into this season, the more it looks like the Indians belong in neither boat in the AL Central; they aren't good enough to hang with the White Sox or Twins (who aren't good enough to hang with any of the good teams in the other divisions), and they aren't so bad that they should be mentioned alongside the Tigers and Royals. If they fall out of the race, Jim Thome will be gone, and you'll probably be left with a whole team full of Milton Bradleys, except for Matt Lawton, Einar Diaz and Omar Vizquel, who are perfectly fine starters for any just about anyone. The nicest thing you can say about Bradley is that he's learning to get on base more, but he still can't hit and he still doesn't create any havoc on the bases to make up for his lack of pop, so whatever to Milton Bradley.
Rodney is a non-prospect, but he's pitched well enough at Erie to come up while the Tigers plan to throw Matt Anderson on the DL, along with sending him to Dr. James Andrews, who will likely uncover a horrible injury in Anderson's throwing arm that will cause him to sit out until at least, say, early-August. He'd given up just two hits in his first seven innings at Erie, with four saves and no earned runs. He won't take over closing duties, because Luis Pujols apparently likes Juan Acevedo to handle that role while Anderson is gone, but the Tigers are also missing their top setup man. Things just aren't going well at all, and they don't appear to be getting much better.
Placed RHP Josh Beckett on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 29 with a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Recalled LHP Oswaldo Mairena from Triple-A Calgary.
Beckett has pitched pretty well at times, but he's still young and the blister has bothered him. The DL stint shouldn't matter much unless it's shown that it is not merely a blister, but rather some form of impregnation in his finger from an alien seed. With Beckett out, the Marlins' rotation continues to include Kevin Olsen, a decent enough bottom-of-the-rotation kind of guy with good control, so they aren't going to go in the crapper much more than they already are. Mairena is a non-prospect, small lefty that last pitched in the majors in 2000 with the Cubs, where he got shelled pretty hard in two innings of work. You'd think that he'd do better now, but don't expect a buzz about him or anything.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Something makes me like Bryan Rekar, as bad as he is. He's never had anything resembling a good season, though he was decent in 2000 for the D-Rays (7-10, 4.41). The biggest problem with him is that he gives up way too many hits, and pitching for a team that doesn't score runs, that will kill you dead in the water. He's been lucky enough to play for three retarded organizations in his career (Colorado, Tampa, Kansas City), and he will be back again this year. Brito will join Brent Mayne and A.J. Hinch to form the most exciting catching trio this side of Todd Hundley, Joe Girardi and Robert Machado. Honestly, is carrying three catchers, one as useless as Hinch, that important? New manager, same Royals.
Purchased the contract of RHP Josias Manzanillo from Triple-A Nashville and designated IF Mendy Lopez for assignment.
Manzanillo was one of Pittsburgh's better relievers last season, and adding him to a workhorse bullpen should only improve things. His numbers last year (3.39 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 1 K/IP) were very good, and he was pretty much the same in 2000. But you do have to worry at least a bit if you're a Pirates fan, because he's still a 34-year old journeyman with a spotty success rate over his career, going from Boston to Milwaukee to the Mets to the Yankees to Seattle to the Mets again and then, finally, the Pirates.
Lopez is a generic utility infielder that sports a decent glove, a wiffleball bat and hardly any speed to speak of, and if there's one thing the Pirates don't need more of, it's utility infielders.
Announced that 1B/OF B.J. Surhoff will miss the remainder of the season.
Surhoff's injury was thought to be only a sprained knee at first, but an MRI revealed a torn ligament, which will require season-ending surgery. Surhoff, at 38 in August, was pretty close to finished, anyway, but this could push him into retirement. The only thing he has left to play for is a World Series ring, which he isn't going to get at his age with the team he's on now.
Surhoff is a bit of a personal favorite of mine, if only because he gave the Orioles three pretty good seasons and one darn good one, and really, you have to like a guy that has stuck around for 16 big league seasons after being a defensively-inadequate, light-hitting catcher.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Pettitte hasn't pitched since April 15 and keeps having the same issues with tightness and all kinds of other semi-technical terms that, in essence, mean "he's kinda messed up but it's not so bad, probably." His spot in the rotation will fall to lefty Ted Lilly, who pitched brilliantly in his last start and has the stuff to be at least a decent fill-in for the short-term. Now, if Pettitte's injury were to be more serious than it seems it is, the Yankees would probably just trade Lilly and one of their many well-hyped farmhands to the Rockies for Mike Hampton, which seems ludicrous until you remember how jumpy the Yankees can be about these things (Denny Neagle and Sterling Hitchcock, whoa ho ho).
And, since we're just starting this, let's go a few days back and take a gander at those moves.
Well the Royals were only about four years too late on this one. Muser is such a terrible evaluator of talent and downright stupid manager that it truly boggles the mind as to why he was even in Kansas City this long. It probably speaks volumes about how the Royals are run, as if you couldn't guess only by their wonderful personnel decisions. Any team that signs BOTH Chuck Knoblauch and Michael Tucker deserves to lose, anyway.
Mizerock is a former catcher that played 103 games over parts of four seasons (1983, 1985-86, 1989). From best I can tell, he wasn't afraid to take a walk, which already could lead to optimism that maybe he'll help out guys like Mark Quinn so they don't become guys like Bob Hamelin.
Another move that should have happened way before now. Was there ever a reason for anyone to sign Wil Cordero once it was well-established that he could no longer play shortstop? He's a somewhat useful hitter, but he sucks defensively and doesn't hit well enough to like, play often, especially since the only places he can fill in these days are at first base and DH, though the Indians did pretend he was a corner outfielder at times. The scary thing is that when you take his ability (mediocre and declining), his age (31 in October), the fact that he was almost highly-regarded once, and the position he plays (nothing in particular), Cordero is probably a prime candidate to land with the Orioles.