Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A sign the apocolypse is upon us...

Today comes word of something I thought I would never hear anyone say: Cristian Guzman and Nook Logan "are being hailed not so much as saviors, but perhaps, if the Washington Nationals are lucky, as stabilizers."

Guzman may be the worst regular starting shortstop who received a major contract I have ever seen. In fact, he may be the worst starting shortstop I've ever seen, period. Does anyone remember 2005, Guzman's last season? Here are his 2005 numbers: .219/.260/.314. Guzman's OPS (.574) was less than 50 points higher than Barry Bonds' ON BASE PERCENTAGE this year (.528).

Logan's career OBP is only .319, which is awul for an alleged lead-off hitter.

This is the cavalry? For what, F-Troop?

The idiocy of Guzman and Logan coming to the rescue and yet another Nationals' loss obscured a pretty good pitching performance from Matt Chico. Chico gave up three runs, eight hits, and one walk in seven innings. He struck out five. Chico's fellow pitchers apparently told him that he was giving hitters too much credit and needed to go after them. That was good advice. We've said previously that Chico has to cut down on his walks if he wants to be successful, and that's just what he did.

Chico is someone the Nats should really try to develop. He has a pretty good fastball and a decent curve. He's only 24, so he should be capable of improving dramatically. He's not much yet, but he's the kind of player with just the right amount of talent that the Nats should be spending this lost year developing. I hope that Randy St. Clair knows what he's doing.

Speaking of developing pitchers, Jason Simontacchi will start for the Nats today. He hasn't started a major league game since 2003. Simontacchi has been injured ever since, but he wasn't very good before the injury, so don't expect much.

The Roger Clemens deal is apparently ruffling some MLB feathers. David Wells, Clemens' former teammate, says that Clemens is disrespecting the Yankee players by not traveling with them. Clemens' contract essentially provides that he can show up for work only on the days when he is designated to start. He had this same deal in Houston, and it didn't seem to create much of a stir there. But Clemens is in New York now, and everything he does will be amplified by an order of magnitude over what he did in Houston.

By the way, that same ESPN story makes the point that you could field a pretty good team of nine players with the $28 million the Yankees are spending on Clemens. This reminds me of a point my dad used to make: it isn't hard to live on a budget when you've got a lot of money; the real skill is living on a budget when you don't have a lot of money. The Yankees can afford to make a lot of dumb mistakes because they have gobs of cash. And the Yankees have made A LOT of mistakes--Randy Johnson, Jared Wright, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, etc., etc., etc.

It may be hard working with George Steinbrenner, but it's a lot easier for Brian Cashman to look smart than it is for GM's Billy Beane and Kevin Towers who are on very tight budgets and can't afford the big blunders that are routine in the House that Ruth Built. So, Yankee fans, please spare me the sonnets to Cashman's baseball genius.


Anonymous said...

When we take swipes at the Yankees and their management, let's try to keep it focused on what might help the Nationals. Would Yankee-like money help them? Would an unforgiving (but always attendance record setting) fan base that accepts nothing less than World Championships help them? Would a little Brian Cashman luck help them (recall his mid season acquistion of Aaron Boone that zenithed in one of the most memorable home runs in MLB history and Yankee lore)? Would owners and management who take big risks in pursuit of big ambition help them? The answer is all of the above. And, the same is true for any other club in baseball. What's my point? Maybe what is wrong with baseball (for those of you who insist that something actually is wrong with what is the most entertaining sport in America) is that not enough teams are like the Yankees.

Chris Carpenter's Elbow said...

Jason Simontacchi? You need to change this blog to The Nationals' Disinterest.

Leiv & Erik said...

I want to make something clear: I don't blame or begrudge the Yankees for their success. However, I think we overstate the extent to which the qualities Anonymous cites led to that success.

The fact is that the Yankees are the biggest team in the biggest media market in the country. Their cable deal alone gives the team a cash advantage over every other team in baseball, and the cash flow from the luxury boxes in the new stadium will only increase their advantage.

Should the Yankees be blamed for their financial success? No, but let's not pretend that it was brains and skill that produced the advantage they enjoy over virtually every other team in the game.

Leiv & Erik said...


How could you do this to my fantasy team?! I was counting on you!!

Anonymous said...

(different 'anonymous' than today's previous post)

This goes back to a brief comment I made a couple of days ago, but should have articulated at the time. Clemens' deal is outrageous. Not only financially, but last time I checked, baseball was a team sport. So, now he doesn't have to travel unless he's playing? What the heck does that say to the rest of the team? The least he could do is warm the benches for the rest of them.

If he is genuine, truly there because he loves baseball (and not just for the paycheck), he will travel with the team, no matter the deal. There are players out there who don't even get to play the position they grew up loving and knowing. They are not playing what I consider their "genuine" position - one that's innate to them. That's not the case for pitchers and catchers.

Come on, Clemens, while you may be a 'great' pitcher, I wouldn't consider you genuine unless you were there for your team continuously. If you only participate when you want to, it will give everyone more reasons to dislike the Yankees, and well, we have enought of THOSE already!

Leiv & Erik said...

This is a very interesting issue. Having thought about it a lot, I agree that a player on a baseball team should be a member of the team in a meaningful sense.

Mike Golic said this morning that the only players whose reaction is important are those who consider themselves Clemens' peers--i.e., A-Rod, Jeter, Rivera, etc. No one cares what Robinson Cano thinks, and Cano realizes that his opinion doesn't matter so he won't make much noise about Clemens' cushy arrangement. The stars, though, are another matter. They apparently signed off on the deal, but it will be interesting to see whether they grumble about it as the season progresses.

By the way, stay tuned over the next few days for a post comparing Clemens to the game's greatest pitchers.