the dump's sportslog - baseball analysis


Happy 4th!

Matt and I are enjoying some 4th of July activities today, and everyone should be doing so as well.

Here's a picture that represents how I feel in the most ridiculous way possible:



Giambi plays triangle

I was watching Sportscenter last night, and they had a lengthy bit near the end of the show about Jason Giambi playing the triangle. There's a slight chance that they'll have it up to download at a later time, but it was so good that I have to describe it to you all.

The clip includes a bunch of interviews:

Jeremy Giambi: "I think of him as an artist first... fine, a brother first. Then an artist. Then a ballplayer."
Robin Ventura: "I once called it a dinner bell, I could see the hate in his eyes."

Then there was a short piece with Don Zimmer that showed a clip from the 1940s saying that Zim was a superstar triangle player and said that Giambi is a better triangler than he ever was.

The final part of the piece is Kenny Mayne standing next to Jason with some talk like this:

KM: How do you feel about Bernie's album being given out at Yankee games and no recognition for you?
JG: I let my music speak for itself.

After that, Giambi gives him a little demo, playing Pearl Jam's "Alive" and Marvin Gaye song for the ladies.

I'm not sure if they'll show it again, but look out for it, and hopefully it'll be up for download at some point.



Leskanic to Kansas City for Obermueller and Machado

Kansas City Royals get: Curtis Leskanic.
Milwaukee Brewers get: Wes Obermueller, Alejandro Machado.

I guess this signals that the Royals will be buying and not selling as we approach the trade deadline, and for a franchise that's been mired in many consecutive losing seasons, that's a good thing. Curtis Leskanic's an upgrade to what's been a pretty lousy bullpen, and he'll certainly help. As much as some people have fallen in love with Mike "Mac the Ninth" MacDougal and his lofty save total (he's got 21 so far), he walks an awful lot of guys (20 in 37.1 innings while allowing nearly a hit per inning), and for my money, the Royals just acquired their best reliever and he's the guy I'd use in high leverage spots. Fortunately, since he's unlikely to be installed in the closer role, Tony Pena will be free to use Leskanic as needed, not just when the team's up by three or less heading into the ninth inning.

As far as the two new members of the Brewers' system are concerned, there's some upside here as these aren't worthless players. While Wes Obermueller is getting a little long in the tooth for a guy who's pitched just 7.2 innings in the major leagues (he's 26), he's performed adequately for AAA Omaha this season (10-5, 4.40 ERA, 108 hits and 42 walks allowed in 106.1 innings while striking out 62). Okay, that's not wonderful, but he's going to an organization that can use AAAA pitching and is in a position where they can give this kind of guy a chance to see what he can do in an extended tryout at the major league level.

That said, Machado's probably the more interesting of the two. He's a young (21-year old), fast shortstop out of Venezuela with limited power but decent plate discipline. Currently at AA Wichita, he's posted a .287/.368/.377 line thus far in 78 games, including 13 doubles, 5 triples and a homer while stealing 20 bases in 29 attempts. This doesn't appear to be a finished product by any means, but there's some reason to be optimistic, especially when you consider who the man is currently holding down the position on the major league level (Royce "Waa-ce" Clayton).

Leskanic's a good pitcher, but he's also a waste of resources (especially considering his $3.7 million salary, though I'm not sure if there's any money changing hands in this transaction) on a crappy team like the Brewers. A free agent at the end of the year, Machado's probably a better and more advanced prospect than you'd have gotten had the Brewers elected to let him become a free agent and gotten compensatory picks. At the same time, this clearly bolsters the Kansas City bullpen in the short term, and while they may yet regret giving up Machado (Angel Berroa's having an adequate year, but I'm not sold yet), it's defensible if they're committed to making a run at the AL Central title this season.


Carl Everett to the White Sox.
It's hard to judge a trade when all parties involved aren't yet known, but I'll do so under the assumption that whatever the Rangers are getting in return for Carl Everett (at this point, known only as "two minor leaguers and future considerations") are no great shakes. If they are...and whenever it's announced, we'll take a look at that too...there's more to be said about this trade. For the time being however, the White Sox have added a pretty productive offensive player who can play a needed defensive position for nothing off their major league roster. And that's good.

While he struggled some in June (just .211/.273/.389), Everett has put up pretty solid numbers thus far this season (.274/.356/.544 is actually better than just "solid"), and apparently has behaved and endeared himself to Rangers management with his hard work. While Jerry Manuel is no Buck Showalter, you'd have to assume that he'll retain at least some of his focus and continue to be reasonably productive.

Aaron Rowand's been much better lately (.375/.429/.719 in June), and apparently will get to continue playing center, splitting time with Willie Harris, who can no longer get time at second with the arrival of Roberto Alomar. I don't know that this is a great idea, seeing as you could use the more consistent, established guy in center in Everett and not shunt him to DH, where he'll be taking the place of a better hitter than either Roward or Harris has been. If this takes at bats away from Paul Konerko, at least until he shows some signs of life in reduced duty, that's a good thing, as he's been, amazingly, the worst regular in baseball this year.

The White Sox have a chance to make this a really good deal (again, assuming they're not giving up much) if they utilize Everett properly and play him everyday in center. This doesn't look like it's going to happen, but it can't hurt to add a bat of Everett's quality at virtually no cost, particularly if you're in the position the White Sox currently are, making a run at a very attainable division title.



Mets trade Alomar to White Sox for prospects.

The Mets traded 2B Roberto Alomar to the Whitesox for minor leaguers INF Andrew Salvo and Ps Royce Ring and Edwin Almonte.

Wow. I got home today and checked my email and this was the first thing I saw. I haven't looked up the players yet, but my immediate reaction is rebuilding. Since it looks like the Mets are still going to be paying upwards of 90% and maybe all of his salary, it doesn't seem to be that impressive of a dump. With someone else paying the contract, almost every team in the league would take a chance on a perennial all-star like Alomar.

Living in New York, I've heard the media pick apart Alomar's every move. Everything from being on the wrong side of thirty to not being a New York player to not being a national league player was used to justify his lackluster play. Frankly, I have no idea which it could be. I have this sneaky suspicion that Alomar will return to near superstar caliber on the south side of Chicago. New York fans of every sport have seen players like Alomar come and go. The great player who comes in with a lot of fanfare and puts up some stinky seasons and then is traded away and becomes great again. Luc Robataille anyone?

So right off the bat, its great for Alomar and the White Sox. He gets to play with his brother in the AL central and gets to get away from a New York team that wasn't going anywhere. He'll also get to hit somewhere in the midst of Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez who will provide slightly more protection than Cliff Floyd and Jeromy Burnitz. Chicago is two games under .500 but only 3.5 out of a playoff spot, so this could well be the "final piece" that helps them overcome both the Royals and the Twins in the "comedy central." It's funny because all the teams are mediocre, but they're all the same level of mediocre that it creates a good rivalry.

Back when Colon was traded to the White Sox, there were some baseball people who suggested some sort of back room dealing with Seligula in order to help a team compete and beat the Twins so that they would be easy fodder for contraction. I can't find the posts now, but if someone wants to point me to them, I'll be happy to link. With the amount of money involved in this trade, I'm pretty sure it has to go to Selig's office, and while a fantasy commissioner wouldn't allow a trade like this, Selig will let it pass. It's probably nothing, although it might be interesting to some people.

Lastly, there's the Mets. I say lastly because they are in last place. Which is ironic, because there's nowhere further to drop, though if there was, they'd find it. That's what happens to a team when your best options at second base are Joe McEwing and Jay Bell. That's just disgusting. A major league team should be ashamed of themselves for having that happen. There's also Marco Scutaro and perhaps Rey Sanchez will get some time there now that Jose Reyes has found himself firmly planted at short. It is going to make life tough for Reyes, as he'll have to deal with a defensively inferior second baseman. That'll create confusion on double plays and steal attempts and all sorts of things that a rookie shortstop shouldn't have to worry about. Poor kid. Poor Mets.

Then there are these three prospects. As soon as I saw the deal, I raced to find my 2003 Baseball Prospectus to look them up, which I assume many people will also do. Well, don't waste the time - they aren't there. The infielder, Andrew Salvo is an A baller who is 23. The White Sox have a higher level second baseman, Aaron Miles, who is 26 and putting up a decent season in AAA, with 9 homers and a .323 clip. I suppose the Mets had a good reason for not asking for him.

Anyway, I decided to start back checking my emails from Baseball America's "Prospect Report" - its a terrific service that I'm not going to schill for, as most of you probably already get it. In the June 15th edition, we finally reach one of the prospects, Mr. Ring, who pitched a third of an inning and gave up 4 runs on 6 hits. Apparently he had given up only two in the prior 30.1 innings, and that outburst raised his ERA to 1.76. The article says that his ERA is up to 2.52 now, but if he ever puts up a string like that again, he'll become a darling. No, not Ron Darling. However, he is 22 and is being groomed as a closer, which is very awkward at an AA level. He was the White Sox' first pick in 2002, so it seems like he was a college player somewhere, which is more positive. He's the youngest of the prospects and probably has the highest upside.

Ring also shows up in the June 8th edition with two scoreless innings and two strikeouts, his ERA then is 0.64 - before that, he's there on May 26th, posting his 12th save with a scoreless inning with an ERA of 0.41 - with one earned run and 30 Ks in his last 22 innings. Still no mention of Almonte or Salvo. Same for May 24th, where he picked up his 11th save. Still no mention of Almonte or Salvo, and now I'm tired of looking.

So it is quite dark now for the Mets and their fans. The only question is whether it is going to get any darker before it starts to dawn, or if its as dark as it gets. Unfortunately, I have no answers, just idle stipulation like usual.



Who is the better Hidalgo?

a)Richard Hidalgo

2003 64 227 41 72 20 0 11 36 29 39 4 4 .317 .401 .551 .951

b)The Movie, "Hidalgo"

Synopsis: Based on the autobiography of Frank T. Hopkins, “Hidalgo” is an epic action-adventure and one man’s journey of personal redemption. Held yearly for centuries, the Ocean of Fire — a 3,000 mile survival race across the Arabian Desert — was a challenge restricted to the finest Arabian horses ever bred, the purest and noblest lines, owned by the greatest royal families. In 1890, a wealthy Sheik invited an American and his horse to enter the race for the first time. Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) was a cowboy and dispatch rider for the US cavalry who had once been billed as the greatest rider the West had ever known. The Sheik (Omar Sharif) would put this claim to the test, pitting the American cowboy and his mustang, Hidalgo, against the world’s greatest Arabian horses and Bedouin riders—some of whom were determined to prevent the foreigner from finishing the race. For Frank, the Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride and honor, but a race for his very survival as he and his horse, Hidalgo, attempt the impossible.