Monday, March 14, 2005


The Good, the Bad, and the Somewhat Disconcerting

First, the Bad

Kerry Wood now might not even make his Opening day start, opening the possibility that Dempster will have to take his place which, of course, opens the possibility for third place (don't say open). Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Why do I get the feeling that Wood wakes up every morning in Spring Training to Sonny and Cher's You Got Me, Babe? (Too obscure a reference? click here). This is a pretty big concern as, despite some peoples protestations (Scott), Wood is a hell of a pitcher when he's healthy and Dempster is not. I would, of course, root for Dempster, but he has only had one good season in his entire career. And if you think Wood walks a lot of batters, just wait until Dempster gets going. I'm really, really frustrated right now. Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch, and Dempster doesn't have the same ring, does it? And more importantly, this means Zambrano probably won't be pitching the home opener (most important, really, because this is all about me).

Now, the Good

Jerry Hairston has been excellent this Spring, standing out defensively at multiple positions. He has mostly started at second, but also spent time yesterday in center (racking up two assists), has played left, while also has been taking grounders at third. Will he be our version of Jose Valentin, the White Sox super-sub? I would be happy if he rotated through several positions, leading off when he plays. That would keep everyone fresh and give Hairston his fair share of ABs.

Also in that article is a mention of Jason DuBois's prodigious right field power, a valuable trait and one that is hard to teach. If you can hit them out to all fields, the power numbers are going to climb quickly, and given most pitcher's preference for pitching outside, right field power is especially useful (that is a long sentence...I'm thinking probably a run-on).

Finally, we see that I was wrong in stating that Zambrano had 12 shutout inning this spring...he has nine (hmm...that should probably go under The Bad as in: my bad)

The Somewhat Disconcerting

Dusty Baker praised Garciaparra for his hitting, which definitely makes sense. I mean, he can absolutely rake. But the disconcerting part is in how Dusty went about praising Garciaparra: "Derrek Lee said he doesn't know how Nomar does it. He saw four pitches and got three hits. You get a good pitch to hit, you hit it hard, and that's what he did. That was some fine hitting."

Now, I totally agree that it was fine hitting...for Garciaparra. Most people can't do what he does. I watched him hit and the first two pitches he took to right field were not easy pitches to handle. For a player like Derrek Lee, it wouldn't make sense to go for those pitches. Now, to me, this sounds like a subtle dig at Lee. "Look how aggressive Nomar is, if only you could be more like him. He's dreamy." Last year Lee's OBP dropped 30 points. Was this due to the influence of the Baker/Matthews/Cline trio, or was it just a minor career blip? It is an interesting question, because a lot of Lee's value is tied up in OBP, and to lose that would be to lose a lot of the player we traded for.

In other baseball news...

Ozzie Smith's son, Nikko Smith, has been bumped back into the American Idol finals after fan favorite Mario Vasquez withdrew from competition. Note: those are their words, not mine. I only watch quality TV.

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