Ryne Sandberg says Sammy Sosa won’t be elected to the Hall of Fame because sportswriters are taking a stand against steroids. Sandberg noted that the description of a Hall of Famer includes the word “integrity” (even in the logo) and people in general seem to be taking the same position on steroids. Even as he noted that he didn’t think Sosa belonged in the Hall, Sandberg admitted that Sosa did have a great work ethic, and thought that the added muscle was due to offseason workouts when they were teammates from 1993 and 1997.
Let’s face it; that’s what is problematic about this. Nobody doubts that Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire weren’t putting in time in the gym. Ultimately, it’s disappointing that these guys (and many others like them) chose to break federal laws in acquiring substances that otherwise couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be obtained without prescriptions and valid reasons for having them.
Is Wedge Next Manager to Go?
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge is hearing it from Cleveland fans who now wonder aloud if he will be fired. Meanwhile, Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks that fans calling for the return of Mike Hargrove may wind up equally disappointed.
What Should Detroit Do With Magglio Ordonez?
Fox Sports baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal thinks the Tigers should drop Magglio Ordonez before he gets enough plate appearances to vest an $18 million dollar contract extension.
Let’s see if we can’t look at this pragmatically. First, Ordonez is now a year and a half removed from that .363 season which was miles above what he normally hits (and he’s a good hitter). So, this year’s slump could be, in part, an evening of fortune for hitting so well in 2007. I mean, Mike Lowell, who always struck me as one of the most consistent players I have ever seen, has had a season where he hit .236 and another where he hit .324.
Second of all, there has been a consistent decline in Ordonez’s outfield play. In 2006, he was about 4 plays below average in right field per 800 balls in play, costing his team about 13 runs. In 2007, it was five plays per 800 balls in play. Last year, he was – 12, which likely cost his team almost 33 runs because of all those extra hits falling in out there. When you add up the offensive production (about 101.4 runs) and his lack of defensive range (-32.6 runs), I have him as the 20th best right fielder among those playing at least 80 games there in 2008. Fourteen were better hitters, and then you have his fielding problems.
Finally, Maggs is 35 – which is young to me, but not in baseball years. It might be that his legs aren’t beneath him anymore, either. I haven’t gotten to the letter “M” in my player profiles, but having looked at it, Ordonez would have been a serious candidate for a season of decline – probably hitting more like .270 with 15 homers. Assuming he hits his career norm for the second half of the season (about .310 with 12 homers), he’d finish right about where my prediction hits. And, he’s really best suited to be a DH at this point in his career. Is that the type of production you’d want to pay $18 million for? So, when you do the math, I reach the same conclusion as Rosenthal – but hopefully without any unnecessary meanness of spirit.
On the injury beat…
Brandon Webb may not pitch for Arizona this year. Webb is about 35 runs better than the average pitcher over 230 innings – one of the best in the game. To lose him and replace him with someone in AAA, who likely won’t be league average, is probably a 50 run hit to the runs allowed column, turning a team that could have finished with 75 wins into a team that could easily win more like 65 wins – which is what the Diamondbacks are pacing for. Ouch.
And, Josh Hamilton is less and less likely going to be ready to play by the All-star game. I remember thinking that when they announced his surgery.
Let’s get some good news. Roy Halliday will likely pitch Monday against the Rays in Toronto. To their credit, the Blue Jays have played well over the last two weeks, given all the injuries to the pitching staff.
Hurry Back! Phillies reliever Clay Condrey – 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. Brad Lidge will get his slot on the roster. Brewer pitcher Dave Bush gets seven days off in AAA for right arm fatigue. Cincinnati catcher Wilkin Castillo goes to the DL with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. And, Arizona loses catcher Chris Snyder to a lower back strain.
Welcome Back! Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore, San Diego’s Scott Hairston, and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, who says that depression following the death of his father last August has contributed to serious panic attacks and anxiety. As someone who deals with anxiety on a regular basis, I can definitely relate to that. Hang in there, Joey.
Working late, I had the Chicago Cubs – Detroit Tigers game on. If you want to know why I am a baseball fan, you needed to watch this game.
First, you had two solid starting pitching efforts from Edwin Jackson, who throws HARD, and Carlos Zambrano – one of the truly great horses in baseball.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the Cubs leading 2 – 1, Brandon Inge takes Zambrano deep for a two-run homer to take the lead. What is especially cool about this is that Inge had spent the day at a local hospital hanging out with kids and signing autographs. At one point, he’s mingling with a kid named Tommy Schumacher, and Inge tells Tommy that he’s tired of signing autographs; he wants one. So, Tommy takes a marker and writes his first name on Inge’s right forearm. When Inge is batting early in the game, you can see Tommy’s autograph clearly and the broadcasters mention it. Cool stuff!
Not done, though. In the eighth, in comes Joel Zumaya. Zumaya is probably the hardest thrower in the game. Against Milton Bradley, he throws four straight pitches that MLB’s PitchFX data shows ranging from 101 to 103 MPH. The TV Radar actually read 104 (!) on the gun with the last strike. Bradley started his swing as the ball was being thrown around the horn. Anyway, with a runner on, Zumaya tried to sneak a change up past Micah Hoffpauir, but Hoffpauir turned it around for a lead-changing two run homer.
STILL not over. Kevin Gregg, who had been on a good roll, comes in to close the game out for the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth, but Ryan Rayburn hits a pinch hit two run homer to win it. It was the first PH game-winning homer by a Detroit batter in the 9th inning since Lou Whitaker did it in 1995! A BREATHTAKING game!