Playing Good News/Bad News With Baseball Headlines…

Good News/Bad News:   Jake Peavy will have to wait before he makes his Chicago White Sox debut – but the good news is that the elbow has a bruise and some swelling.  When it goes away, he’ll be fine.  [ESPN]

Good News/Bad News:  Met starters Oliver Perez (knee) and Johan Santana (elbow) had surgery to clean up debris in joints – but the good news is that both should be ready by spring training.  [ESPN]

Good News/Good News:  David Wright is back after his beaning and subsequent concussion – and he’s trying out a new helmet, too.  Wright got a hit last night…  [ESPN]

Good News/Good News:  Trever Miller and Ryan Franklin got contract extensions from the Cardinals.  Did any of us think that either player would be impact pitchers for St. Louis?  [SI]

Good News – for Tampa, anyway…  The player to be named later in the Scott Kazmir deal is infielder Sean Rodriguez.  Rodruiguez is a shortstop with some pop in his bat and a hole in his swing, whose stats make me think of a poor man’s Dan Uggla.  Still a kid at 24, he’s been in the Angels chain for 7 seasons, so it’s hard to see him as a prospect, but you never know.  [SI]

Bad News – For Seattle and Ken Griffey…  Griffey’s surgically repaired left knee is bothering him, and an MRI is in his future.  [SI]

Speaking of bad knees (and bad news), FoxSports Jon Paul Morosi reports that Jarrod Washburn’s lack of success in Detroit is tied to a sore knee as well, though it’s his right knee this time.  [FoxSports]

Good News – for Seattle – Adrian Beltre is back after missing 15 days for a, um, groin injury (he took a grounder where it hurts).  [FoxSports]

Bad News for Florida – and it’s not just that outfielder Jeremy Hermida REFUSES to swing at a first pitch (or even second pitch) fastball strike.  It’s HARD to hit when you are constantly behind in the count and NOBODY gets behind faster than Hermida who is more than willing to watch two strikes before swinging.  FRUSTRATING!!!  I digress.  Hanley Ramirez left last night’s rain delayed game with a sore hamstring.  [MLB]

Bad News in Texas – third baseman Michael Young, who is having a remarkable season at third base, strained his hamstring in yesterday’s doubleheader and could miss two weeks.  [MLB]

Welcome Back! Just about anybody who could come off the DL on September 1st did.  And, the list of players activated for the last month of the season is about 100 names long – so I won’t list them here.  However, one transaction didn’t match the others…  Arizona claimed Kevin Mulvey off of waivers from Minnesota.

Pirates Sell Out Again; Does Adam LaRoche Help Boston? And, I’m Embarrassed for Broward County (FL)

Red Sox Nation, awash in fear after (a) being swept by Texas, and (b) watching the Yankees take over first place in the AL East, can rest assured that help is on the way.  Maybe.

The Boston Red Sox made two deals yesterday in hopes of stirring a sleeping offense.  First, Boston recalled Adam LaRoche from Pittsburgh, the new AAA team for Red Sox Nation, requiring only a small deposit of minor leaguers.  Then, St. Louis, desperate for a productive shortstop, chose to take a chance on Julio Lugo for the relatively low price of OF (DH) Chris Duncan.

In the case of Lugo for Duncan, St. Louis gets a slowing infielder who hits like Brendan Ryan and unloads a disappointing Duncan, who is a hitter without a glove – albeit a hitter who has been less and less productive (and powerful) since his arrival in 2005.  Every year has seen declines in his batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage.  If the Sox wanted someone who could hit a little, pinch hit a little, and occasionally DH or log innings, couldn’t they have conned Sean Casey out of retirement?  Duncan, who had been dispatched to AAA by the Cards, now heads to Pawtucket.

For the soon to be 30-year-old Adam LaRoche, the Red Sox hope to get a player with a second half hitting reputation.  Adam has power – but only once has cleared 30 homers (2006).  And, I’m not convinced he has decent fielding skills.  His numbers in 2008 showed him to be among the most immobile first basemen in the league (Ortiz is probably more immobile, which is why he’s a DH).  And – what does that say about Ortiz and Mike Lowell?  Who is going to sit to let LaRoche play?  Is Mark Kotsay heading to the broadcast booth?  I think these are fair questions to ask, Boston fans.  If Boston had picked up Jack Wilson, I would have understood.  But Adam LaRoche?

What does Pittsburgh get?  Argenis Diaz, a AA shortstop who must be a whale of a fielder because his career minor league average is about .273 with no power or speed, and he doesn’t wrestle his way to first with walks or getting hit by pitches.  They also received a 20 year old pitcher, Hunter Strickland, who is doing well for an 18th round pick out of high school.  He has good control (just 13 walks in 83 innings with Greenville in AA), but isn’t necessarily overpowering.  While he looks like he might help in two years, Strickland hasn’t registered on the top ten list for Baseball America.   I have never understood what the Pirates management was doing – they unloaded Jason Bay and Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche despite being just a few games away from topping .500.  Aren’t they supposed to get serious MLB potential talent for three established MLB hitters?

For your latest Roy Halliday trade rumors, give this a read.  [FanNation/SI]

Jason Marquis will miss a start to heal a blister on his throwing hand.  [FoxSports]

I’m saddened by this…  The Baltimore Orioles are moving spring training from Ft. Lauderdale to Sarasota.  That means the furthest south spring training hits on the east coast will be Jupiter – home of the Cards and Marlins – an hour north of Ft. Lauderdale.  Look, Roger Dean Stadium rocks, but his is embarrassing for Miami’s sister city.  We used to have spring training in Pompano Beach (Texas), and to lose the Orioles is to basically give up on baseball from February through March down here.  What does Sarasota have that Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t?  Okay – the Ringling House and Circus Museum.  Woo Hoo!!!  Broward County should be embarrassed.

The Tigers are watching to see how Joel Zumaya’s shoulder responds to treatment, else it’s surgery for the hard throwing reliever.  Maybe he throws too hard.  [MLB]

Hurry Back!  Washington placed Jordan Zimmermann on the DL with elbow discomfort, then recalled Collin Balester from AAA Syracuse.

Welcome Back!  Minnesota sent Kevin Mulvey back to AAA, and recalled Jesse Crain.

What Will Phillies Get With Pedro Martinez? (And other news…)

The top story of the All-Star Game break (Barack Obama’s first pitch notwithstanding) was the Phillies giving $1 million to test drive Pedro Martinez.

Martinez, with 214 wins and just 99 losses, was the arguably the best pitcher of the 1990s, but really hasn’t been productive since then (not really, he’s had bouts of productivity in the 2000s – just fewer times).  Let’s just look at the last three years.

In 2006 with the Mets, Pedro made 23 starts, going 9 – 8 with a 4.48 ERA in 132.2 innings.  He still struck people out and had some decent control – but when he got hit, people were taking him deep.  19 of the 108 hits allowed were homers.  Taking the defense and park out of his stats, I show him as being about 9 runs worse than the average pitcher that year – the first time he’s actually hurting the teams for whom he has played.  Injured in 2007, Pedro made just five starts, winning three, and looked okay – 33 Ks in 28 innings, but also 32 hits. 

The Mets thought they might have something to hope for in 2008.  Only that year, Pedro was worse than ever.  In 20 starts, covering 109 innings, Pedro had a losing record (5 – 6), and an ERA that was double his career average (5.61).  He gave up 19 homers again, allowed more than a hit per inning and his strikeout rate fell.   Take the park and defense out of his stats, and he’s nearly 18 runs worse than the average pitcher in his 109 innings.  He was as bad as Roy Halliday is good.

We’re talking about a pitcher who was undependable from a health standpoint (missing about half of his starts), and his fastball isn’t going to blow you away – heck, it’s likely to land in the seats.  In Philadelphia, had he pitched the way he did at Shea in 2008, it’s possible that his ERA would be 7 or 8.  For now, Pedro’s on the DL (strained shoulder, discovered when he passed his physical?), and will essentially be making rehab starts.  He may get a start in the majors – but personally, I don’t want him to get his 100th loss.  Nobody has more pitches in the arsenal than Pedro had in his day, but I’m not convinced that he’s a viable alternative to what the Phillies already have.

In other news…

Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Yates had elbow surgery and will miss the rest of 2009, and could miss much of 2010.  (FoxSports)

Getting help for a tired bullpen, the Twins recalled Kevin Mulvey from Rochester, and sent third string catcher Jose Morales back to AAA.  Morales was hitting .343 with the Twins – now THAT’S a valuable third stringer!  Mulvey came over in the Johan Santana deal, spent very little time at the lower levels in the minors, but has been in AAA for a year and a half.  He’s not bad – could use a little bit better control and strikes out a few guys, but doesn’t look like a great one.  He peaks out for me as a fifth starter, long reliever type.  [ESPN]

Eric Milton’s 2009 comeback season is over following back surgery (herniated disk), but he has no intention of retiring – at least until he knows how his back feels when he’s done healing.  Milton has been resting a tired shoulder and elbow – but had been effective for the Dodgers when able to pitch. [ESPN]

It happened a couple of days ago, but I admit I was sorry to hear that Tony Clark had been released.  I always liked Tony – decent power, willing to work the count, and as a young guy was a decent fielder.  I’m not certain anyone will sign him and give him one more shot, but I’ll miss him.