[MLB] Riding the Pine

“It really makes me mad because I think good pitchers win games and horse-[bleep] pitchers hit people. I think that is the weakest [bleep] I ever see because if you can’t get people out, get out of here. Get another job. You’re going to hit somebody? It’s not anybody’s fault you got a [butt]-kicking. Throw strikes and get people out.”
–White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after Orioles starter Todd Williams hit second baseman Tadahito Iguchi with a pitch (Chicago Sun-Times).

Welcome to Version 2.

A few notes:
Rafael Palmeiro is back from suspension, but not playing. The Orioles are looking into getting rid of him, whether through trade or release, due to the bad press he is bringing to the team. In his first game back, he didn’t leave the bench. I haven’t heard the clubhouse reaction towards him, and he hasn’t revealed much.

“I want to say that I’m happy to be back. I’m anxious to get back on the field and playing the game that I love very much,” he said. “It’s been a tough time for me and my family over the last couple of weeks, and at this time I’ve been instructed by my attorneys not to comment on the situation. The time will come soon, hopefully, that I can explain my situation.” The main reason he didn’t play was he used the suspension as time off. He didn’t work out or swing a bat during the 10 days. Most players, while suspended, will stay with the team to work out, take batting practice, and be with the team as long as they aren’t on the bench during the games. Few teams currently have interest in him, one being the Mets. They have been horrible at first this year. GM Omar Minaya was asked about Palmeiro, but he said he couldn’t comment on another team’s players while smiling. Take it either way. Also, Congress has received information from MLB regarding Palmeiro, and the timeframe he tested positive. They have said they are using the information to see if he is guilty of perjury.

For the most bizarre play in a while, the Athletics beat the Angels and take first place on a dropped ball. It was 2 on, 2 out in the bottom of the ninth when the catcher threw the ball back to Francisco Rodriguez after a pitch. K-Rod dropped the ball and Jason Kendall darted from third to score. “I’ve never seen that in my life, but that stuff happens in baseball,” Kendall said. “You learn early on that you’re supposed to always follow the ball. I saw it rolling away, and I didn’t think he’d get it back in time. Fortunately for us, I was right.”

The Mike Cameron-Carlos Beltran is one of the worst collisions I have ever seen in baseball. Both men were in a full out sprint trying to catch a foul ball when they collided head to head.

Both did not move for a few seconds. Beltran was able to leave the game under his own power, but Cameron was carted off. The lasting effects of the collision are not known at this time, but Cameron has been placed on the DL with a broken nose, multiple fractures in both cheeks, and a concussion. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cameron is done for the season and Beltran should be out for a few games. MLB.com has the full video clip.

The Rumors
There were rumors that the Yankees put in a waiver claim on Jamie Moyer, but he vetoed the trade; Moyer said this week he wants to go to a contender and didn’t block the trade…The Rangers put in a waiver claim on Brett Tomko, but he was pulled back after a trade couldn’t be worked out…The White Sox are interested in getting Ken Griffey Jr, but the Yankees have said they would not attempt to get him…The Red Sox may release second baseman Mark Bellhorn so they can send him to the minors until rosters expand in September…The Cubs are interested in Preston Wilson and Johnny Damon in the off season.

Manager Hot Seats: The Joe Torre-George Steinbrenner battles may be starting again; the owner questioned some of the skipper’s moves this past week…Peter Angelos want to bring in a big name manager next year…Lloyd McClendon has not been offered a contract extension; he is a free agent at the end of the season.

The Week that Was:
The Good
Derrek Lee – The guy won’t win the Triple Crown (he is already falling off), but he is having an incredible season. This fits the motif of the 27-year-old break out players (he turns 28 at the end of September). I think he will be a solid player for years to come, but not quite at this level. If the Cubs were in contention, he would be the MVP (luckily Pujols will win it).

Greg Maddux is 6 wins away from 15 for the season, again; he will have at least 9 more starts (barring injury) so he could make it…Jason Bay is avoiding a sophomore slump pretty well, as is his AL counterpart Bobby Crosby…

The Bad
Retreads – The new fashionable thing for struggling teams is to take a retread pitcher, and expect him to actually do something. James Baldwin has pitched for Baltimore and Texas this season, and has done nothing but waste a roster spot. The Rangers were also expecting something from Pedro Astacio, who did give them one good start. He then reverted to sucking, and was let go. The Padres took him, along with a retreaded Chan Ho Park. They could be better in Petco Park (a great park for pitchers), but they will not blow anyone away. The Yankees are starting Aaron Small, Al Leiter, Shawn Chacon (who could do alright out of Colorado), Tim Redding, and Darrell May, with Hideo Nomo waiting in the wings. That brings me too…

The Yankees Rotation – This is what $205 million gets you. Ok, not all of that is tied up to the rotation. From the get go, I didn’t like the additions they made; Carl Pavano was paid for one good season, Jaret Wright is a Leo Mazzone one-time wonder, and they could have kept Jon Lieber for a fraction of the price of these two. Randy Johnson is a great pitcher, but his back his limited what he has done. Still, I would take this Johnson over most other pitchers. Right now, all of the scrubs above are pitching for a job right now, since relief is on the horizion (see the injury report below).

The Ugly
John Smoltz – “August 12, 1987. The Braves trade veteran pitcher Doyle Alexander to the Tiger in exchange for a Minor League hurler. The Tigers will get the short-term benefit, as Alexander goes 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA to push the Tigers over the top in the American League Easter Division race. But within 2 years Alexander’s career will be over, and the minor leaguer – John Smoltz – will be a Major League All-Star.” That is what was on my Major League baseball calendar. Smoltz is starting to hit fatigue, and hard. Before the All Star break, he was hitting a hundred pitches a game without a problem, but more recently he is slowing down at 80-90 pitches. With each game, he will start to struggle earlier. Right now he is at his highest innings total since 1999, and will pass that mark with 2 more starts. I would deal him now (if your trade deadline has not passed) in all leagues since you could get some good players.

Yhency Brazoban has been removed as the Dodgers closer; Duaner Sanchez will take over the role…Glendon Rusch will start Tuesday for the Cubs, leaving Kerry Wood in the bullpen.

The Rookies
King Felix followed up his first start even better than most would hope; he pitch 8 innings of shut out ball…Jeff Francoeur is still going strong, going 4-4 one day this week; his discipline needs work (0 walks), but that will come with time…Dioner Navarro is getting playing time now, but he won’t be more than an average catcher…Ryan Howard is worth picking up, not that Jim Thome is done (see below); he has shown power throughout his career, and is doing it at the Major League level.

The Injuries
Jim Thome ended his season with surgery on his elbow after attempting Minor League rehab; this will make dealing Thome and his monster contract that much harder…Roy Halladay had a slight set back while doing fielding drill; his next start may be in jeopardy, so it could be at least another week until he will start…Carl Pavano will be shutting it down for another 6 weeks; his season is essentially over…There is somewhat good news for the Yankees: Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang are close to returning to the rotation….Johnny Estrada is back on the DL with back problems; look for rookie Brian McCann to get the starts behind the plate…Keith Foulke should be back in the bullpen by the end of the month…Look for Wade Miller to be refreshed after he comes off the DL; he was complaining about his arm being tired.

Links
RotoChamps can take care of all your fantasy needs.
Mark talks about Indianapolis.
Dr Jay talks steroid details.
Nick goes over pre-season football.
Oli talks cricket.
Patrick is back with a little it of everything, along with Audio.
The Forums

E-mail or post questions, trade scenarios, and comments. Thanks.

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