Results tagged ‘ Drew Stubbs ’

2010 Forecasts: NL Central

Having already tabbed the Rockies for a possible runaway in the West (pursued perhaps by the Giants), we move to the Central:

CHICAGO
may represent a startling fact about this division – there not only isn’t a
great team here, there isn’t even a good one. The starting line-up is
five-eighths made up of guys who significantly regressed from 2008 to 2009,
plus Marlon Byrd. The new ownership seems to have already committed to the age-old easy way out of worrying more about the ballpark than the ballclub. Larry Rothschild has gratefully plugged Carlos Silva and Tom
Gorzelanny into his rotation. The bullpen is headed by a shaky Carlos Marmol
and not one experienced right-handed set-up man. The Cubs are a mess.

It still
didn’t make any sense for CINCINNATI to invest in Scott Rolen, nor bring back
Ramon Hernandez, and with considerable irony, this might as well still be 2007
when the Reds were pinning their hopes on Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce. Their
epiphanies – Bailey’s last September, and Bruce’s during his injury – must be
lasting for the Reds to compete. But there is at minimum some sense of upswing
in Cincinnati. Dusty Baker gave Drew Stubbs the chance to play last year, and
might even find spots for Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake, and Yonder Alonso this season. The
bullpen is strong, the rotation potentially deep.

For years,
Terry Francona’s top lieutenant, Brad Mills, has deserved a major league team
to manage. He may yet get the chance – for now he’s stuck with Houston. There
is an outfield and there are two starting
pitchers (providing Roy Oswalt isn’t seriously hurt, and doesn’t go home to his
ranch in sheer frustration). The rest of the line-up, and the pitching staff, are disaster areas, made no better by today’s news than Lance Berkman’s bionic knee is ‘cranky.’ Things could brighten somewhat if
Matt Lindstrom harnesses his talent, and if Jason Castro or J.R. Towles squat
up behind the plate, and if three fans turn out to be viable starting pitchers.
Otherwise, this is a franchise that has gone to seed.

What’s the
psychological saw about repeating the same unsuccessful action with confidence
that this
time it
will succeed? The Brewers are confident Dave Bush, Doug Davis, and Manny Parra and/or Jeff Suppan constitute three-fifths of a pitching staff. They’re certain Rickie Weeks and
Corey Hart will harness their talent. Everybody knows
this is the year Yovanni Gallardo
leaps to the forefront of NL starters. This is a recording. The Brewers will be
deceptively entertaining as long as Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are around,
and they could get a wonderful spark if Carlos Gomez decides not to style his
way out of the game before his 25th birthday. But all the bullpen depth in the world
isn’t going to help that rotation.

PITTSBURGH
deserves better. Surely they are, on average, a better set of players than the
Astros. But nothing seems to progress in Pittsburgh; Andrew McCutchen and
Garrett Jones arise fully grown from the minors, but Freddy Sanchez and Jack
Wilson are dished off. They make a seeming salary dump to Atlanta and in fact
rip the Braves off, selling Nate McLouth at his high point, opening up a spot
for McCutchen, and getting the remarkable arm of Charlie Morton – and Morton is
the only guy in the state who doesn’t believe he has
a remarkable arm. And still, if
lightning strikes – if Pedro Alvarez, Chase D’Arnaud, and Tim Alderson were all
productive big leaguers by June 1, they’d suddenly have an actual real-life
.500 team. And a .500 team might run away with this division.

Pittsburgh can hope, because
ST. LOUIS is the most overrated team in the majors. Albert Pujols glitters so
brightly, he makes you forget that the rest of the infield is an assortment of
Brendan Ryans and Felipe Lopezes and David Freeses. Chris Carpenter and Adam
Wainwright were so dominant that they obscured the reality of what happened if
you actually beat them on consecutive days – the Cards’ season would be snuffed
out in a sweep. This is a team that was ready to trot out a rotation in which
Kyle Lohse, Brad Penny, and Rich Hill would pitch more often than did Carpenter
and Wainwright (the first light bulb going off: giving the fifth spot in the rotation not to Hill but to Jaime Garcia). The bullpen is a jumble, the bench non-existent, and lord help
Tony LaRussa if Yadier Molina is really hurt or Pujols’ back is cranky for more
than 45 minutes at a stretch.

PREDICTIONS:
You know what? I’ll take the long-odds bet on the dice coming up for the Reds
and not the Cardinals. It’ll be an exciting race, to see if you actually can
get into the playoffs with 79 victories. Chicago third, Milwaukee fourth just
ahead of Pittsburgh, and Houston sixth, unless they decide to conserve energy
and just forfeit all games in lieu of much needed fielding practice and weeding
through resumes of infielders and pitchers.

Trivia and Jocketty

I never posted the (apparent) answer to the trivia question from last week about Hall of Famers who retired after World Series wins or losses, and I’ll get to what I have on that shortly.

Firstly, in the wake of the very disturbing Jay Bruce broken wrist last night, there was a quote from a few weeks previously from Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty about what the club would do if it felt it had to bench or perhaps demote Bruce, who had been steadily heading down to the Uecker Line. He had said Drew Stubbs – the former first-rounder who has hit like a dream at Louisville, gets on base nicely, steals bases, but has shown none of the power the Reds expected when they drafted him – would get the first opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, Reds management also likes Chris Haisley, who just got to AAA a month ago, and has considerably more power with very little experience above AA. A spot on the 40-man would have to be created for either player.
However, Reds’ manager Dusty Baker, sounding exactly like the kind of skippers in Atlanta who limited him to spot work for his first four years, seems totally unimpressed with the prospects of either Stubbs or Haisley, dismissing their performances as just numbers. While an outfield of Nix and Gomes in left, Willy Taveras in center, and Chris Dickerson (who left today’s game in New York with back spasms) may seem appealing to Dusty, it would probably assure the Reds of sinking into the basement in the NL Central. Dismissing Haisley, or the more likely candidate Stubbs, just isn’t rational – unless Baker is expecting the Reds to summon up a big-bat outfielder or shortstop before the trading deadline. Other than first baseman Yonder Alonso, there just aren’t big-ticket trade chips in the Reds’ system, and unless you’re talking Matt Holliday, I don’t think you’re talking about trading Alonso.
Face it, Dusty, you may have to put a kid out there. Even though that never works. Joey Votto, Bruce, even Dickerson – they were just lightning strikes. Not possible for that to ever happen again in the history of baseball.
Now that trivia question. If you include being on the active roster during the World Series, our lists of Hall-of-Famers who wrapped it up there, is as follows:
Winners:
1930 Eddie Collins, Philadelphia A’s (though he was a player-coach who appeared in only three games during the season, both the Philly and St. Louis scorecards – our best research tool for early Series info – list him as an active player for the ’30 Series).
1951 Joe DiMaggio, Yankees
1953 Johnny Mize, Yankees
1968 Eddie Mathews, Tigers
(Note here: Johnny Ward, Hall of Fame player-manager of the 1894 New York Giants, led his team to victory in the closest thing to the World Series, The Temple Cup, then retired as an active player).
Losers:
1922 Home Run Baker, Yankees
1936 Travis Jackson, Giants
1936 Bill Terry, Giants
1956 Jackie Robinson, Dodgers
1966 Sandy Koufax, Dodgers
1968 Roger Maris, Cardinals
1973 Willie Mays, Mets
Some notes here: Tom Seaver was on the disabled list of the ’86 Red Sox, but since he attempted a comeback mid-season with the ’87 Mets, he falls off the list for two reasons. Dave Winfield ended his career with the ’95 Indians but was not on the post-season roster, and Larry Doby finished up with the ’59 White Sox but was let go in July.
And as mentioned below, Don Sutton is in a category of his own. In the rotation of the ’88 Dodgers past the All-Star break, he was released, never pitched again – but went with the team the next year for a celebration at the White House.
Again, the lists are presumed to be incomplete and additional submissions are welcomed
Two years later, the Dodgers released Don Sutton two months before the Series
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