I have been enjoying Lee Sinins' free ATM Reports for over a week now. Lee includes little tidbits that you can't get on most MLB-wide new wires like the one at ESPN.
Here are some choice cuts from his reports over the last couple of days:
"The Diamondbacks plan on giving LF Luis Gonzalez occasional days off this year and may limit him to about 150 games."
If the D-Backs think that limiting Gonzo's appearances will improve his game, well, they just may be right. Here are his 2000-2002 stats per month:
Month AB AVG OBP SLG OPS
April 287 .272 .382 .624 1.006
May 303 .347 .454 .558 1.012
June 301 .326 .407 .628 1.035
July 296 .345 .426 .632 1.058
August 276 .293 .404 .572 .976
September 263 .259 .360 .433 .793
October 25 .360 .433 .760 1.193
He appears to be wilting in the Arizona sun by late August.
That said, it's unlikely that Gonzalez will re-capture his 2001 stroke. It was just so far out of character. He nearly doubled his previous high in home runs and his slugging percentage was almost 150 points higher than the previous high. Also, the man will be 36 by the end of the season so those sorts of aberrantly high, career years will be harder to acquire.
"Homer Bush announced his retirement, saying he's been bothered by pain in both of his hips. Bush was in the Padres camp as a non roster invitee and GM Kevin Towers says Bush might try a comeback next year, if his hips feel better.
Bush had a .685 career OPS, compared to his league average of .780, and
-39 RCAA in 400 games, including a .265 SLG, .266 OBA, .531 OPS, -10 RCAA in 63 games with the BlueJays and Marlins in 2002.
His -33 RCAA in 2000 was tied for 4th worst on the BlueJays single
Bush was awful in 2000. His only full year, 1999, wasn't anything to write home about but it was OK (96 adjusted OPS) for a rookie. At 26, this kid had a World Series ring and appeared to have a nice career, if not stardom, ahead of him. Who knew that it would be his peak.
GM: 2 And 2 Make, I'll Get Back to You on That
Check these two items out:
"According to the Boston Globe, trade talks for Redsox 3B Shea
Hillenbrand had stopped, at least for now. "
"The candidates for the Indians starting 3B job are Casey Blake, Greg LaRocca and Bill Selby.
Blake may be the early frontrunner. Blake, 29, has a .643 OPS/-5 RCAA in 49 major league games, LaRocca, 30, has a .671 OPS/-3 RCAA in 34 games and Selby, 32, has a .673 OPS/-19 RCAA in 171 games."
What's wrong with this picture? The Red Sox have two viable starting third basemen. The once proud Indians have none, just a bunch of journeyman nobodies. Can't they work out some sort of deal-Hillenbrand should still be cheap and the Red Sox would love to part with him. The best that can be said of the three Indian never-was-es is that they are cheaper than-and, at this point, probably better than-Travis Fryman, one of the worst starting third baseman in the majors last season (he was the fourth worst in OPS behind, or really ahead of, Castilla, Cirillo, and Truby).
If I were stuck with those three stiffs, I would probably be scouring the waiver wire. Offensively Greg La "Coca" Rocca may be the best of the lot based on his offensive numbers last year. He at least drew six walks, scored 12 runs, and had a 95 adjusted OPS in his 52 at-bats in 2002. That's a small sample and it may not mean a thing, but the other two guys have not recorded any sorts of numbers that would make me confident that they are major-league hitters. If no one better surfaces, I guess you look for the best defensive player of the three and take your lumps.
"The candidates for the A's 4th and 5th starters spots are Ted Lilly, John Halama, Aaron Harang, Erik Hiljus and Ed Yarnall.
Lilly and Halama are considered the front runners. "
Nothing all that impressive there, but then again, how good did Cory Lidle look before joining their rotation? He couldn't even make the D-Rays rotation.
I guess that Lilly and Halama are the logical choices. Harang has the most room for improvement, but the A's don't have to wetnurse another young arm at the end of the rotation when they have three of the best in the game at the front of the rotation. Hiljus has good strikeout numbers but is prone to the long ball. Yarnall is the worst of the lot.
Sticking Lilly and Halama at the end of the rotation and trading Harang to a team hungry for young arms would probably be the best course of action.
"The candidates for the Rockies starting 2B job are Pablo Ozuna, Brent Butler, Chris Stynes and Ron Belliard. "
And Belliard sprained his ankle today. There's no possibility for platooning since they all bat right-handed. Butler was pathetic at the plate last year. Ozuna is a 28-year-old Triple-A player. Stynes has never played over 43 games at second in any season.
I guess the best option is to use both Stynes and Belliard and hope one can channel past success. Failing that, Belliard is probably the best defensive player and the most logical choice.
"The battle for the Reds 5th starter's job are Jose Rijo, Pete Harnsich, Osvaldo Fernandez, Jimmy Anderson, Lance Davis, Seth Etherton, Luke Hudson, Bruce Chen, Jose Acevedo, Chris Reitsma, Brian Reith and Blake Williams. "
What does Bob Boone have against Chris Reitsma anyway? He had a pretty good year last year (121 adjusted ERA) even with a 6-12 record. He's young (25). The job should be his, not the avuncular Rijo or Harnish's.
Hicks Taken By City Slickers
"According to the Hartford Courant, the Yankees could be showcasing Sterling Hitchcock for a trade to either the Reds or Rangers."
Playing Out the String
"A's SS Miguel Tejada had previously stated he's looking for a new 8-10 year contract. But, now he says, 'I really don't look for particular years. I just want to play baseball, and Billy Beane will decide how many years I'll be here.' "
Not So Schoeneweiss, Better to Go the Callaway
"The Angels don't expect Aaron Sele to be available until at least May, possibly even June. So, Scott Schoeneweis and Mickey Callaway are the top candidates to take his spot in the rotation, with there being speculation both ways as to who which pitcher is the frontrunner. "
I would have to go with Callaway for the 5th spot, and not because the Mickster is such a hot prospect. I would do whatever is possible to keep Schoeneweiss in the bullpen. Here's his breakdown from last year:
2002 ERA G IP AVG WHIP K/9 IP K:BB HR/9IP
Total 4.88 54 118 .264 1.42 4.96 1.33 1.30
Starter 5.38 15 90.1 .276 1.51 4.38 1.10 1.20
Reliever 3.25 39 27.2 .225 1.16 6.83 2.33 1.63
In the pen, he was prone to the long ball, but all of his numbers improved dramatically. He may be a major-league reliever. He certainly is not a major league starter (never had an ERA under 5.00).
"Big Tub Of Goo"
David Wells says players using ephedrine is the team's fault because they have imposed the unfair expectation of requiring players to not come into camp overweight.
The clown also says, "The Orioles should be accountable [for Steve Bechler's death]. They didn't realize the kid was so eager to make the team. He was going to take whatever it took."
David Wells and weight loss-what a contradiction in terms.
Dusting Off the Old Rocking Chair
According to Cubs MGR Dusty Baker, Eric Karros "is working his butt off. He is out there in the morning hitting early and still out there hitting when I leave. It's a positive sign he is healthy or he couldn't do all these things."
It's not a good sign when a manager with a reputation for preferring veterans sings the praise of someone like Karros when the team has a rookie like Hee Seop Choi who's ready to claim the job.
The Hee Seop Choi career death watch begins today. I like Dusty Baker, but he may be the wrong man in the wrong place with the youthful Cubs. A bad start may drive this team down a path that will take them years to recover from.
Marquis de Sod
Braves MGR Bobby Cox says the 5th starter's job is "wide open."
Horacio Ramirez, Andy Pratt, Jung Bong and Trey Hodges would be
attempting to take Jason Marquis's job away from him. That is, if Cox is really serious and isn't just attempting to motivate Marquis.
What is it with the Braves and fifth starters? A year ago the Braves had both Marquis and Moss to work into the rotation. Marquis appeared a hair better so Moss was relegated to the fifth spot.
Moss ended up having the big year and Marquis is looking for a job. Marquis was pretty bad last year. It may be more than motivation. He may have simply been lapped by younger, probably better prospects.
Orioles MGR Mike Hargrove says Geronimo Gil will retain his starting C job, but he also wants to use Brook Fordyce more often this season.
Gil hit .363 SLG, .270 OBA, .632 OPS, -26 RCAA in 125 games in his first year as a starter in 2002, while Fordyce is coming off a .315 SLG, .301 OBA, .616 OPS, -7 RCAA season in 56 games and has a .718 career OPS, compared to his league average of .776, and -25 RCAA in 461 games.
Why not? Fordyce did slug .500 and hit 14 home runs two years ago and Gil was pathetic at the plate last year.
Got Any Cubans In There?
The Rockies say they'll use a humidor to store the baseballs at Coors Field again this year.
Good to know. But will it help them win this year?
Brother, Can You Spare a League Minimum?
Lance Johnson showed up in the Pirates camp yesterday, looking for the job, and wasn't offered a contract.
I guess he heard the Pirates needed outfielders. 38-year-olds who have not played in two years and have not been good for 6, need not apply.
The Phillies re-signed P Carlos Silva to a 1 year, $310,000 contract, which will pay him $160,000 if he's in the minors.
Silva had a 3.21 ERA/5 RSAA in 68 games as a 23 year old rookie in 2002.
The Phils are big on the split contract of late. The signed Vicente Padilla, an All-Star last year, to one. Silva looks like a pretty good (118 adjusted ERA), young (still 23) righty reliever, and not only do the Phils sign him to only ten grand over the league minimum, they force him to take a split contract. Nice.