What's Making Me Talk: Manny Ramirez in Blue, Big Papi Feeling Blue
I often laugh at the retreads that somehow get a chance with another team. You know the players that I'm talking about. Players that have had little success in the major leagues or show that inkling of potential that some teams feel the need to take a chance on.
Two Cleveland Indians retreads have resurfaced in the National League. Both pitched for the Indians before being shipped off in one way or another. One is Jason Davis, who was sent to the Mariners after the Indians decided to give up on him.
Obviously, David didn't last because now he's with the Pittsburgh Pirates. GM Neal Huntington obviously felt that the Pirates could get him straightened out as a reliever.
So far, so good, as he's won a game in his three appearances and struck out two hitters. Davis always had a good arm with live stuff. I thought he could get it done as a closer, but he never had the mentality.
He was tried out as a starter earlier in his career but the Indians felt he didn't have enough in his arm to get it done for more than a few innings.
More power to them if he works out.
One guy I'm sure that won't work out is Jason Johnson of the Dodgers. "JJ", as we would call him, was an unreliable starter for half a season for the Tribe. He was a mistake signing by Mark Shapiro, taking him from division rival Detroit.
The fact that the Tigers didn't want him should clue you in to the fact that he wasn't very good to begin with.
Well, Johnson has returned to the majors in the Dodgers organization. So far, Johnson is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA.
I would love to be a retread pitcher. Life is good with teams giving you second and third chances, getting paid because you have potential.
What's Making Me Regress
Speaking of the Dodgers, I think they made a trade this past week. It might have include a player by the name of Manny Ramirez.
The thing I question about the trade is how much will this effect David Ortiz?
You have to wonder why Ortiz was never successful in Minnesota, then when he went to Boston to hit in front of Ramirez, he suddenly turned into a All-Star hitter. Since the trade, Ortiz has one hit in 10 at-bats with four walks.
That lineup is a little less dangerous without Ortiz and Ramirez back-to-back. Now teams can simply avoid Ortiz at all costs. You may never see another clutch Ortiz hit again, considering teams don't have to pick their poison anymore.
Moving Manny was a move the Red Sox evidently had to make. He was going to be leaving after the year, given all the damage that has been done to their relationship, and Boston reportedly had enough of his antics.
Jason Bay isn't a bad guy to replace him. He certainly isn't the dangerous hitter that Ramirez is, but he's serviceable and he fills that position for more than the rest of this year.
How about what the Pirates got? I like it a lot more than the return for Xavier Nady, considering the talent is major-league ready. But Andy LaRoche has already contributed early and Craig Hansen has sort of hurt them.
Don’t forget, teaming up the LaRoches makes it the second infield family tandem in the National League. The other being Edgar and Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego.
We may look back, though, on a trade like the Pirates made for the likes of Jeff Karstens and say, "Hey, they got a steal."
Who knows if the Yankees will re-sign Nady. It could be a rental, and if all the pieces work out, It would supply the Pirates with at least three of their starting 25-man roster.
Remember these deals? Sometimes you have to take risks, and obviously that is what Neal Huntington did with dealing Nady. If it works out, he could be laughing in the faces of many of the critics of the trade, including myself.
What's Making Me Pull My Hair Out
Did you see that wild play from the Astros/Mets' game the other night?
Here's the scene. Bases are loaded, one out, and Mark Lorretta is at third base, Hunter Pence at second, and Geoff Blum is at the plate. Blum singles to left field, and Mark Loretta goes back to third base to tag for some reason, and Hunter Pence ends up right on his tail.
Loretta should have scored easily, but instead he is met at the plate with Ramon Castro and the ball.
Loretta lays into Castro the best way he can. Castro doesn't come up with the ball and both Pence and Loretta are safe.
Now, had Loretta not gone back to third base and scored easily like he was supposed to, Hunter Pence would probably have been a dead duck at home plate. But, Loretta's boneheaded mistake actually worked out in his favor as both runs scored.
Baseball is such a weird game. Sometimes things don't work out like they should in the wackiest ways.
Remember how I'm always saying you never know what new thing you'll see next?
This is a great example.
Speaking of not ever seeing something before, did anyone see the Twins lay down three-consecutive bunts against Cleveland the other night?
Carlos Gomez started the inning off with a bunt single that third baseman Andy Marte fielded cleanly, but Ryan Garko dropped. Denard Span followed that up with a beautiful bunt hit that Kelly Shoppach simply couldn't get to in time. Then Nick Punto shot a text-book bunt up the middle to Paul Byrd for the sacrifice.
It was small-ball, as only Gomez would score on a Justin Morneau sac-fly, but it was small-ball at its best.
What's Making Me Lose My Fastball
While I'm on the subject of the Minnesota Twins, why not take a minute to talk about the return of Francisco Liriano.
Making his first start since getting called down months ago, Liriano shutdown the Indians' over six innings to pick up the win. The numbers indicate he was pretty good, but I did see some excessive pitch usage.
That should improve as he goes along though. I wouldn't worry about him working deep into the counts. He did get the strikeout pitches working, so, as long as you aren't giving up runs, it doesn't matter.
However, how about the loss of velocity on his fastball? I've heard that Bert Blyleven, who works the television side for Twins baseball, said Liriano used to clock in around 95-96 MPH.
Sunday, Liriano was throwing 91-92 MPH and has been during his starts in AAA Rochester.
I'm sure the surgery has a lot to do with his loss of velocity, and I don't know if he'll ever get that 96 MPH fastball working again.
It's not like he depended on it though, and it shouldn't hurt him too much in the long run. As long as his slider is working, he'll still be devastating. But, just think about how much more dominant he would be with the extra four to five MPH on his fastball.
What I Am Randomly Thinking About
My thoughts are out there to the family and friends of Skip Caray. The legendary Atlanta Braves announcer passed away in his sleep on Sunday. Caray is the son of Cubs legend Harry Caray and father of current TBS play-by-play man Chip Caray.
I love baseball play-by-play guys and Skip is one of the legends.
Speaking of legendary and the Caray family, Will Ohman did his best Harry Caray/Will Ferrell impression the other week. Mark..Tex..Tex.. Mark is batting third! I want to sign Will Ohman in the offseason just for this video.
How about the Twins' fans throwing trash onto the field at Ozzie Guillen? Is Ozzie an instigator or what? The guy is always drawing attention to himself and away from his team. Most of the time, it is pretty smart, but sometimes, he goes a little overboard.
I'm on his side in the Kansas City/Chicago fight though. Olivo was just looking for a fight. There is no way Ozzie would have brought in a reliever just to plunk someone.
And like he said, if he did do that, he would have brought in Octavio Dotel. I would have brought in Jermaine Dye from right field, personally.
The Dodgers' historic stadium will be hosting next year's World Baseball Classic championships. That was a totally random fact that segue’s me into telling you to catch my United States Baseball coverage.
The U.S. Baseball team wraps up their four-game exhibition series with Canada on Monday night, and that will be the first of many reports on the team as they chase for the gold at the 2008 Olympics.
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