Friday, March 12, 2004

All right, so Ibanez will be hitting cleanup.

Now, I'm not one to suggest that minor changes to the lineup are really that important - and does anyone think that this lineup will last more than a few games, anyway - but I'd like to volunteer Sodo Oh No to run a series of DiamondMind simulations with different Mariner lineups to see how they differ in average production.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Is there such thing as a Campbell's Soup Curse?

Terrell Davis did an ad, then blew out his knee. Kurt Warner did one, and promptly got benched and placed in the team's dog house. Donovan McNabb did one, and while he came out of it ok, it was certainly a tumultuous journey. And now John Lynch gets released by Tampa Bay after running an ad of his own.
The verdict is in:

Todd Bertuzzi will miss the rest of the season. Playoffs included. Before next year (if it exists), he will meet with Gary Bettman to determine whether or not he can play again.

It took some major balls to suspend Bertuzzi for the playoffs, but it is the right move, and I applaud the NHL for making the right decision. Good luck to the Canucks, who will be without their second-best player for the duration of the 2003-2004 campaign.
Fire Bavasi is proud to host the first of two Will Carroll Q & A's regarding his Team Health Report. The transcript is as follows:

Fire Bavasi: For 18 months fans across the globe have been gawking, "What the hell happened to Freddy Garcia." So over the winter we're thrown the bone that his eardrums burst. In what capacity can this injury explain his spiral and how should having them surgically repaired affect his pitching next year?

Will Carroll: No, not really. I'm not up on all the reports of his night life, so I'm not sure how we classify that. He's talented, he's had results in the past, so I'm not sure what it is. I don't buy the idea that he's "lost it" - something's different, we just don't know what.

FB: Ryan Anderson has apparently decided to give side-arming a shot. Has there ever been a precursor to this kind of decision, or is the Little Unit something of a pioneer?

WC: Mechanically, there's no real difference. He's stressing his cuff a bit differently, but ASMI has done some great work on kinematics and sidewinders are no different, believe it or not. Give me a week with him and I'll fix him.

FB: Do you think this weird tear duct problem Aurilia was having is behind him? Have you ever had to report on a tear duct problem before?

WC: No, that's a first. I really don't know much about it, but anything affecting vision has to be taken very seriously. I'm beginning to wonder if there's some sort of curse at SS in Safeco! Tuberculosis? Come on!

FB: As long as you’re giving certain older players a yellow light “on principle,” how can Dan Wilson escape with a green light? You’d think that 35 year old catchers would be considered an automatic health risk.

WC: Well, 'on principle' is kind of snarky. Really, older players do tend to get hurt only slightly more than younger players, they just recover more slowly and that increases the risk. More lost playing time = bad things for a real or fantasy team.

With Wilson, he's always been relatively healthy for a catcher and with the platoon, he doesn't get overworked and can take days off for small injuries. I'm surprised more teams don't platoon their catchers. Of all positions, there's probably a bigger gain there than anywhere else, at least in injury risk. Add in that catchers tend to not hit as well, so incremental gains mean more.

FB: Jeff Heaverlo was kept away from a mound for a few days in late February for mild discomfort in his right shoulder. After an ineffective year at Tacoma, should there be concerns over his recovery from a torn shoulder labrum two years ago?

WC: I have to claim ignorance. Its very tough to keep up with minor league injuries due to numbers and how hard it is to get consistent info. Luckily, M's fans have a ton of great sites (like this one!) that keep them in the loop.

FB: Does it strike you as disconcerting when injuries to a vast assortment of minor league arms (Meche, Anderson, Heaverlo, Thornton, Baek…) seem to have been preventable? Maybe a better question would be: are Seattle’s organizational physicians practicing legitimately modern medicine, or do they mirror the philosophy of the front office and bleed young arms with leeches?

WC: It is very problematic. Seattle has a good staff - there's no staff that isn't qualified and hard working, but certainly you have to question the results. I also have to seriously question the organization. They're obviously not doing all they can. Is it the coaching? The workload? Would they be served by bringing some of their pitchers to ASMI or NPA? How about the tandem starter system that a couple teams use in the low minors? A modern four man? Someone needs to buy a box of my upcoming book and send it to the M's.

FB: The matter of Gil Meche’s late-season condition has been the subject of much controversy over the winter. While people will point out his mid-90s velocity in late September, Meche didn’t fall apart in the second half due to a lack of talent. A statistical comparison between his first and second halves show a slightly higher walk rate after the All Star Break, but also a slight improvement in the strikeout department. His hits and home runs allowed spiked, however, which brings me to this: to what degree can “missing your spots” be considered a consequence of fatigue? Is velocity really the best indicator of a pitcher’s health?

WC: Velocity is the best indicator of FATIGUE and fatigue leads to injury. If a pitcher's mechanics hold up, he'll end up tired or "dead armed." If not, he ends up meeting Jim Andrews or Neil El Attrache. A quick rule is "shoulder is velocity, elbow is control." Meche was obviously working harder in the second half and I have to point at Bryan Price for not controlling his workload. Meche is still re-learning how to pitch and efficiency needs to be his next lesson.

FB: So Rafael Soriano’s oblique injury was quickly diagnosed as worse than originally expected. Given that the typical timetable for recovery from this kind of injury can be anywhere between two weeks and two months, and that it can become a lingering problem, what kind of exercises will Soriano need to do so that the injury never comes back?

WC: Obliques are evil. He's a skinny kid, so I hope he's doing some form of core training. I also hope that he's on a big time flexibility program. It's one of the ignored secrets of baseball that flexible players are healthy players. Ask Rickey Henderson.

FB: You didn’t expect to get out of this without a Snelling question, did you? Everybody knows that Snelling is injury-prone, and it’s beginning to have an undesirable effect on his prospect ranking. Yet, given that the majority of his injuries have been the result of freak accidents (broken hand, broken wrist, broken ankle, busted knee…), is there hope for an catastrophe-free future, or is Snelling doomed to the perennially unlucky path pioneered by Mika Hakkinen?

WC: Prone? He's nearly in Sandy Alomar territory before even establishing himself in the majors. Someone needs to figure out if he can run at less than full bore. No diving, avoid walls, wear garlic around his neck. There's always hope, but Snelling's comparisons to Dykstra seem all too apt now.

FB: Again, many thanks for doing this. Both the author and readers of Fire Bavasi ( are forever indebted to you, or something.

WC: Hey, thanks for giving me the space. The best part of my job is meeting good people and educating them on how important health is to a winning baseball program. No one wins games from the DL.

I am very gracious that Mr. Carroll took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, his Team Health Reports on Baseball Prospectus Premium are worth the subscription price by themselves.
As The Wheelhouse has pointed out, I'll also be hosting a little Will Carroll Q & A piece. Given the questions I've received from readers (along with a few personal things of my own) I've already dispatched an email of questions to him concerning his Seattle Team Health Report and a few other matters. His replies will be posted - along with the questions - as soon as I get them.

Also, keep an eye on the Wheelhouse, Texas Rangers Blog, any myself for the upcoming AL West bullpen previews. Athletics Nation, ever ahead of the game, already posted his bit.
Fun stat of the day:

Approximately 4582763459827346529837465% of today's visitors to my site arrived here while searching for a video of Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore.

Look, guys, if you haven't seen the hit enough in the last two days, then you can find it on (Motion required) or I'm sure there are others, as well.
Challenge for the Optimist.

But I can't imagine that even those whose sole point is to be contrarian for the sake of it can find anything positive to say about the fight for the last few spots on this roster.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

There is now a police investigation regarding the Bertuzzi incident.

Stay tuned.
Update on the condition of Steve Moore:

Surgery for a fractured vertebrae (broken neck).
I hope you're ready for Dan Wilson: Starting Catcher, because Melvin is already criticizing Ben Davis' pitch selection.
According to, Gary Sheffield won't need surgery and will return within the week.
This might be out of place, but I'd like to express my complete and utter disgust for Todd Bertuzzi and what he did to Steve Moore yesterday. The Canucks had vowed revenge on Moore fo a big hit he put on Markus Naslund on February 16th (which wasn't called for a penalty). Brad May, likely making a reference to Slap Shot, said that there was a bounty on Moore's head.

Well, a day later, nobody's laughing at the joke. Except Marc Crawford, that is, who sat on the bench with a smirk on his face while a player on the opposing team lay motionless on the ice after one of Crawford's own goons ambushed him.

If you think you can stomach it, watch the video of the play. Bertuzzi was trailing Moore, and when Moore turned around to skate down the ice Bertuzzi pulled on his jersey, punched him in the side of the head (from behind) and drove his face down into the ice, knocking Moore unconscious and leaving a puddle of blood on the surface. All Hell immediately broke out on the ice as Colorado didn't much appreciate Bertuzzi's glowing example of cowardice. At first, I was only upset with Bertuzzi for one of the worst cheap shots in hockey history, but after I saw Crawford sitting on the bench with that smug look on his face, I felt sick. Tony Granato was laying into him from the other bench, and Crawford sat there. Smiling. Like he ordered the hit.

Todd Bertuzzi should not play another game this year. Not in the regular season, not in the playoffs. I've lost all respect for the goon, and I hope that when he returns, Peter Worrell has something to say to him.

The Canucks' official website has a section entitled "Ask A Player." Here's how Bertuzzi responded to a question from earlier in the year:

Q: There has been alot of talk maintaining that hockey players have "lost respect" for each other. Do you agree with this or is it merely media hype? Would getting rid of the instigator rule help? – Carolyn B.

A: I don’t think it’s a lack of respect I think it’s guys taking advantage of guys in vulnerable spots that you have seen through out the year and guys have done that. Would I get rid of it, yeah I’d get rid of it. I think that if someone’s gonna play that way they gotta be able to answer the bell themselves.

I hope you're ready to answer the bell, Todd.

The good news:

Bertuzzi has been suspended indefinitely by the league.
Hachi machi.
It's March 9th. Do you know what that means?

It's NHL trade deadline day!

Watch, as the big-market Avalanche, Red Wings, and Maple Leafs acquire more players than they know what to do with! Observe Florida, Washington, and Carolina trade away enough talent so that combining all three teams would still result in a bottom-feeder! Catch all the Steve Webb/Alain Nasreddine trade analysis before it's bumped from the airwaves in favor of Buffalo's Brad Brown acquisition!

It truly is a glorious day.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Good suggestion. The new Yankees' defense = moribund.
So Phil Nevin hurt himself again. News for the weird: he dislocated the same shoulder last year to the day.

It seems like just yesterday that Nevin volunteered himself to be dealt to the Mariners (back in the David Bell years). As such, it's difficult to believe that he's still only 33 years old, and very much a productive offensive player when he's healthy. Unfortunately, said health has been getting less and less frequent over the last few years, to the point at which he accumulated only 226 at bats last year. To make things worse, his injuries, coupled with the arrival of Sean Burroughs, have pushed him to first base, where he faces much stiffer competition in remaining an above-average player. PECOTA thinks that the aches and pains are a permanent feature, pegging Nevin for a comparitively poor line in 312 AB's for 2004, and a lower total each year in the future.

Not really the kind of production San Diego had in mind when they gave him a $34m/4year contract last winter.

In other news, Gary Sheffield also hurt himself. And just like that, the Yankees have reverted right back to an undesirable RF situation (paging Ruben Sierra...). Suddenly, Travis Lee might not feel so useless, as NYY could send Bernie back to the outfield, move Giambi to DH, and Lee to first - although, given their behavior with the Jeter/Rodriguez situation, I wouldn't put it past Torre to stick Lee at DH, so as not to interfere with too much at once.

Not only do the Yankees lose a huge chunk of their offense, but their outfield defense goes from abysmal to...something worse than abysmal (macabre?). Things look pretty good in Boston these days.

It's never a good situation when a roster is constructed with the caveat of "as long as they stay healthy, then-".
Once again, I apologize for the relative lack of updates to this blog; it's been a difficult few weeks, but things should calm down within the next few days, and you may be certain that this site will reflect my increasing amount of free time as it becomes available.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Looks like whatever it is Bavasi's been trying to do worked.

If you ever needed proof that the opinion of the collective fan base isn't accurately reflected by the blogosphere, there you go.
If you didn't already say your goodbyes to Norm Chalton a year and a half ago, you may now do so.
Good times, good times...

Anyone remember that article that linked Quinton McCracken to our backup DH role?

Looks like we could be seeing that sooner than we thought!

I've heard that Greg Colbrunn is available; he'd be a pretty good DH/1B type. Not sure what Arizona would want in return, though.