Notes from around the league
NO YANKEES TONIGHT
What a drag. Although it would have been nice if they Ernie Banks-ed it on Saturday, they pushed the sucker off into the future instead. And thus, a few quick notes on the landscape:
? It was a great week for youth, with Andrew McCutchen, and Gordon Beckham coming up, and Tommy Hanson officially due up on Sunday, and let’s throw in Matt Wieters, who made his debut a week ago today. All ranked among the top 50 or so prospects in the game, and three of the four are closer to the top than the bottom (McCutchen is the least promising of the bunch, but it’s a tough crowd).
? It was more than past time for the Indians to send Fausto Carmona to the Minors. He was wonderful in 2007, but his 2008 was bad and his 2009 has been miserable, with the former’s five walks per nine innings turning into six walks per nine. Carmona can still induce those grounders, but he wasn’t getting the double plays when he needed them, perhaps because he was more likely to pass the batter than get him out. Resultantly, just two of his 12 starts have earned the quality start seal of approval. His 2008 and 2009 combined: 10-13 in 34 starts, 6.10 ERA (including a shutout!), 181.1 innings, 195 hits, 111 walks, 94 strikeouts.
? Billy Butler of the Royals is batting .288/.348/.440, which would be great if he were a shortstop, but it’s not that exciting coming from a first baseman/designated hitter. Butler is only 23, so he could find another gear, but right now he’s Shea Hillenbrand.
? If the Yankees were to bail out on Hideki Matsui before the end of the year, would you be comfortable with it if the reason were that it would allow them to block the Red Sox off of Nick Johnson? Part two of that question is, would it be worth it for the Yankees to get into a prospect bidding war with the Red Sox in order to accomplish that goal?
? It’s sad that the era of making “great man” movies ended 60 years ago, before Paul Muni or Edward G. Robinson could portray Branch Rickey.
? As much as the Orioles have improved their club of late with graduates of the farm system and the occasional perspicacious trade acquisitions (Adam Jones, this means you), they’re still desperate for a quality shortstop. Whoever the next great, or even decent, Orioles shortstop is, he’s not presently in the organization.
? Rumor has the Braves wanting to add Brad Penny, which seems like insurance for the kids. Their rotation has been the least of their problems. Nate McClouth isn’t a great bat; the reason he was a great add for the Braves is that despite this he’s still leaps and bounds above any other outfielder the Braves have played.
? Given their many injuries and lack of organizational depth, by the time the Yankees see the Mets next week they might be starting Wayne Garrett and John Milner again. Parenthetically, Omar Minaya was nuts to put so much faith in former Yankees farmhand Omir Santos. He’s going to be far below the replacement level with the bat when all is said and done. He’s close now, actually … The Mets have played 12 games since Jose Reyes left the lineup, and though they’re 7-5 in those games, they’ve hit .252/.336/.378. We should probably only give them half-credit for their three-game sweep of the Nationals.
? I keep hearing how after Randy Johnson there will be no more 300 game winners forever, but with health (the big caveat for everyone) CC Sabathia is going to have a shot at it. If he averages only 15 wins a year over the duration of his Yankees contract, he’ll hit his mid-30s with something like 220 wins. It would be a steep climb to 300 from there, but not any steeper than Johnson’s. As with the Big Unit, Sabathia is a weird physical specimen, so it’s hard to project his chances of staying healthy into old age.
? “Up” was a terrific picture, and one that will speak more to the adults than the kids, though the kids will dig it, too. Next spring, when people are debating the Academy Awards and this film has been ghettoized in the “Best Animated Film” category, it’s a good bet that no, erm, inanimate film will have been better.
MORE FROM ME
Wholesome Reading has been updated with new entries, and there will be more throughout the weekend. Warning: Politics and fish! I’ll be back here if breaking news demands it, or if I just feel lonely for you.