Monday, March 15, 2010

"Chinos and Cartigans"

It's been almost ten weeks since Pat JD'ed out and took an extended vacation to the tropics, so in order to break up this interminable winter, the big guy is back. Apparently tickets to Aruba were too expensive this time, so he had to settle for Florida. He'll allegedly be back next week.

Meanwhile, much to our delight, we have enough data from spring training games to talk about something! Now, perhaps the most memorable moment in the history of How Youz Doin Baseball was when we got an anonymous comment about how foolish we are for looking at stats from meaningless spring training games because we're sitting in "chinos and cartigans" and know nothing about baseball. I'm sure our guy played high school baseball and therefore knows everything. It's a shame because our man has probably stopped reading altogether.

I don't like to rely on these stats unless Coco Crisp is hitting .600 and therefore I can put together a harebrained argument about how he's the best player in baseball. However, I feel like looking at some of these numbers are relevant in certain cases. Mark Wagner's batting average--probably not. Lars Anderson starting the biggest season of his life with an 0-18? Yeah, maybe. But David Ortiz's 1-for-spring training has to be tripping some alarms.

Ortiz has been doing a lot of talking for, well, the last year or so. A lot of talking and not much hitting. A year ago, people still believed Santa Claus was real (i.e. Ortiz wasn't on steroids during the good part of his career). He was talking about how people on roids should get banned for a whole year upon a positive test. He looked slimmer and in shape a year ago. Then he decided to turn into Shane Monahan for the first two months of the season. The Red Sox miraculously stuck with the guy despite the fact that he was very literally costing the team several games. We know what happened after that: He showed up on the List of 104, he became a private eye to try to figure out why, he admitted being irresponsible with his use of vitamins and supplements, and he had a very, very good second half of the season.

Now, in 2010, you can at least hope that there isn't as much leeway for David Ortiz. A year ago we wondered if he was too old, and while June-September indicated he was NOT too old, he is now an additional year older. He showed up to spring training even slimmer and admitted he was a slow starter, which looked like a built-in excuse to suck until Flag Day. The fact that he is 1-17 doesn't make things any better for those who realize that the baseball season is 162 games, not 90 games, and being the worst player in the American League from April to June is not a good way to keep your job.

Francona's got a pretty long leash for players who forget how to play baseball, and this is one of his biggest shortcomings. But the team has Mike Lowell on the bench, and Lowell hit .290 last year. Putting Lowell at DH would relieve the problems associated with his post-injury defensive woes. He could most likely throw up 25 home runs if he had a full-time DH gig.

But really what the bottom line is, David Ortiz is pulling off the same stuff he pulled the first half of last year. Striking out a lot, never hitting, and grounding into double plays. Sure, the spring training games don't count, but maybe this can be where Ortiz can practice not sucking. How long should the Red Sox wait for Santa Claus this year? Their offense is already going to be lackluster: How long can they afford to wait for Santa Claus this year? If Santa Claus is going to take the first half of the season off again, he should have a very short leash, as Lowell is a very capable DH for this team. The team's going to be paying both of their salaries anyway: Why not maximize production by benching the inferior ballplayer? Loyalty to something that happened artificially in 2004? Give me a break.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

A few things...

First, where can I sign up for Featherston's life? My goodness does that kid have it made.

Secondly, I've always maintained that if you're going to insult someone verbally, it behooves you to do it in a grammatically correct manner. If you do it in writing, you probably want to know how to spell 'cardigan' the right way.

Third, I'm not big into spring training numbers in general, but like you, I'm concerned about the guys who struggled last year. Sure, it doesn't hurt the Sox if Ortiz doesn't get any hits in March, but you'd like to see him out there hitting the ball on the nose and looking like a guy who is ready to start strong.

Lastly, it's crazy think about it, but we're three weeks away from the start of the season. At least for me, this winter without Sox baseball seemed to go a lot faster because of this blog. So big thanks to you and Pat for that.

--the Gunn

the gm working from home said...

Gunn,

No kidding on Pat's life. Since I moved back to Boston, Pat has gone to Ireland at least once, Aruba, and Florida. I have taken seven JD days total. But I've heard you have to be Superman to survive the first year of law school.

I really wish I knew who the "cartigan" guy was. I mean, I know that by having this blog in the first place, I subject myself to that kind of treatment, but I'm just curious. I bet it was a high school baseball player. I really enjoy also how I've experienced more success as an athlete than 99% of those meatheads out there.

According to a Herald article yesterday, non-Sox viewpoints are saying Ortiz is looking good. Six strikeouts and at least one GIDP in nineteen at-bats doesn't look too good to me. And anyone can look good in batting practice. I'm not going to proclaim Santa's death because he went 1-19, but it'll keep me up at night.

Talking about the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders is enough to make any winter go by faster. I'm glad we can help. If you couldn't tell, if you have teams with a plan or some kind of stability (which both teams do, more or less), it can be hard to find things to talk about.

Anonymous said...

DV,

Of course there is a difference between "looking good" and being effective. I mean just look at the Gunn's jump shot. Oh wait bad example.

Regarding Pat's life, I don't think any of us were ever under the illusion that Pat was

a) Blue Collar
b) Tough in any way, shape, or form.

While pre-season is necessary, it seems like a lose/lose scenario for the players. If you play well that doesn't matter because it's not real. if you suck then everyone panics.

bandi

the gm working from home said...

Bandi,

Good call on the no-win situation. Can't disagree with that at all. Obviously, the big guy can't have the plug pulled on him in the preseason, but if he continues to struggle as greatly as he has been, you gotta think Mike Lowell should be this team's DH.

Anonymous said...

DV

Aside from how painful it would be to know the Sox would be spending $25 million on a two-headed DH, what would be the shame in platooning Ortiz and Lowell? Play match-ups and left-right with those guys if Ortiz doesn't kill it at the start. And it's not like having a $25 million DH is that bad when you think about the fact that the Sox are paying Daisuke, JD Drew, and Julio Lugo $31 million this year.

--the Gunn

the gm working from home said...

Gunn,

Makes perfect sense to me. BTW, Ortiz has two hits today including a home run. That's good news.

jason said...

I don't know why Pat going on vacation really matters, I know I wouldnt turn down one if I had the opportunity to go. The biggest thing brought up in this post is definitely the chance of Lowell stepping up and dhing, it would be interesting to see if the organization would go through with that instead of just continuing to shaft Lowell.

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

To add to your point- the scenario earlier in the offseason involved us paying most of Lowell's salary anyway just to have him gone. It's almost like you're either paying $25 million for just Ortiz, or $25 million for Lowell and Ortiz.

Jason- of course Pat going on vacation has nothing to do with anything...other than the fact that Pat is a big stain and it's fun to give him a hard time.

Bandi