Archive for December, 2010

12/30/10: Sportswriters Talk About Bagwell’s HOF Chance; Bagwell Talks About Steroids

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

I knew I said that I wasn’t going to post until after the new year, but my Mama told me to go and read Jerry Crasnick’s interview with Baggy, who didn’t exactly speak in any sort of cliches. I’m proud of the guy – he’s talked more openly about his opinions about steroids and weightlifting and roiding baseball players than any other real Hall of Fame candidate who is busy either decrying the McGwires of the world as EVIL or puffing himself up with innocence (Saint Dale Murphy). I think it took some serious, uh, guts (ahem) to dare to say what he says about players and performance enhancers.

My favorite excerpt?

“People can say anything they want about Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, but it was fun to watch. Barry Bonds is the best player I’ve ever seen. He would stand on first base and say, ‘If they throw that pitch again, I’m taking them deep.’ Then guess what? The next at-bat, he would take them deep. He could steal a base anytime he wanted to steal a base, and he was always safe. I’ve only seen three or four people who could ever do that. No matter what anybody says about Barry or Mark, who I love to death, they were great players and they were fun to watch.”

And you KNOW that LOTS of people will use that statement as proof positive that Bagwell used roids and is too cowardly to admit it and then do the right thing and commit suicide, or something, because of the enormity of the depravity of this heinous crime of using (shudder) some chemical to either heal injuries, get better, or continue playing.

Check out the rest of the interview.

I know there are the Jeff Pearlmans of the world who absolutely INSIST that Bagwell is positively guilty of using steroids because he lifted weights, played first base and hit home runs (and as we all know, no male is capable of adding any muscle weight merely by lifting weights) and because he wasn’t an outspoken critic of roids who demanded that testing be implemented (like his “twin” Frank Thomas) or declared innocent for some unknown reason, like Jim Thome. Fortunately, Pearlman doesn’t have a HOF vote.

(UPDATE 45 minutes later): I swear to GOD that I wrote what I wrote about Pearlman BEFORE I read what he said about Bagwell on his blog. And dammed if he didn’t say almost word for word exactly what I thought he’d say. If you hit home runs, if you did not look when you finished your career exactly as skinny as you looked when you were 21, if, in fact, you lifted weights, if you did not loudly demand steroid testing – and best I know, Frank Thomas was the only active player who did – then you MUST be presumed guilty of steroid use. I wonder if Pearlman knows that not all steroid users put on muscle weight that is obvious – see Manny Alexander/Alex Sanchez. I wonder if Pearlman is going to just come out with a blanket condemnation of every single player during 93-05 who didn’t loudly demand steroid testing – and if so, why not. And I also wonder when he is going to start accusing Carlton Fisk and Mickey Tettleton of being steroid users seeing as how they claim that they only put on all that muscle weight later in their careers from lifting weights. And I sure nuff would like to know who all these known steroid users on the Astros were from 95 to 04 (remembering that Caminiti was gone in 95 and was no longer friends with Bagwell/Biggio due to his alcoholism)…

I know that some HOF voters are refusing to vote for ANY player who played during the steroid ERA and will only consider candidates whose career ended before 1993/1994 because they have decided that since they can’t positively KNOW for absolute certain who did and did not use, they are all being presumed guilty.

And here’s what Joe Posnanski, the best baseball writer on the planet (sorry Richard, but not all ballplayers can be Babe Ruth) has to say about Bagwell in his most recent piece:

“…It looks like Bagwell will fall well short. And I can only come up with two somewhat related reasons:

1. The crazy offensive Selig Era has made us jaded about spectacular offensive numbers. That’s understandable, I guess. Bagwell’s six seasons of 39-plus home runs would have seemed otherworldly twenty years ago. After all, that’s as many as Willie Mays had, more than Mickey Mantle had, as many as Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt COMBINED. But the Selig Era has taken the jolt out of those numbers, in part because of steroids but also in part because we simply have grown numb after seeing home run after home run after home run after home run.

2. Jeff Bagwell — though he never tested positive for steroids, never was implicated in any public way, was not named in the Mitchell Report or by anyone on the record as a suspected user, and is not even on this rather comprehensive list of players linked to steroids or HGH — seems to have become in some voter’s minds a player who used performance enhancing drugs.

I can’t even begin to describe my disgust at No. 2 … it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach….

Check out the rest of his article. Pos is so good that I even read his non-baseball blog entries just for the pleasure of reading his writing.

12/15/10: Bloggus Interruptus

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I will be taking a break from posting until after the New Year.

I hear tell that Drayton has ordered Fast Eddie to cut the payroll to 60-70 mill. No luck trading Clank or Keppinger, so Wandy, Pence and Bourn are on the trading block.

Not real too surprised. Hopefully, we’ll have new owners soon, but yeah, youneverknow how THEY will be.

Also, I’ll post this here link to Kevin Goldstein’s assessment of the Astros minor league system. Let me just say that he’s more positive than I am…

So everyone, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Fun Winter Holiday Time and blessings to yall.

12/14/11: Red Sox Sign Carl Crawford: Astros Sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Rats. Thought I’d posted this a few days ago, but guess not.

I know that except for the mystifying aquisition of Clint Barmes and his 64 OPS+ for somewheres around 4-5 million smackeroos, that this team is on a mission to lower payroll a LOT, to somewhere between 65 and 70 mill with only Clank’s 19 millstone and the ol WB’s 12 mill applicable to 2012.

At the winter meetings, Ed Wade spent a lot of time chasing Jeff Francis but ended up signing Seattle cast-off LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith for 750K to compete for the 5th spot. Not sure if it is Nelson Figueroa or Bud Norris who should be getting nervous. Ed Wade also tossed a few bucks to snag a few Rule V pitchers – more on them in a minute,

Rowland-Smith is a rarity in MLB – he’s Australian, signed as a FA by the Mariners in 2000. He was used as both a reliever and a starter in each of his minor league seasons. He was called up in 07 and threw 38.2 innings over 26 games with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP and 3.5 BB/9 and 9.8 K/9.

In 08, he appeared in 35 games over 46 innings with a 3.30 ERA and started 12 games, averaging 6 IP/GS with a 3.50 ERA. Not bad at all and Seattle, mired in the depths of suckage, sure nuff needed a good starter. Damm, they used to be a really good team – not sure what happened there but sure looks like nobody hits in that stadium and pitchers don’t thrive in spite of Safeco being a pitchers’ park.

In 09, he got hurt the first game of the year, and after he got off the DL, took a while to rehab at AAA, but did quite well when he came back, throwing 93 innings over 15 games (6 IP/GS) with a 3.74 ERA/1.18 WHIP.

I should note that as a starter, his strikeout rate is incredibly low for a ML starter – in 08, it was 2.75 (no, I am not kidding) and in 09 it was 4.9 K/9 IP. His walk rate isn’t bad, 2.5 – 3.5 BB/9, but if he doan get no defense, he ain’t gonna do real too good. He wasn’t homeriffic, giving up about 1 HR/9 IP.

Then came last year, which was, um, not good. He started 20 games and relieved in 7, with a record of 1-10. Yeah, I’m not big on win-loss, but I am posting this merely to point out how they used Paulino’s W-L as an excuse for dumping him for crap, but they signed Rowland-Smith for 750K. Then again, Fast Eddie just might could have found hisself that extra LOOGY he been dreamin about. Anyhow, Ryan started 20 games over 101.1 IP with a 6.93 ERA – 40 K, 41 BB, 24 HR, 130 H. That’s B-A-D BAD. He threw 8 innings over 6 games in relief, striking out 1, walking 1, giving up 3 ER. Yeah, small sample size. He went on the DL with a “strained back” at the end of July after giving up 11 runs over 5 innings to the White Sox (here and I thought that was something only Brandon Backe did. Yeah Jennings gave up 11 runs, but that was over 1.1 innings) then started 6 games at AAA in August/Sept, with stats almost as ugly, except his strikeout rate was considerably higher.

Well, when it comes to pitchers, youneverknow about these “injuries” – was he hurt the whole year and was too macho to say so? Did he go on the DL suffering from oversuck? Or is it just that most ML pitchers can’t succeed if they routinely have a K rate of less than 5? Well, at least he’s cheap and he can relieve.

Youneverknow.

Fast Eddie also picked up a couple of Rule V pitchers (and his only ability is to pick up decent pitchers offn the scrap heaps – he didn’t do too badly with Wesley Wright who, I admit, was no Joakim Soria. But I digress…) They are apparently also competitors for that vaunted 5th spot…

First Lance Pendleton, homeboy from Kingwood, picked in the 4th round of the 05 draft by the Yanks. He was hurt for all of 06 and almost all of 07, so he essentially started his minor league career in 08. His A/A+/AA record is pretty good: 88 GS, 14 in relief over 438 IP: 3.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 0.5 HR/9. He also threw 34 innings at AAA last year – not quiiiite as good. More homers, more hits, fewer K. Which is what you’d expect. Dude would have to pitch pretty darn well to beat out BOTH Bud Norris and Figgy (as well as the relievers Fast Eddie is pimping for the rotation as well) but really, youneverknow.

The other Rule V guy is a 23 year old righty from the DR, Aneury Rodriguez, originally in the Colorado system, spent last year in the Rays’ AAA club – started 17, relieved in 10 finished 7. Overall ERA of 3.80, WHIP 1.35, 3.9 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 8.2 hits/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Doesn’t look like much, but then again, youneverknow.

2010 Winter Meetings: Apparently, Ed Wade Doesn’t Intend To Play Young Guys

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

I hear tell that Fast Eddie is telling folks at the Winter Meetings that Clank IS going to play first base (if he can’t trade him to some dumbass AL team) and that Bret Wallace could use another year at AAA. Yeah, he needs another year at AAA like he needs to gain 30 pounds in his butt.

Oh – and get THIS – he is trying to trade Jeff Keppinger because his 105 OPS+ is too unsatisfactory at second base, unlike, say, Clint Barmes and his 67 OPS+ and it can’t be because Keppinger is arb eligible and due a raise from 1.15 mill because Barmes is gonna make 3 times that, easily.

And he’s trying to move Matt Lindstrom and his 1.65 mill because he is arb eligible. True that he was hurt in the second half and uck-sayed. I get that. BUT, get this:

Instead of playing Bogusevic, a lefty hitting LF, he’s trying to sign Jeremy Hermida, who hasn’t hit well since 2007, who was dumped by the Marlins and failed with the Red Sox and Athletics, is a lousy fielder at all 3 positions, and cost over 3 mill last year. Oh yeah – and Ryan Church, who was a VERY good player until he was injured during the 08 season and was so lousy that he was traded for Jeff Francoeur. He has subsequently failed with the Braves, Pirates and Diamondbacks. Interestingly enough, Hermida and Church have very high similarity scores on Baseball-reference.com.

So riddle me this – why, WHY “slash payroll” by getting rid of a middle infielder who can actually HIT, replacing him with one who can’t who is MORE expensive, and why bother to have a “youth movement” when you insist on continuously signing the Cory Sullivans of the world?

Oh yeah – and I also hear tell that Fast Eddie is chasing after Jeff Francis (who used to be good before he was hurt) and HE is hardly a “youth movement” or going to be cheap.

sigh

Man I hope this franchise gets sold right quick and Tal Smith and Fast Eddie get an immediate pink slip. I’m tired of their stuff.

12/6/10: Jeff Bagwell, Steroids And The Hall Of Fame

Monday, December 6th, 2010

As we all know, Jeff is up for election to the Hall of Fame this year, for the first time. For reasons unclear to me, he is on the Steroid Suspect List – not Sammy Sosa high (and there is absolutely zero evidence to put Sammy on there except that he hit home runs) – but there just the same.

The previous post I wrote about this subject (Bryant Gumbel demanding that Bagwell just admit he used roids) is THE most clicked on entry since I started writing this blog over 6 years ago. Yes, including every entry written during the playoffs and World Series. I got LOTS of comments, most of which I had to delete for libel and/or bad language – most of which said something like, cmon you idiot female, why deny it, your HEEEEro used and you KNOW it and you won’t admit it because you are an Astros fan.

sigh

I don’t have ANY trouble admitting that someone used if I have even the slightest shred of PROOF. For example, I freely admit that Miguel Tejada lied about using. Miguel Tejada used steroids. There. I said it.

Lemme guess – that is not good enough because he is “an Astros Icon” – like that is something that makes me completely unable to say he used steroids if he did.

sigh

What is the evidence that Bagwell used?

1 – he got bigger

You’re kidding me, right? That is too stupid. In the mid 90s after the strike, EVERYONE started lifing weights like crazy because, let’s be honest here, everyone thought that bigger = better, roids or no roids. Bagwell was known to be an avid weightlifter – that does NOT make him a roider. I turst that no one is going to insist that no adult male who lfts weights for several hours a day for months is capable of adding muscle weight without using roids. Even FEMALES can add muscle weight by lifting without using roids. And Bagwell did not exactly change from scrawny to Ahnold overnight (see Lenny Dykstra)

2 – he had big forearms

Please. He wasn’t exactly Ted Kluzewski. Or even Steve Garvey.

3 – He was on the same team as Luis Gonzalez and Ken Caminiti.

Good grief. Caminiti started using in 96, 2 YEARS after he left the team. Luis Gonzalez left in 95. Are people insisting that Luis was using in 95? He didn’t hang with Baggy and they weren’t workout pals. So even IF Gonzalez started using after he went to the Cubs, that has like WHAT to do with Bagwell?

4 – He was a first baseman and he hit home runs and Mark McGwire was a first baseman who hit home runs and HE used so if McGwire hit home runs and used, then Bagwell must have.

Uh hunh.

Then exactly WHY is Frank Thomas not being tarred with that brush? He was a first baseman, hit home runs, and gained weight after he hit the majors at age 22. Oh, because he was outspoken against using? I see. That must be significant because no one who has ever loudly spoken out against something has been found to be guilty of doing exactly what he/she was speaking out against, right? (See whatshisname the minister who loudly opposed gay rights/gay marriage and was discovered to have hired male prostitutes.) Anyway, Baggy isn’t the speaking up kind of guy. Check what he said to the media – all stuff like – we gotta play em one day at a time. Well, I was just up there lookin for a pitch to hit.

5 – he stated that he took the LEGAL, over the counter in any store supplements creatine and androstenedione. Mark McGwire took andro AND he took roids so therefore Bagwell MUST have done roids if he took andro.

Yes, because shooting up with dangerous illegal drugs is the same as taking stuff you buy in a GNC. Neither of which were against any rules. Or considered “cheating” by anyone. And there is exactly ZERO proof that the use of oral androstenedoine by young healthy adult male athletes does absolutely ANYTHING to grow muscles, increase endurance, sharpen focus, or improve athletic performance in ANY way.

6 – He hit home runs in the Astrodome but he didn’t hit any at AA, therefore he must have been shooting up.

In 1991? Back when he was “skinny”? You’re kidding me, right?

7 – Cmon you dumb female. He played during the steroid era. He was good AND he hit home runs. AND he had to retire early because of arthritis. Therefore, he MUST have done roids.

Retiring early because of arthritis means you did drugs? You mean like Sandy Koufax? Oh, no, NOT like Sandy Koufax because Sandy didn’t hit home runs. Ah, I see. Anyone who is not been designated as “clean” for absolutely NO reason, who hit home runs, who lifted weights LIKE EVERY OTHER PLAYER, must be guilty of shooting up.

Sorry, this is all too stupid. There is no more reason to believe that Bagwell did roids than anyone else and tarring everyone with the same brush, regardless or evidence, is mere petulance, frippery (nice big words, eh?) and sour grapes. Bagwell is not associated with any known steroid distributor, he didn’t pay for steroids with a check like our old friend Miggy Tejada, he didn’t work out with known roiders, he never had a positive test (including the infamous supposed secret 2003 list – then again, Barry Bonds wasn’t on that list either and we all KNOW he shot up.)

Fact is that Bagwell, “short” career and all is most certainly a Hall of Famer. To say that he can’t be because he was never the “best” at his position is like complaining that Duke Snider has no business in the Hall because Willie Mays was better.

12/4/10: Now Playing LF, Batting 5th For St Louis, Lance Berkman

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

sigh

It’s gonna be awful hard watching Lance play in a Cards uni while we suffer with El Perezoso sucking at first base. I heard tell that Fast Eddie is looking for a good lefty bat to play LF and WANTS to play in Houston and would take a 1`year contract and is relatively cheap and

nevermind

Have I mentioned that as bad as his year was last year, Lance STILL had an OPS+ of 122?

Wanna bet that if Lance rebounds now that his legs are healthy and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long (NOT Jeff Bagwell) fixed his swing that we gonna hear all kinds of nasty remarks from Astros fans saying stuff like – Lance didn’t even try his last few years and look at him now. Or, he didn’t hit like that since 08 and he is the reason we are now a losing team stuck with Fast Eddie.

IF he rebounds, maybe the East Coast media will actually give him some face – he’s one of the best switch hitters to play in the past 50 years.