I know that Orlando Palmeiro really isn’t a particularly good baseball player and is at the end of his career. I know that the Astros HAVE to assemble some sort of bench. I know that I have complained about the leadness of Mark Loretta’s glove and that his bat fades in the second half of the year if too heavily used in the first half.
But for the life of me, I can NOT understand why this club is so eager to throw Mike Lamb out on his butt. All I can think is that they want new guys on the team because the guys on the team last year lost.
Ed Wade has signed ex-Astro, Geoff Blum, a 34 year old switch hitting utility infielder – almost all games played at second, short and third with a couple in the OF and at first. He was last on the team in 2003, when Jimy Williams had him (for some unknown reason) platooning with Mo Ensberg back when Mo was good, in fact, was incredibly better than Blum. He was traded at the end of that year for Brandon Backe – yet another great Gerry Hunsicker pick up.
Anyway,since then, he has posted OPS of .614, .696., .656 and .685 which are OPS+ of 61, 72, 75 and 84. Or (according to Lee Sinins) RCAA of -11/478 PA, -12/252 PA, -11/299 PA and -8/370 PA. Or a lifetime line of .251/.312/.386/.699. His 162 game seasonal averages are 473 AB, 40 BB, 80 K, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 7-8 GIDP, 55 RBI and 55 runs scored. And fans are complaining about Everett????
– batting righty, lifetime line – .233/.295/.380/.675
– batting lefty, lifetime line – .256/.317/.388/.709
Mark Loretta, a righty, had -6 RCAA/511 PA with a line of .287/.352/.372/.724 with 23 doubles and 5 homers, 52 RS and 41 RBI.
Mike Lamb, a lefty, had 10 RCAA over 355 PA, with a line of .289/.339/.427/.819 with 14 doubles, 3 triples and 11 homers with 36 BB and 41 K. Yes, I know he can only play third and first and yes I know that he hits leftys VERY well.
Now I will admit that both Lamb and Loretta are terrible gloves, but Blum is not even league average at any position with the glove. Yes, I know he’s a much cheaper substitute for Loretta + Lamb, but he’s basically Eric Bruntlett with a lesser glove and a smaller paycheck. We need SOMEbody on the bench who can hit. Besides, Wiggy SHOULD be platooned: .848 OPS against leftys, .749 against rightys. You notice that both numbers are greater than Blum’s, right?
The supposed party line from the Organization is that both Lamb and Loretta are looking for starting positions and multi-year contracts. I must have read a kabillion A-Rod/Miggy Cabrera/Mike Lowell columns over the past few months which discuss all of the other options that teams have for third basemen and not a single one has mentioned Mike Lamb as a possible starting third baseman. He’s been tabbed as a platoon guy/bench hitter and at his age, he’s not likely to shake that one off.
Loretta is basically a singles hitter who doesn’t strikeout very much, but he couldn’t get ANY starting job last year and that was coming off an ALL-STAR (oh that is SOOOOOOO meaningful, playing for the popular kids) season. So exactly who is it that is dying to give these guys these multi-year contracts for regular jobs?
Answer – NOBODY!!! This is just flat out cheapness, getting crappy guys for peanuts to reduce payroll to maximize profits for McLane, let’s be real here.
Neither the players nor the mainstream media writers are saying much of anything about the fact that MLB pulled in over six BILLION dollars in income this year, forcing Bud Selig to admit that MLB is doing well, and that the players are taking only 41% of that sum (unlike every other professional team sport, in which the players take home well over 50% of the total take) which you best believe Bud Selig isn’t talking about. Only 7 years ago, the players took home 56% of the take. All I hear are complaints about the greedy ballplayers and their enormous salaries – so why am I not hearing complaints about the greedy OWNERS who keep increasing ticket prices in spite of the fact that their increasing percent of the take is enabling them to make much more money???!!!
The local Houston reporters barely mentioned last year that the Astros lowered payroll and they have barely mentioned that they are lowering it again this year in spite of the fact that they are raising ticket prices.
With the exception of the Mets and Cubs, all the National League clubs have lowered payroll over the past 4 years, but it has happened without much of any mention in the media. It seems as if most of the clubs have decided that all they need to do is make the playoffs and that they can do that with 85 or so wins, so why bother to actually have a great club?
It’s all about screwing the players, my friends, and the MLBPA has taken a seriously bad hit with all the steroid stuff, not just because they didn’t pretend to have a drug policy, as the NFL does, but because they didn’t protest the appointment of George Mitchell, a career politician who is on the board of directors of both ESPN and the Red Sox, as the person who is supposed to ferret out all the horrible ballplayers since time immemorial (since the last strike, that is) who – shudder – used drugs. Well, anabolic steroids (even before it was against MLB rules to used them, instituted in 2005.) And Growth Hormone, let’s not forget that evil drug, which turns Mario Mendozas into Barry Lamar Himself.
Between finally indicting Barry Lamar, the only ballplayer who ever did steroids or HGH (so they say), the epitome of everything that is wrong with baseball (except for Scott Boras, who commits the unspeakable act of trying to fulfill his clients wishes of getting the biggest contract/endorsements they possibly can.) You don’t see anyone heaping the kinds of invective and abuse upon roids users who have actually been caught with positive tests such as Ryan Franklin and JC Romero, do you?
Why am I mentioning all this? For the simple reason that the owners have FINALLY figured out how to make the ballplayers look bad to the public so they can get away with paying them less and keeping more of the profit for themselves while continuing to raise ticket prices.
Me, I am hoping the MLBPA will have the good sense to try to seek out some of the more reasonable mainstreamers and provide figures showing that the owners are making more of the profit and they are making less, so perhaps the owners will have to wait a little bit before crying poverty and continuing to make tickets too expensive for all but the corporations and the very rich and blaming it on the very people who are providing the entertainment.
I hear tell that McLane is planning on lowering the payroll again this year to 80 mill (approximately) in spite of the fact that the Astros pulled in over 3 million fans last year and in spite of the fact that he’s raising ticket prices. Let’s start demanding to know why he won’t sign decent bench players for a couple mill instead of the Blums and Abercrombies of the world. Yes, I know we don’t have anyone to trade for Miggy Cabrera or even Tejada, so I’m not complaining about that. And yes I am GLAD we didn’t sign either Linebrink or Cordero.
But we can’t get rid of 2 of the 5 guys on the team (Luke Scott and Mike Lamb) who actually had positive RCAA and still expect to actually score runs.
And what makes me sad is all the people who feel optimistic because Ed Wade, unlike Purpura, is doing SOMEthing, ANYthing…