Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm tired but feel obligated to post something

Hmmm. How to resolve that tension... I know! Another podcast with Cousin Sal! Writing is hard, but talking is really easy. When you've got a voice made for photography and a personality made for solo deep space exploration, there's nothing people want more than to hear you yap at them about nothing for 45 straight minutes. BONUS: some guy who is just like me but somehow less engaging will join me for the podcast and also yap! You're welcome.

Just kidding with all that snarksnarksnarksnark. When I'm tired but feel obligated to write, the actual solution is to do a grab bag post.

Picking on atrociously untalented members of the Chicago media used to be PNoles's thing, but seeing as how we couldn't pay his appearance fee for tonight you're going to have to let me walk you through some snippets of this Phil Rogers disaster. (Shout out to Erik if he's still reading. Now go win another fancy showbiz award and mail it to me, please.)

Talking baseball:

While I appreciate that he leads his article with a statement of its subject matter, I'm pretty sure I would have figured it out within the next six words.

These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.

That's the best opening line in the history of sportswriting. I love it. I'm going to get a tramp stamp tattoo that says it, and somehow work it into a seven letter acronym so I can somehow display it on a vanity license plate.

These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.


These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.

Last one. Promise.

That’s why I really like the Dale Sveum/Theo Epstein dea of giving Alfonso Soriano a shot to hit leadoff again.

But what if Soriano was literally a baseball card? Would he not want to hit leadoff anymore? Would they only use him as a pinch hitter? How unsurprising would it be if Jim Hendry gave a small piece of cardboard a nine figure contract?

Like it or not, the Cubs still owe Soriano $54 million.

I'm pretty sure 0% of Cubs fans like the fact that the team owes him $54 million. I think that figure of speech is better used when it refers to something that the target audience could conceivably like or not like, such as "Like it or not, they're expanding instant replay" or "Like it or not, Dale Sveum is managing your team."

And, like it or not, he’s still one of their most productive hitters.

/checks Soriano's 2011 stats, then checks stats of rest of Cubs likely 2012 lineup

Jesus. As of spring training 2012 he's right. That is truly amazing.

So dropping him down in the batting order, as Lou Piniella and Mike Quade did over the last two years, really accomplishes little other than make angry fans feel better.

Well here's the thing: if you have Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez, like Quade did in 2011, Soriano is no longer "one of your most productive hitters." He's 4th best on the team, and 5th best if Geovany Soto manages to get his head out of his ass. That means Soriano doesn't belong in the middle of the lineup, and with that robust .300ish OBP, he doesn't belong at the top either. Seventh sounds like a pretty good spot for him. So let's rephrase Phil's statement: in addition to making angry fans feel better, dropping Soriano down in the batting order if it's 2011 makes a whole ton of sense. Dropping him down there in 2012 when he inevitably hits something like .250/.290/.440 will still make angry fans feel better, but will have less on field utility since Ian Stewart and Brian Lahair are now playing the infield corners.

Epstein would love for Sveum and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to get more out of Soriano.

And I would love to be an MLB GM, or to talk to a real live woman without first giving her my credit card number.

That might make it possible at some point to trade him to an American League team that could use him as a combination DH/left fielder, a role that clearly suits him better than being a full-time left fielder.

Just pick up something like $48 million of his contract and I think that dream might become a reality.

Pride is always a part of a baseball players’ emotional package, and for a hitter that does have something to do with where his name is written on the lineup card. The most professional guys work their best to perform the same regardless, but the lineup card always has something to say about a guy’s self esteem, as well as his standing within the clubhouse.

And moving him to 7th when his OBP is under .300 is a good way of saying "Dude, you're fucking terrible and you swing at everything. Stop."

That was clear when Alex Rodriguez was talking about his desire to continue to bat cleanup for the Yankees this year.

Joe Girardi: earning every dirty cent he gets paid.

I was in Tampa at the start of camp when Rodriguez was talking about how he felt he could be the most valuable to the Yankees as the No. 4 hitter, behind Robinson Cano.

“I’ll do what the manager wants me to do,’’ A-Rod said. “I take an enormous amount of pride hitting fourth.

I love dissonant statements like that. "I'm not going to blame the refs. They blew a ton of calls and probably cost us the game, but we don't have any excuses."

I think it’s been shown that lefty-righty-lefty is a very good way to the build the middle of your order.

Soak it up, people! Connie Mack over here is giving away free managerial tips.

I also think the track record shows I’m not very effective hitting eighth.’’

That, of course, was a reference to Game 4 of the 2006 Division Series against Detroit,

Not that A-Rod is a child or anything.

More than five years later, Rodriguez is still embarrassed.

More than five years AND A NEW MANAGER LATER, Rodriguez is still embarrassed. Lordy, I hate it when the media panders to dipshit mouthbreathing fans by piling on A-Rod, but man, that is some pretty pathetic bullshit right there.

Soriano never complained about Quade’s lineups last season.

What? THESE AREN'T BASEBALL CARDS, PHIL. THEY HAVE FEELINGS AND EGOS AND HEARTS AND BLOOD. I also like progression of the article. Hitters care about their batting order spot. In fact, a guy who doesn't play for the Cubs REALLY cares about it. Soriano, by all accounts, does not care much about it. But the Cubs should definitely treat him like he does.

He had more plate appearances as the No. 7 hitter (221) than anywhere else in the lineup, with sixth (186) the next most frequent.

Why not let Soriano hit first?

Because he never gets on base?

No, he’s not a strong on-base guy.

Why not let your worst pitcher start on opening day? No, he's not very good at pitching. Why not tell your catcher to attempt to steal every time he's on base? No, he's not very fast. Why not sign Soriano to a contract extension right now? No, he's not worthy of a roster spot on a contending team.

But he hits home runs and doubles, and that’s a pretty nice way to start an inning.

You could always trade for Mark Trumbo and hit him leadoff. He's like a better version of Soriano. Plenty of doubles and bombs. No, he doesn't really get on base much... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Problem: solved. Now, to trade for Trumbo. Hmmm. Hey, why not just offer Soriano straight up? Wait, what? The Angels fired Tony Reagins? Fuck. Back to the drawing board.

Hitting him in the leadoff spot isn’t going to keep the team from winning.

It sure as fucking shit isn't going to help.

Finally, here’s one last benefit of hitting Soriano first, and it’s not a small one.

He's NOT a baseball card; therefore, he's able to swing a bat and run the bases.

He is clearly one of the Cubs’ most dangerous hitters. And by hitting him first, not seventh, you can get him four plate appearances and pull him for a defensive replacement one or even two innings earlier than normal. You get him to the plate four times and lessen your exposure in the field. That’s smart.

Oh. Oh my. GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I think I'm going to have to leave it at that.

Well, now I'm out of time and energy and I'm not even going to get to the other stuff I had planned to include in the grab bag. How very Simmonsy of me. Sorry kids. My schedule is a little full these days. Fun Larry B trivia: between June 2008 and December 2011, I didn't have a full time job. Kind of made it easier to blog. But look, now I have a job and I'm still writing. Don't I deserve awards and accolades for leading such a balanced life? God, I am so great. My sheltered, privileged existence has been extremely difficult but I'm still out here plugging away at this little game I like to call "life." Full time job AND spends 45 to 60 minutes a week writing bullshit about the sports media? HOW DOES HE DO IT, FOLKS? HE'S GOT THE WORK ETHIC OF TWO THOMAS EDISONS!

/was obviously born in the 80s and deserves to get his entitled face beaten in with a crowbar


Chris W said...

It takes a lot more time these days to dream of studying law

Anonymous said...

He's a bad hitter, so a DH-LF role is better for him. Makes sense.

Chris W said...

If you HAD to play Soriano you'd want to play him in a position where his defense couldn't cost you nearly a win a year. Of course there's only one team in the league that HAS to play Soriano, and it's silly to think anybody in baseball would want to trade for the opportunity to say "Hmm...where can we put this guy where he'll do the least damage to us. Oh by the way, where'd we put that $18 million check?"

pnoles said...

Loved the Trumbo blurb.