Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Johnny Damon, Yankee Pitching, and Kyle Farnsworth

Well, people have been asking what I think about Johnny Damon in the Yankees. I like it. Damon's a good player and he'll do good things. That doesn't mean Red Sox Chick isn't gonna cry about it though. Here, let me explain to the entire Nation why you can't be pissed at Damon leaving you for those big bad Yankees. All you Yankee fans out there, etch this in stone, write it in blood, and send it to all your pissed off Red Sox acquaintances.

Damon left the Oakland A's for Boston because Boston offered him more money. In turn, Damon left Boston because New York offered him more money.

Qf7e8syfThat's it. Now that Damon is in New York, I'm sure he'll help out a lot. He may struggle a little, but I doubt it. He wants the leadoff spot, obviously, and Jeter will be much happier in the 2-hole because now he can finally get some RBI's. Torre might relapse for a couple games if Johnny starts to struggle and throw Jeter in at leadoff, but he'll probably make Johnny sit that game to avoid any speculation; I think he's just weird enough to do that. It would be great if he threw Johnny into the 9-hole for a couple games, noted that it was "the second leadoff spot, we need someone to set the plate, and Johnny is a perfect fit," and sneaked Jeter into leadoff that way too. Either way, I'm sure Derek will be getting some AB's at #1 this year, because there is no way Torre can resist; he just loves Jeter leading off, and he can't help himself. However it ends up happening will be hilarious.

So, the conclusion to the first problem is that the Nation can no longer say how bad a guy Johnny is. You're pissed because Damon's loyalties change whenever money gets involved. Last year he said that he would rather retire after this season than play for the Yankees. He was lying. Get over it.

Now that all of that's been cleared up, let me say that personally I do like Damon. I think he's an ok guy, he has this whole persona he puts on about being a real dude or whatever, and it works for me. He doesn't complain, he works hard, and he gets the job done. He was also part of the Greatest Play of All Time, which obviously gets him points. Damon will help us bash in even more runs than last year.

Think about this - from what I hear, The Nation is weaker than before, although this could be totally incorrect because again, it's hearsay. Anyway, The Nation is weaker, and we're stronger because there's no way our pitching could get any worse, and with Cano and Wang maturing, we'll be better of there as well - hopefully.

As for the pitching - The Redneck, (who I don't get why we signed... wait; George has been after him since that one game in 2001) Wang, and Moose are locks for the rotation. I would still like to see more out of Aaron Small before I throw any true faith in him. I say this because Small is 34, and his career ERA of about 5 just doesn't blend well with last year's 3.20. Maybe the dude just figured it out last year; I'm not doubting him, I'm just saying that before I trust him to go all the way, we need to check up. In any case, he's on the DL for now. Same goes with Carl Pavano, who I will admit has been an absolute disaster thus far. That leaves us with Shawn Chacon, who I like. I think he can really do big things here; he's only 28. And for a young guy like him, Coors Field is probably more psychological than anything else. And even when he wasn't pitching in Coors, he was still on a really really bad team. We've also got Jaret Wright and his career 5.17 ERA. Wright hit the deck again yesterday after trying to field a bunt, which means the spasms are back. Anyway, we've got seven starters. We're set. I'm really not all that worried, because it's not like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Jason Giambi, and Hideki Matsui don't know how to score runs.

Lg_fight_apFurthermore, Cashman was smart enough to lock up Kyle Farnsworth, which will be the smartest move he's made since George hired him. With the exception of Andres Torres, Farnsworth is easily my favorite player. I'm not sure how big a name he is in the rest of the world, so let me tell his story. Farnsworth is about to turn 30, is 6' 4", 240lbs, and can hit 100mph at will. In 2002, when he was still with the Cubs, he went 46.2 IP with an ERA of 7.33 while blowing 6 out of 7 save opportunities. That wasn't a good year for him. In 2003, he pulled it together and went 76.1 IP with a 3.30 ERA. This was mostly because, after nailing the Red's Paul Wilson with a pitch, Wilson started walking towards the mound. Wrong move, Paul. Farnsworth, a former football player, charged Wilson and laid him out - football style. According to announcer Steve Stone, Wilson got, "rackey tacked." Paul Wilson was also very bloodied. Check out the "Kyle Farnsworth - Paul Wilson Fight Video" here. -UPDATE- I have found the video. Meanwhile, here is the Jeremy Affeldt v. Kyle Farnsworth fight. Also, here's the article. He was suspended three games, but it would've been more had MLB Brass not been afraid of Farnsworth hunting them each down, individually, and slamming them to the ground as well. He is one mean dude, straight up. Then in 2004, Farnsworth started having more trouble. Fans started booing him when he didn't hit 100mph on the gun, and it started making him mad. Along with LaTroy Hawkins, he set fire to the city of Chicago. One night, Hawkins gave up a HR to Albert Pujols - his 3rd of the game - to lose the game in the 9th, 10-8. Hawkins then tried to fight ump Tim Tschida. Why? He didn't give up Pujol's 3rd jack or even make you pitch to him. Things kept getting worse after that, and after Farnsworth and his fellow arsonists doused the field in gasoline and set it aflame for about the 3rd consecutive night, he returned to the dugout so furious that he tried to kick the heck out of an electric floor fan. This was no wall punch or cooler toss; he tried to beat on a floor fan, and it sent him to the DL. Meanwhile, reporters were asking Dusty Baker why Farnsworth hadn't been showing up in late innings recently, and he basically drop kicked the English language with, "I didn't disappear him, he disappeared himself, right?"

Solution: send Farnsworth to the Tigers. This made me really happy, cuz now we got to chat on an almost-daily basis. Then, one day, I'm sitting at home and I see the most amazing thing ever. That is, Kyle Farnsworth taking out Jeremy Affeldt. I've finally found this video of the Takedown. Here's the video, (Carlos Guillen v. Runelvys Hernandez, Bottom 6th, July 17th, 2005.) Basically, we're in a huge fight after Hernandez drilled Guillen in the head, and Affeldt is yelling at the entire Tigers team. Farnsworth is already walking away, but Affeldt said something to tick him off and he just rushes him. Lays him out on the ground; done for. Farnsworth got suspended for six games for that one, which is about half the time I spent watching that video on my computer and laughing. He ended the year with a 2.19 ERA and 87 K's in 70.0 IP. Then, the Yankees picked him up. My point - not only is he there to back up Dotel and Rivera if they try to pull anything, but he's also Damon and A-Rod's bodyguard when The Enemy invades. And don't worry, Farnsworth can cover the distance from the bullpen to the infield before Manny and Ortiz can climb out of the dugout. Well, nevermind Manny because seriously, who is he gonna light up?

The Greatest Play of All Time - February 28th, 2006
Kyle Farnsworth lays out Paul Wilson (Xuite) - ???

What was Jim Bowden thinking?

sorianobowden Shock of all shocks, Alfonso Soriano isn't going anywhere near left field. I talked about Soriano's refusal to move about a month ago, and now it looks like the National's nightmare is for real.  Seriously, could things have crashed to the ground any harder? Forget for a moment that everyone saw this coming, even more so if you're employed in the National's Front Office. Now the season starts in two weeks and the Nationals need to find someone to get between ball and turf in left. First, if you're National's GM Jim Bowden, why in the world do you trade for Soriano? You traded for the best offensive second baseman, even though you had no intention of playing him at second base. And you thought he would just happily shift to left field? And now, you can't even trade him away because, "we have not had a trade proposal from any team in baseball that we should consider," said Bowden. Note that in the picture to your left, no one is flashing a genuine smile. They already know they're all screwed.

But the most impressive thing is the way it all went down. There wasn't a press conference where Soriano said he was unwilling to play the outfield and would prefer the Nationals reconsider their position. Not a chance; the Nationals took the field for a game, but they were minus one dude. Frank Robinson had to go out and tell the umpire that he was sorry, but he had to change the lineup. In other words, Soriano didn't even feel it worthwhile to tell his team that he had no intention of playing in their baseball game. Not that they would've needed a crystal ball to see it coming, but still, it would've been nice. Now the Nats need to get rid of Soriano in the next two weeks or place him on the disqualified list, in which case they don't have to pay him and pretty much get to wait until someone crazy enough offers a good trade.

The details are out, and basically it happened like this; Soriano showed up for the game on Monday and told Robinson that, while he was sketched into the lineup card for left field, he wasn't going anywhere near it. Robinson told him to shut up, because Vidro was playing second base and Soriano was playing left, and that if he didn't like it he wasn't gonna play at all. The team took batting practice, and then there was another meeting between Soriano and Robinson, along with GM Jim Bowden. This went pretty much the same way, with Soriano asking, "Why didn't you try to talk to me before you made the trade?" Uh, good question. As wrong as I think Soriano is in his handling of the situation, he's not the bad (or worst, at least), guy. He didn't ask to be traded, and if he had, he would've said there's no way in hell.

Think about this from Bowden's perspective. You're in your 2nd year in DC, and you're getting a new stadium, but you cannot make any stupid mistakes. You don't have a ton of money to mess around with, and you can't just absorb a contract if you screw up. That being said, if you need a left200603201138338502 fielder, you go out and acquire a left fielder. If you can't do that, then you sit tight. You don't grab a second baseman to fill that spot in your outfield. And, if you're so high that you're gonna try to pull that off anyway, you make sure that second baseman hasn't publicly said that he'll never switch positions because he's much more valuable at 2nd than in the outfield. If you're still not clued in, and you decide to go ahead with the deal, you make sure that 2nd baseman is in on the plan before he gets shipped out. If he isn't, (or if you don't know because the Rangers won't let you talk to him,) then you call the deal off. If, after all that, you still acquire your All-Star 2nd baseman and he tells you it's not gonna work out, you immediately set about moving him or your current 2nd baseman. In other words, sitting around through the entire WBC with your head in the sand just hoping he'll change his mind was probably a very bad idea.

It doesn't appear that the Nationals are acting logically here. Someone please tell me, did I miss something? Is there something exceptionally weird going on that makes this whole thing ok? Was Vidro not supposed to be back this year? Did Soriano just now become a full-time second baseman? Are the Rangers forcing the Nationals to hold Soriano captive because he's a bad guy, and now that they've cleared Rogers out of the clubhouse they want to keep all the bad energy as far away as possible? I don't understand. Nine out of ten little leaguers aren't going to move from 2nd to outfield, let alone the best 2nd baseman - offensively, mind you - in Major League Baseball. This is outstanding. Way to screw up your season, Jim. Have a nice year.

I also came across the fact that Jim Bowden screwed up the Reds before he headed to DC.

Alfonso Soriano - February 23, 2006
Soriano, Nats at impasse over outfield (MLB.com) - March 20, 2006
A Quick Lesson on Hiring Practices - March 21, 2006