Friday, July 6, 2007

A.J. Burnett keeps coming up...

We've written a few things about A.J. in the past year. They went sort of like this:

1)Why did the Jays sign this above average, but extremely injury prone guy to a 5-year, $50 million contract?
2) Like we said, A.J. starts 2006 on the DL.
3) Get ready for 2007, Jays fans, because A.J. is healthy this year.
4) Nevermind, apparently he sucks now.
5) Perhaps that early-season ERA of 7+ was just a fluke. We've got our Ace!
6) Abort, he's hurt. But they say he wont need to go on the DL.
7) So he is on the DL. But he can still outrun you. Different part of the body.
8) Now he's back... on the DL again. But we got that one start out of it between trips. And you can't take that away, as much as you would want to, having given up five runs to the Twins.

But now the drama has reached new heights. Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi has always been a little touchy when you bring up A.J. being injured. Not sure why, J.P., since you signed the guy knowing full well he had been disabled seven times prior. So now J.P. wants A.J. to man up.

We just need to find a way to keep him out there. I don't know if it's psychological, I don't know if it's just he gets to a point where he feels something [that] he's so scarred from being hurt so many times that he just backs off. But I think he's going to have to get over that hump at some point and just maybe pitch through some pain or realize what the difference is between being hurt and really being hurt.  

Whoa there, J. Look past the run-ons for a second, if you can. Here's J.P. Ricciardi, who looks like the kind of guy who you could knock down with one punch. And he's telling a professional athlete that he's pissed because he wont tear up his shoulder pitching for a team 12 games out of first place.

And you know how this is going to end. A.J. is going to come out and say, "you know, I love this team, and I feel bad for my teammates, because the last thing I want to do is hurt them. But I need to scope out my shoulder, because it hurts like hell. See you guys in 4-6 weeks." And then J.P. is going to respond with, "we are hopeful that this will help A.J. return to form." That's scenario one. In scenario two, A.J. disappears into phantom land and pitches simulated games for a few years. Kind of like that guy Mark Prior. Remember him? How about Kerry Wood? Struck out a few hundred Astros in one game, you remember him.

And I've got news - its going to keep happening. It's not physically possible to throw a baseball 98 mph for 15 years. Medically, it just can't be done. For instance, if you lie down and rotate your shoulder towards your back - while keeping your elbow steady - you should be able to get 90-100 degrees of rotation. An MLB pitcher can do something like 130 degrees. While it's not known what relationship that has to injuries, it makes it clear that something is changing. When you throw a baseball that hard, you practically throw your elbow off. And if you don't like that approach, find me one pitcher who is pitching 100+ and older 35 years old, and I'll show you 100 guys who blew their arms out. Prior and Wood, for starters.

But, economically, what can these guys do? They can't go out there and give it 90%. You could move them to the bullpen, but that's kind of weird. So they pitch hard and fast for a few years, make millions of dollars, and then become finesse pitchers. It seems that guys that come up later are more mature and learn to dial it down to preserve the longevity of their body. They might also have the confidence necessary to do that. That last part is all speculation. But we'll see how A.J. turns out.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Homer Bailey Sucks

If there was an opposite of Player of the Week Award, this guy gets it.

2 Games, 5.1 IP, 13 hits, 8 walks, 13 ER, 3 K.

His ERA is 22.94. Good job, Homer. Way to give your cellar-dwelling team a shot. Have fun in AA ball.