After three weeks on the road, I’m back in town. But at least it was a quiet three weeks. Wasn’t it?
Time for a quick recap, and I’ll be upfront in saying, this is going to be as much for me to catch up as it is for you.
* I was strongly against the Casey Blake trade. “But MSTI,” you say. “Blake’s hitting .364/.400/.576 since coming to LA and has really solidified third base.” First of all, quiet you. Blake has been really good, and a massive improvement over the other Blake (DeWitt), who had clearly hit that wall and needed to be replaced. Since it was pretty clear the club was never going to give Andy LaRoche a real shot, an upgrade was needed. The problem I had at the time – and still do – is that I think Colletti once again overpaid to get a slight veteran upgrade. The case can be made that just letting LaRoche play every day may have gotten you as much production as could be expected from Blake, so giving up a pitching prospect who dominated the minors until he was forced into a new role this year and a young catcher who’s absolutely obliterating his league seemed a bit much. I was never against getting Blake; just against trading so much for him. As I said at the time,
Look, I don’t really mind getting Casey Blake. He’s a useful guy. I just think that what Colletti gave up to acquire him is mind-blowingly out of proportion.
* Juan Pierre won’t stop whining. Vin did a great job of covering this a few days ago (dig that sad picture!), but I can’t help but chime in as well. Two things immediately jumped to my mind when I read the original article:
1) Juan, you didn’t even get benched. Andre Ethier did. Despite outperforming you in nearly every single fashion. We’re supposed to feel sorry for you that you have to go back to playing center, as you suggest in your quotes? Did the 72 games you played in left this year really make you forget how to play center after the 1167 times you’ve played center in your career? There’s five outfielders on this team, and it’s pretty obvious to everyone except for Joe Torre that you are the fourth best. Yet you keep a starting job anyway. What could you possibly have to compain about?
2) The line where he says, “All I’ve ever done is be Juan Pierre when I wear this jersey” completely kills me. Although I had the absolute same thoughts as below when I read the original aricle on the road, I can’t take credit because Jon at DodgerThoughts was the first to say what we all must have been thinking:
…even if we were to evaluate him only against the world of Juan Pierres (as he seems to prefer), he has disappointed. His current OPS+ (68), on-base percentage (.324) and slugging percentage (.316) are all career lows.
As much as I don’t like any version of Juan Pierre, I particularly don’t like the one who’s having the worst season of his already mediocre career.
It’s time to shut up and play, Juan.
* Apparently we traded for another outfielder? I don’t know, some guy with dreadlocks who’s wearing #99 now – and yes, it still seems really really weird to see him in Dodger blue. I’m still getting “Johnny Unitas in Charger blue” vibes when I see it, although I suppose Manny still has a lot more to offer on the field than Unitas did. I’ve already been called out on this quote from 2 days before the trade:
Don’t trade Kemp for him. Don’t trade LaRoche for him. But if you can do it with Ethier as the centerpiece? So long, Andre. Hello, playoffs.
Okay. I may have said that. And I stand by the part where I said “don’t trade Kemp for him”, because even if Manny homered every day for the rest of the year, I’d still rather the next 10 years of Matt Kemp. But there was one thing I hadn’t taken into consideration when I said “don’t trade LaRoche”, and that’s the fact that he was never, ever, going to get a shot to be the starter here. For what reasons that may be, I can’t say. But he didn’t get a shot when DeWitt was awful for two months, and he didn’t get a shot before they traded for Casey Blake. If he wasn’t going to get to play here, then he might as well be turned into something of value, and with the way Manny’s started off, I’d say there’s definitely some value going on. I just worry about what’s going to happen at third base next year and beyond with LaRoche gone and DeWitt hardly a proven commodity.
Best of luck in Pittsburgh, Andy. I expect we’ll be seeing you rocking the black and gold in an All-Star Game or three, and I just hope that we’ll be too blinded by the glow from the 2008 Manny-fueled World Series ring to care.
As for Manny.. what can you say? Vin spoke about him here, and my only disappointment is that I haven’t been able to catch a live (you know, “TV live”) at-bat by him yet. That will change tonight though, and yeah, I’m pretty excited about it.
* The NL West is worse than you think it is. Remember how many times we’ve said some variation of “this team isn’t doing that well, but since the division is so lousy they’re still in it?” Well, Deadspin passes along this reality shock:
The San Francisco Chronicle‘s John Shea has provided an intervention, making me face the stark reality: As of today, the 2008 NL West is the worst division in baseball history. Yes, worse even than the ’94 AL West, which technically doesn’t count because of the strike-shortened season.
* And one more thing about Manny…
Manny Ramirez: 13 at-bats, 2 home runs
J.Pierre/A.Jones: 506 at-bats, 2 home runs
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness