Proof That There Is No God

Diamond Leung is intent on ruining my day:

Dodgers are inviting Justin Miller, John Lindsey, Prentice Redman, Francisco Felix, Juan Perez, Josh Towers, Doug Mientkiewicz, Luis Ayala and Angel Berroa to spring training

Okay, we knew about Miller, Redman, Perez, Towers, and Ayala already. Mientkiewicz is no surprise at all, and he might actually have a shot to win a job, seeing how unsettled the bench is. Felix and Lindsey were Dodger minor leaguers last season, so no issue there.

If that was it, then fine. A basically unimportant bit of off-season housekeeping. But there it is, that name on the end, stalking me. It’s staring at me, and sending shivers down my spine.

Angel Berroa.

I’m well aware, of course, that it’s just a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. It’s just that we’ve seen this movie before. What exactly about his 2008 line of .230/.304/.310 and -9.3 UZR/150 makes us want to re-live that again?

Even if he just ends up in AAA, he’s hardly harmless. We all know about Rafael Furcal’s injury history, Jamey Carroll isn’t much of a shortstop option other than emergencies, and Chin-Lung Hu’s name is being brought up in possible trade scenarios. He could be back in Los Angeles quicker than you think, and while I don’t want to overstate this, it’s pretty much a fate worse than death. I say that, of course, because Angel Berroa is pretty high on the list of my least favorite Dodgers of all time.

Let me leave you with a sampling of how we felt during his time in Blue, shall we?

June 7, 2008:

Angel Berroa is incredibly bad at the game of baseball. There’s about forty different ways I could go about this, but this one stands out for me the most. This morning, I was reading Baseball Prospectus’ daily game previews, and in the Royals discussion, they pointed out just how historically horrible current SS Tony Pena Jr. has been. I won’t copy and paste their entire statistical argument here, but this is the take-home point:

There have been a mere handful of hitters over the last 30-plus seasons who performed as poorly as Tony Pena Jr. has this year. Since 1970, Pena has the third lowest EqA among players with a minimum of 164 plate appearances,

Remember that – current Royals SS Tony Pena Jr. is on pace to set records for horribleness. Just keep that in mind, read this, and try not to jam your thumbs into your eyes:

The defense for Pena last year, when he hit .267/.284/.356, was that his defense made up for his bat to the degree that he was a better option than the recently ousted Angel Berroa, who could neither hit (.248/.271/.356 with a .209 EqA) nor field (-6 FRAA) in 2006. Pena was able to field, with +13 FRAA last year, which helped make up for his -25 BRAA to a degree—sadly 12 runs below average was an improvement over Berroa’s -23 from the year before—but this year he’s having difficulty fielding as well.

“Sadly, 12 runs below average was an improvement over Berroa’s -23 from the year before.”  He’s clearly a brutal fielder. In 2006, his last full season as the Royals’ starter, he put up an almost unbelievable line of .234/.259/.333, for a 52 OPS+. That made him just about half as effective at the plate as your completely average player – and he was a butcher at the most important defensive position. So right now we’ve got a SS who’s a great fielder and can’t hit, and a SS who’s a good hitter but not much of a fielder. Replacing them with a guy who can’t hit or field (and will cost that $500,000 buyout) is a better option how?

July 14, 2008:

Angel Berroa (.192/.253/.219 0hr 0rbi) (F)
I have to say, of all the stats I looked up for this article, Berroa surprised me more than anybody. He really has zero RBI? Not even one? Despite starting 21 games? That would be incredible, if it weren’t so depressing. Look at it this way, Berroa’s had 72 at-bats without an RBI. That’s the most in MLB by a large margin, nearly double the 40 at-bats by Washington’s Roger Bernadina. Yikes! Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Berroa doesn’t deserve an F here. Maybe he should be getting a C. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t all know he was going to suck from day one. And to the surprise of no one except perhaps Ned Colletti, he has. He’s been exactly as bad as we thought, not that it was possible to be any worse, so in that sense he’s been the average Angel Berroa.

Nah, forget it. Big. Fat. F.

August 7, 2008:

it’s time for Angel Berroa to hit the road to, well, anywhere that’s not Los Angeles. And it’s time to get Chin-Lung Hu back to the bigs.

Sure, there was a time where you could maybe, sort of, kind of make an argument for Berroa – back when Nomar and Furcal were both DL’d and the slim possibility of Berroa’s resurgence was preferable to Hu’s .159 struggles in the bigs. Maybe.

But to no one’s surprise, Berroa’s been terrible, despite his 2-4 performance tonight. Even in the emergent circumstances that have allowed him to play, a .206/.267/.243 line (coming into tonight) in a pennant race just isn’t going to cut it. Of the 72 men who’ve played shortstop in the big leagues this year, Berroa is 67th in VORP.

August 17, 2008:

There’s something unbelievable in there, so in case you glossed over it, I’ll present it again.

“I tried to reason who was going to give me the better at-bat – Berroa or Loney,” Torre said.

This. This, friends, is what will drive a man to insanity. I didn’t see Torre say this, of course, but I wish there was video of it. Was he able to say this with a straight face? Isn’t a quote like that grounds for immediate firing?

November 20, 2008:

Look, I know the team was in a bad situation at shortstop, but come on. Angel Berroa? We were aghast at the move from the second it came down, and Berroa – despite the inane protestations of the local media – was predictably awful. I don’t care how bad things were at shortstop; there’s always a better option than Angel Berroa. Always.

November 30, 2009:

No, no, no. No. Just no. $3.8 million for Angel Berroa? I wouldn’t take him at the major league minimum, even if someone else was paying it. I’m not even going to link to our previous articles about him, because you know it all by now. He’s a complete black hole at the plate and despite Rosenthal’s assertion of him as a “capable” fielder, is average at best. As we’ve said before, if we’re going to have to play a shortstop who can’t hit, it might as well be Hu, the superior fielder who’s at least got a prayer of offensive improvement.

Please, please don’t make us live through this again.

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  1. [...] Allowed Angel Berroa to ever put on a Dodger uniform. Sorry, I can’t ever get over this one. [...]

  2. [...] about something. Whether it’s been bemoaning the signing of the old and busted Nick Green or Angel Berroa, wishing that Felipe Lopez had been signed (it’s not too late!), trying to talk ourselves [...]

  3. [...] Ned Colletti got off to a pretty atrocious start as Dodger general manager after arriving in the winter of 2005-06. He signed Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, and Andruw Jones to disastrous big-money deals. He gave nearly $10m to broken-down Bill Mueller, who played all of 32 games for the Dodgers. He traded top prospect Carlos Santana to Cleveland for far less than his value, and he made more than one terrible trade with Tampa, ultimately losing Edwin Jackson for veterans and spare parts. Those are only the marquee mistakes, since there’s plenty of arguments to be made that several good young role players were lost in the name of keeping useless veterans like Ricky Ledee and Jose Cruz, Jr. Besides, he signed Angel Berroa. Twice! [...]