Wait, Maybe I DO Want Jarrod Washburn

Here’s me from yesterday:

I’m not blind to the fact that you want to limit Kershaw’s innings as the season wears on, and that guys like Kuroda and Wolf are prone to injury. I just think the Dodgers have enough rotation depth to compensate for issues like that (remember, you’ve still got Eric Milton, Eric Stults, James McDonald, Jeff Weaver, and eventually you have to do something with Jason Schmidt), so giving up the top price that Washburn would likely command to get someone who’d be LA’s 4th starter – at best – just doesn’t seem worth it.

Let’s leave him for the Mets and Phillies to fight over.

And I stand by that. But then, via MLBTR, we have this from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

Lots of discussion on this blog today about reports out of Los Angeles that the Dodgers are interesting in acquiring Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn. One of the pieces the Dodgers could be looking to move is speedy outfielder Juan Pierre, a perennial threat on the basepaths who could naturally fit in to Seattle’s left field slot after the season-ending injury to Endy Chavez.

It should be stated right off the bat that although Pierre has put up a career-best on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .825 so far, his batting average on balls put in play is a whopping .368 — about 80 points above average. So, his numbers might be due for a tumble. That’s for starters. Then again, some folks feel the same way about Washburn’s totals.

washburnfistpump.jpgThe fact that anyone’s even considering this is a little mind-blowing to me, as what would you rather have? A glorified 4th starter with about $5m left on his deal, or a glorified 4th outfielder with about $23m left on his deal? Granted, Baker does say he doesn’t really think it’d work, and I can’t see how it would. But yeah, that’s one way I’d love to get Jarrod Washburn. (No, don’t tell me about how great Pierre’s been. He’s been lousy lately, and three weeks of good play doesn’t override 2+ years of poor play – nor does it mean he’ll be any better over the next 2.5 years.)

What’s really great, though, is what the Mariner fans on Baker’s blog have to say. Like…

Anyone posting that this is a good idea should throw away all of their Mariners gear and move out of the state. Washburn is one of our biggest assets right now for trading for GOOD players. Washburn for Pierre is insane, no matter how you spin it.
NO! Are you kidding? Very bad idea. Washburn needs some run support and we have enough singles hitters. Give me a break.
If you ignore AVG, OBP, SLG, defense, stolen base percentage and pretty much every other meaningful catagory, offensively and defensively then yes, Ichiro and Juan Pierre are exactly the same.
What a truly terrible idea. Pierre is a bad player in the midst of a hot streak. He’s been a well below average hitter (look at more than batting average, people) since his big year with the Marlins until this year. His defense is at times flashy, but at times erratic, and overall he works out to being about an average defender. Even his vaunted stolen bases aren’t really much of an asset, as he’s caught more than 25 per cent of the time.

If there was a good reason to think his 200 ABs in 2009 was his true talent and likely future performance, and not, say, what he’s done over the last five years or so, he’d be an OK pickup. But there’s no good reason to think that. His contract is a Bavasi-esque albatross.

What’s truly surprising, though, is that there’s a decent number of fans on that blog who really do want Juan Pierre. And there I thought that Seattle fans were educated?

Must Be Something in the Water Today…

…because holy hell, is there a lot of stupidity to get to.

washburn.jpgNo, We Don’t Want Jarrod Washburn

According to the latest rumors, Ned Colletti is scouting Seattle lefty Jarrod Washburn. He’s actually having a pretty nice season (3.24 ERA), despite having lost 5 decisions in a row, and has about $5 million left on his contract. He’s really a second-tier pitcher, but with guys like Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard fighting injuries, Washburn might actually be the most desirable starter out there along with Brad Penny. That can only mean one thing – that someone is going to overpay wildly for him.

If that means the price is going to be what I think it is, then the Dodgers should be staying as far away as possible. Look, Washburn’s a solid pitcher having a nice year. But is he going to be the guy to put you into the playoffs? No, the Dodgers look pretty likely to get there as is. Is he going to be the guy to help you win once you’re in the playoffs? I can’t see him getting a start over Chad Billingsley, Randy Wolf, Hiroki Kuroda, or likely Clayton Kershaw either.

I’m not blind to the fact that you want to limit Kershaw’s innings as the season wears on, and that guys like Kuroda and Wolf are prone to injury. I just think the Dodgers have enough rotation depth to compensate for issues like that (remember, you’ve still got Eric Milton, Eric Stults, James McDonald, Jeff Weaver, and eventually you have to do something with Jason Schmidt), so giving up the top price that Washburn would likely command to get someone who’d be LA’s 4th starter – at best – just doesn’t seem worth it.

Let’s leave him for the Mets and Phillies to fight over.

Tracy Ringolsby Lights Puppies on Fire For Fun

Just reading his name today made me remember the last time I wrote about Ringolsby, back in January 2008, when he was saying how the Dodgers didn’t have a good homegrown core and getting player names wrong. Today, he’s back at at it by saying that Manny Ramirez shouldn’t be allowed to go on a rehab stint before his suspension ends. I’d tear Ringolsby apart point-by-point, but I hate to make fun of the disabled. (Except for that time I did.) Also, Jon @ DodgerThoughts already took care of it for me:

First, this isn’t a Ramirez-only rule.  Every suspended MLB player has the right to a rehab assignment. J.C. Romero pitched in five minor-league games before returning from his 50-game suspension. 
Romero isn’t exactly a nobody; he’s an important part of the National League East-leading Phillies’ bullpen. His rehab assignment, in which he allowed runs in two of his five outings, helped prepare him to begin his 2009 major-league season with six consecutive scoreless games. Where was the outcry then?

I also like how Ringolsby whines that Manny’s only playing three games in Albuquerque before joining Inland Empire, so he could be closer to home. Because, sure, you definitely want to subject your best hitter to a 1,000 mile minor-league road trip to Omaha, when instead you could bring him closer to the home office. That makes complete sense.

Juan Pierre’s Only Good When He’s Not Being Juan Pierre

I knew there was going to be a few of these stories coming out, but I figured it’d at least be closer to Manny’s return: Gregg Patton of the Riverside Press-Enterprise doesn’t like that All-American God-Fearing Child-Kissing Door-Holding Old-Lady-Crossing-the-Street-Helping Juan Pierre is heading back to the bench in favor of the Great Satan, Manny Ramirez.

Sunday night, Juan Pierre picked up three hits, two RBI, a run scored, a stolen base, led the Dodgers to victory over the Angels — and got one day closer to a seat on the bench.

Maybe you heard. Manny Ramirez is returning from his 50-game, drug-related suspension, quite likely on July 3, at which point Pierre dusts off some room in between Mark Loretta and Juan Castro and becomes a selfless guy with a real good attitude.

Pierre had a good game on Sunday night, no doubt. I like to think that Clayton Kershaw’s seven scoreless innings and James Loney’s homer and outstanding defense is what really “led” the team to victory, but sure, whatever. When he’s “on”, he can really help the team out. Love that guy.

“He’s been a real good teammate for these guys,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who will have the dubious honor of reinserting one of the greatest right-handed hitters of his generation into the lineup soon, and removing Pierre.

Dubious? That’s like telling Gary Cherone, “hey, thanks for coming to do Van Halen III… but yeah, we’re going to go back with David Lee Roth.” You do it, and you don’t think twice about it.

This is a no-brainer, of course. The idea is to win baseball games and Ramirez — like him or not — has to play. 

Remember this fact: Manny Ramirez will help you win more baseball games than Juan Pierre.

But for those who are feeling at all queasy about the return of the substance abuser, maybe a bit ill that someone of his now-tarnished reputation will slide so easily back into the Dodgers’ lineup, there’s something quite satisfying about Pierre’s superior play as a sub-in.

There is something satisfying about Pierre’s productivity since Manny’s suspension…I’d probably go with, “it’s a good thing the backup is playing well and helping us win games.”
pierreswings.jpgThis shouldn’t be that complicated; Pierre’s resurgence has been a welcome surprise.

The fact that the skinny veteran with the short, slap swing is playing so well and making people even think twice about the necessity of Manny Ramirez is a sweet addition to the story.

Absolutely no one is thinking this, I promise you. 

Since Major League Baseball banned Ramirez in May, Pierre has started all 41 games in left field. His three hits in the 5-3 victory at Angel Stadium bumped his average up to .337 for the season.

Half the story, though, isn’t it? Let’s break down those 41 games…

Games 1-20: .425/.495/.598  1.093 OPS
Games 21-41: .244/.284/.289  .573 OPS

It’s almost like the first three weeks were an incredibly well-timed hot streak… and the last three weeks have been vintage Juan Pierre. Which means, now is exactly the time that you should be wanting to sit him for Manny.

The stolen base was his 17th. And the two RBI gave him 24, not bad for a National League leadoff hitter who barely played the first month.

The RBI are nice, except that A) we all know how meaningless RBI are and B) it certainly doesn’t hurt when the guy who probably should be leading off, Matt Kemp, was hitting 9th and right in front of him.

Anyway, blah blah blah about Pierre in Sunday’s game until the end of the piece, where…

Anyone bothered by the casual return of the substance-abusing superstar will only have Pierre’s numbers, no words, to argue with.

This would be a heartwarming end to the story… except as we’ve seen on more than one occasion, it’s completely untrue. We’ve all heard Pierre bitch about being on the bench, and while I’d never blame a guy for simply wanting to play, let’s not pretend he’s going to be Mother Theresa over there on the pine.

Look, it’s really simple: Pierre was incredible at just the right time when he was needed. Since then, he’s regressed, and now a superior player is taking his spot. Let us not spill tears over a backup outfielder going back to the bench.

But I’m Sure No One Was Using on the 2004 or 2007 Red Sox, Right?

Loyal reader Tim writes in (and take note, friends, because I never get sick of people writing in) with a link to this section of Peter Gammons’ blog

“There is a lot of moral outrage being directed at Sammy,” one veteran said. “But, let’s be honest. Sosa, McGwire and Bonds made a lot of people a lot of money. The owners, the commissioner … all us players, whose salaries got dragged up.”

Now we have the Dodgers trying to get their fans to flock to San Diego for the return of Manny Ramirez on July 3. With all the fanfare that will be attached to his return to Dodger Stadium, it’s all about money. Period.

If Sosa could come back and help the Dodgers make money, they’d sign him in a heartbeat. Sammy can’t help them anymore, but Manny will be their cash cow, and their only regret is that he got caught and they are missing 50 games worth of wigs and MannyLand revenues.

See, here’s the problem with this, Pete. Everyone loves money. You think that the Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, or Toledo Mud Hens wouldn’t sign Sammy Sosa if they thought it would make them money?

Besides, don’t forget these two facts: A) the Dodgers are contractually obligated to bring Manny back. He’d never admit it, but if Frank McCourt could have voided the remainder of Manny’s contract the day he got suspended, you’d better believe he’d have thought long and hard about it. And B), this team is trying to win a World Series. There can’t possibly be any question that Manny can help them do that, is there? So what do you really expect them to do? Not play their best players, and then not try to capitalize off that publicity? All the righteous indignation is adorable, but you’ve got to at least offer viable alternatives, here.