Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Morning Roundup

Shaun Marcum is the guy du jour as they say in France (pronounced: Fronze).

The Star and Sun hit us with pretty much the same stories. In brief, he's now fully recovered from the knee surgery that prematurely ended his breakout 2007. Dropped a few pounds and hit the gym in the offseason hoping it would give him more stamina as this season wears on. No comment on losing that bet on a Bruins-Lightening game to Ricciardi Jr.

Blair weighs in with a neat little piece on Curtis Thigpen, The Man Without a Position, which is really more of a look at the four up and coming catchers in the Jays system: Thigpen, Robinzon Diaz, Brian Jeroloman and J.P. Arenicibia. (Gibby says that Thigpen is indeed viewed as a catcher going forward even if he gets PT elsewhere during the spring.)

Blair writes:

All four of the Blue Jays' catching prospects have a different skill set, and watching the picture develop this year will be fascinating because, as general manager J.P. Ricciardi said, "I think all four of these guys will pan out, I just don't know if it will all be in Toronto. The timetable may be that somebody comes up here and locks up the job. What we're trying to do is get these guys ready for 2009 and 2010.

"Jeroloman might be the most complete guy we have and he'll be in Double-A this year," Ricciardi continued, referring to the Blue Jays' sixth-round pick of 2006, who performed the neat statistical feat of walking 85 times in 110 games, posting an on-base percentage of .421, which was .162 percentage points higher than his batting average.

"These guys all do different things: Arenicibia has power and throws well, Jeroloman has great plate discipline and catches very well and throws well. Diaz … I just keep thinking of Manny Sanguillen every time I see him. He's unconventional. He hits. He's not going to walk … but he hits. He's a little cruder than the rest, but his game plays and Thigpen is probably the best athlete out of all of them. They all bring something. It's just who's the best fit."

Blair seems to imply that Thigpen is going to find himself the odd man out.

MacLeod and Kelly both insinuate that AJ Burnett is less of man for spending time down in the beauty parlour having work done on his broken nail. Seriously guys, I wish you could be a little bit more confident in your own masculinity...


There were I few things I read this morning that left me a bit snippy.

The Mets have brought Daryl Strawberry, best known for his role in the greatest Simpsons episode of all time, back into the fold as a "big brother" to the younger players in the organization.

Mr. Burns: "Hey you, Strawberry! Hit a homerun!"

Straw: "Okaaaay, skip!"

Mr. Burns: [After moon shot flies out of the stadium.] "Haha, I told him to do that!"

Staw's troubles ran the gamut from drug addiction to tax evasion, but the fans, and especially his teammates, never turned their backs on him as the going went from bad to worse. Yes, it is a good thing he's got things under control know and also a positive step for the Mets to bring in someone who can "scare straight" some of their prospects who need it.

I just find the timing of the hire weird, since it seems like the sort of move they should have made to reign in former top prospect Lastings Milledge (traded to the Nats this offseason). Milledge has all the talent in the world to match his arrogance, disrespect and penchant for running his mouth. This is the kind of rough diamond you'd have wanted Straw to go to work on...

The New York Times is a venerable paper with a surprisingly good sports section (especially on Sundays during the baseball season), so this stream of consciousness piece from Murray Chass took me for a loop. Apparently the Yankees should've fired Joe Torre and hired Joe Girardi as his replacement after the 2006 season, rather than waiting a year. Oh, and they probably should've traded for Johan Santana (though I don't think anyone seriously believes the Twins were going to ship him to an AL team). I see... It's cool that that Yankees fans are getting a bit angsty, though.

The Bosox are expecting Bartolo Colon to be ready earlier than expected; he could get a spring training start in within a fortnight. Well, isn't that special!

In the "somebody had to do it file", the Reds have finally signed Corey Patterson to a minor league deal. He does two things very well: play CF and steal bases. He has a bit of homerun pop. His splits, however, are loopier than Rip Torn on strong Kool Aid: it seems like he either hits LHP or RHP, but never both in the same year. He's 28 and one would've expected a bit more interest especially in the Cowards', I mean, National, League. If he ever did all of the things he's shown he can do in the same season he could be a pretty solid little ballplayer. I certainly would not have raised the villagers to burn JP's house down had he offered the same deal a few weeks ago.

-- Johnny Was

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