Friday, 14 March 2008

Morning Update

The optimist says, "we've got Jesse Litsh as a 5th starter" and the realist says "yes, we do, but who are the crucial 6-8 guys when injuries inevitably arrive?"

The waters became somewhat clearer yesterday with news Kyle Lohse is on the verge of signing with the Cardinals. JP says we never had the money to sign him anyway (a lousy $4 million? we're that hard up?), so this was an admittedly weak fantasy that existed only in the minds of blogosphere hacks like me.

Alan Ryan squeezes out some info from our fearless leader:

"We'll probably stretch (Brian) Wolfe out," Ricciardi said. "He could possibly be a starter. Kane Davis is going to get stretched a little. David Purcey, obviously, is a consideration, but not right now. Randy Wells is somewhat of a consideration."

Non-roster left-hander John Parrish might have fit the bill – he broke in as a starter with the Orioles – but Ricciardi said he is going too well out of the bullpen right now. "We're not that smart," he said with a laugh. "All of a sudden we make him a starter. ... We could screw the whole thing up."

Ok, ok, so we're going to get this done internally. We've got the warm bodies, they just have to be used creatively. And someone(s) will have to Step Up.

I'm moving away from some of my initial alarm at our post-Casey starting depth situation. If we do indeed need an injury replacement in April, who's to say that we actually need one pitcher to fill the gap? If our 7th man continues to gather dust at the end of the bullpen, why not coordiate the efforts of a couple of arms that're capable of going 3 IP each? Something along the lines of a Tallet/Wolfe arrangement. Call it a "two-headed monster" if you to talk like JP. I think this could get us through a couple of turns in the rotation and buy a bit of time for other options (see: Dave Purcey) to present themselves. Just thinking aloud...

Wilner notes that Zaunnie's working well with new hitting coach Gary Denbo, who has had him open his stance up a bit to get a better look at the ball. The early results have been good. Shaun Marcum isn't having so much luck with his sinker, a pitch that got pounded repeatedly by the Tribe yesterday. Wilner figures he'll jettison it entirely if he doesn't get it working effectively his next time out. Bastian notes that Marcum wanted to incorporate the pitch so he would have a nice ground ball option a la Roy Halladay and was lit up yesterday simply because he went to this little work in progess again and again in counts where he'd normally use his deadly changeup. Everyone should be more like Doc, so Shaunnie is to be comended.

Adam Lind is showing some maturity. There was nothing wrong with him per se last year during his lacklustre callup, but his swing was "a mess" as he describes it. He took his first taste of failure and went back to square one in the offseason, rebuilding the sweet stroke that had us all salivating this time last year. Will likes to think he'll force his way back up around the time Shannon Stewart strains his hammy for the first time. I like to think that, too.

Lind, Curtis Thigpen, Robinson Diaz, Joe Inglett, and flavour of the month Buck Coats have all been sent down to Syracuse. I guess this means Jon from the Mockingbird doesn't have to eat a pound of raw chicken, which is good news for his lower intestine.

As if you already didn't know that Alex Rios is a million times cooler than you are, but he also has a remote controlled toy helicopter. And the affections of millions of fine young things from Mobile, Alabama to Yellowknife, NWT, but that's beside the point.

Armando Benitez is in a jolly mood at least. He makes $700g if he makes the team as a middle relief guy.

Team Canada's goin' to the Olympics in Red China! The Tao of Steib waxes ecstatic, we concur with their enthusiasm. Jeff Blair gives the lads a look in his commentary piece.

-- Johnny Was

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