You know what I hate? Offdays. But you know what I love? Useless Offday Thoughts! So let’s get some.
Despite missing the first month of the season and slumping for the most recent one, Mauer has produced this year like a transcendent superstar — he’s put together 43.4 Runs Above Replacement so far this year, which is amazing at this point of the year even without considering the time missed. Everyone knows this — everyone also knows that Morneau has done pretty well, at 35.6 RAR he’s also a pretty big star.
Aside from the two superstars, we also have Kubel and Crede over 20 RAR, at 21.9 and 21.1, respectively, along with a couple more solid players in Span and Cuddyer at 18.9 and 12.5 RAR on the year so far. So how can a team with 2 superstars, 2 good regulars, and 2 more solid regulars end up with a bad offense? Well, before I answer that, guess who the 7th best offensive regular has been thus far.
I didn’t think you’d get it — it’s Jose Morales. That’s right, in extremely limited time in the majors, during which Gardy kept him on the bench as much as possible, Morales produced 7.0 RAR. I’m not advocating for that much more playing time for Morales, after all I’d like Mauer to get as much time at catcher as possible. And he’s proven extremely durable so far this year, and Redmond hasn’t been an unmitigated disaster as a backup — I mean, he sucks, and at $1M per year we’d expect him to produce about 0.2 WAR. He’s at 0.1 so far, so he’s right on pace to be exactly what we’re paying him for.
The problem is not Morales or Redmond. The problem is that the rest of the team has been unable to produce more in the entire season (so far) than Morales produced in a month and a half of extremely (and unacceptably) limited playing time. After a good week, Gomez has jumped up to 4.0 RAR (0.4 WAR), making him the last guy on the roster that isn’t replacement-level or worse. (And knowing Gomez, he’ll be right back down at 0.1 by Monday.)
Redmond, Punto, Harris, and Buscher are all completely replaceable at 1.0 RAR. The real problem, of course, is the guys coming in below them: Tolbert at -9.3, Young at -13.3, and Casilla at -13.7 RAR, all in very limited playing time, have been hemorrhaging wins from this team. If none of them had played at all this season, and instead we’d had easily found AAA-caliber players at their positions, we’d be more than 3 wins better right now, and would be in first place. So the next time you wonder about what it’d be like to be leading the division, don’t blame Mauer and Morneau for not being better, and don’t blame Bill Smith for failing to acquire a top player at one of our positions of need, and don’t blame the pitching (too much) — just blame the fact that Tolbert, Casilla, and Young are fucking terrible at baseball and have sucked as much as anyone in the league.
Oh, another useless thing. Apparently David Ortiz tested positive for steroids in 2003. The famous list of 104 strikes again — boy is it a good thing that thing wasn’t destroyed like it should have been, right? Of course, it was pretty obvious that DOrtiz had done steroids as soon as he went to the Red Sox — in 2003. He went from a 120 OPS+ to a 144 OPS+ right then (which is a big jump), from 1.3 WAR straight to 3.4 WAR. From a merely good hitter to one of the best in the league. Subjectively, he went from a regular-sized guy who wasn’t good enough at hitting to stick as a DH and wasn’t good enough at fielding to stick as a 1B to a big fat slugger pounding homers at a prodigious rate. Pictures of him before 2003 are tough to find, but the last time I looked he’d put on a whole lot of weight as soon as he put on a Red Sox uniform.
That’s all fine. But can we be sure he started in 2003 once he got to the Red Sox, and never did anything when he was with the Twins? I don’t think so. He was starting to get bigger in his last season with the Twins, he did hit 20 HR, and his OPS+ in previous seasons? 101 and 106, before his 120 in 2002. He very well may have noticed that the Twins weren’t high on him, and that he was at risk of washing out of the league. You can’t be sure. But that’s not my problem. I’ve pretty much gotten over all this steroid bullshit.
My problem now is that these names keep getting leaked to the press, one or two at a time. The test was supposed to be anonymous, and the list was supposed to be destroyed years ago. It wasn’t, of course. And now some dickhead lawyers are keeping up a slow trickle of names. My take on that? I think every time the steroid conversation subsides a little bit, these guys leak the next biggest name on the list. It’s basically as sleazy as possible, and given how many more names are on that list, this is going to continue for a long time. My advice? Don’t get too worked up. It’s just not worth it any more.
Oh … one last thing. I’d hereby like to apologize to Garrett Jones. I know he’s having a great time for the Pirates right now, really hitting the crap out of the ball — but that’s all about to end. I picked him up for my fantasy team, and if there’s one thing I know about guys on my fantasy team, it’s that they immediately start sucking. Or get injured.
Alright everyone, hopefully this little bit of rambling tided you over a little bit during this brutal offday. I know it helped me. Tomorrow, we start a pretty big series against the Angels. Go Twins.28 comments