October 15, 2008

Off-Season Ramblings: Quinlan, Glaus, Reyes, Playoffs, Billingsley

Eli of Eli's MLB Rumors believes that the Twins may try and target Robb Quinlan, a Minnesota native, who just if finished up a two-year contract with the Angels. If this actually happens, I will be very disappointed with the Twins. As much as like seeing the Twins potentially add local talent, I don't see how Quinlan could even remotely improve this ball club. He is terrible at the plate and is nothing special on defense.

If the Twins were in need of a utility player who can play both corner infield positions and also spot start in the outfield, then Quinlan wouldn't be bad under the right circumstances (or on a team with the lowest payroll at the bottom of the standings). However the Twins have too many outfielders right now to even consider bringing in another and although Quinlan is mainly viewed as an infielder, the Twins have enough infielders that are more than capable of handling both starting and backup roles on this team.

I'd rather see the Twins do absolutely nothing with the team and not occupy a roster spot with a player that has no reason being on the team in the first place. In other words, no thanks.

I do like the thought of adding Troy Glaus however, which is speculated at "The tenth inning stretch."

Eddie Bajek's American League Relief Pitchers projected Elias Rankings are out, and according to his rankings the Twins should net a sandwich pick for Dennys Reyes' Type-B status. Although the official Elias Rankings are not actually out at this time, Bajek believes he's found a formula for predicting some players and so we'll see how accurate he is.

Reyes has spent 3 years with the Twins. Originally signed as a minor league free agent with an invitation to spring training, Reyes found himself in a Twins uniform in late April of 2006 and since has gone 10-1 with a 2.13 ERA while being the teams primary left-handed specialist. He has averaged 2.7 batters per appearance and just around 3.6 P/PA, which in other words averages out to around 9.72 pitches per appearance.

Reyes has been a solid left-handed specialist for the Twins, but with the emergence of both Craig Breslow and Jose Mijares, Reyes is no longer needed. The Twins need to offer arbitration in order to receive the sandwich pick, however Reyes knows that a multi-year deal is waiting for him on the open market and would be foolish to take the arbitration. It's been great, but it's time to move on.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies each have moved one step closer to the World Series with a commanding 3-1 lead over both the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rays are the feel-good story of the year and the Phillies haven't won it nearly 30 years. Although there is a lot of talk about this years World Series potentially being the least watched ever (beating out both 2006 and 2007), I couldn't be more thrilled about this potential matchup(aside from the Twins being in it, tear).

But before I go any further, everything I am about to say is me predicting that the Phillies and Rays do win their current series and advance to the World Series. Is it possible both the Red Sox and Dodgers come back? Certainly. But at this stage it does seem unlikely. So...

To the casual fan, I can see why this could be a boring World Series. The Rays don't really have any super stars on the team and the Phillies are a team that many love to hate (for whatever reason, I'm still not sure exactly why). I like both clubs, however I have been a fan of the Rays for a few years which is why I'd personally rather see them win.

Although I enjoy watching the Red Sox, I have certainly enjoyed the thumping they've received at home from the Rays. Tampa Bay has hit 10 home runs in the series, including 7 at Fenway Park. The Rays are out pitching and out hitting the Red Sox, when many thought the Red Sox would win the series. The Rays quickly came from being bottom dwellers, the worst team in the majors a year ago, to now being on the cusp of advancing the the Fall Classic. I think that baseball fans should feel fortunate to watch such an event and should really be more enthusiastic about the Rays going to the World Series than what they are. I understand that the media would love to have a Boston-Los Angeles World Series, but I think that they could just as easily hype the Rays going, but instead they continue to discuss how boring it's going to be. Many fans are only going to believe or see what the media tells them. I believe the media should start to show a little more support and actually try to pull in viewers, instead of push them away by telling them how boring it's going to be.

Something else that irks me is the content in this article, including a statement from Larry Bowa. Bowa the Phillies former manager made this comment:
"should have been taken care of (in Game 2) in Philadelphia."
He's referring to the Dodgers, in particular Chad Billingsley's decision to not retaliate against Brett Myers who threw at both Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez, two of the Dodgers premier players. Billingsley had a "perfect time" to retaliate in the 2nd inning with Greg Dobbs on the mound. Instead, Dobbs singled which lead to a 2-out double by Carlos Ruiz and after the inning, all told Billingsley gave up 4 runs.

I understand that there's a "clubhouse code" in baseball in which promotes pitchers to retaliate when one of their teammates are "sent a message." But is this acceptable? I believe that there's a time and place for everything and like Tim Brown says,
"In October, you win the stinkin’ game first and worry about Manny Ramirez’s standards of sportsmanship next"
And I totally agree. Had Billingsley thrown at a Phillies player, he not only runs the risk of injuring that player, but also intentionally puts a man on base. I'm sure the Dodgers players would have been content with Billingsley at least attempting to throw at a player, not necessarily hitting him, but it still runs the risk of potentially injuring a player. Regardless of what another player does, I will never find it acceptable for anyone to be ridiculed for not potentially injuring someone. I know I might be reading a little too much into this, but it's not the first time players (or coaches) have gotten upset with a teammate for not retaliating nor will it won't be the last time. Are brawls fun to watch? I certainly think so, however a player shouldn't be ridiculed for not intentially do something that could provoke either more retaliation, his own status in the game (he could have been ejected), or potentially injuring a player. In my mind, more should be focused on Billingsley's inability to pitch an effective game and not his inability to purposely throw at another player.

Thoughts? Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments or send me an e-mail.