The Rangers aren't afraid of a little danger, the Astros take a chance of their own, and saying good-bye to a Hall of Famer.
The public perception of Milton Bradley as a glowering, angry man is a fairly accurate portrayal. The Rangers' designated hitter has had his share of problems throughout his career, much of it triggered by his quick temper, whether it has been walking off the field in the middle of a spring training game, throwing a plastic bottle at a fan, yelling at a reporter in a crowded clubhouse during the postseason, blowing out a knee while being restrained by his manager from going after an umpire, or rushing to the press box in an attempt to “introduce” himself to an opposing team’s broadcaster.
Ozzie Guillen's getting depressed about the stories the scoreboards tell his players, plus rumors and frustration aplenty all around the game.
Batting average, as all sabermetric devotees know, does not provide a particularly useful picture of a hitter's value. Nevertheless, we're still in a day and age when you'll find batting average on every scoreboard in every major-league park. And Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, in a roundabout way, believes the widespread exposure of the antiquated metric is part of the reason his team is just 28-36 and in fourth place in the American League Central, 9 ½ games behind division-leading Cleveland.
The arrival of the position players engenders all the glorious love, life, and loss of the spring training soul search.
"I'd pitch a fit, put it that way. I don't think I'm over the hill or should be relegated to playing once a week. You don't know what their plan is, what their thinking is. We've got nine guys (as outfielders in camp). Basically, everybody can play every day somewhere. If they're not going to do that, they need to go somewhere where they can play."
--Kevin Mench, Brewers OF, on the prospect of a platoon with fellow world-beater Geoff Jenkins.
Is pinch hitting good or bad? Guest writer Andy Dolphin uses the 2005 Phillies as a point of departure and takes a closer look.
A strong bench would seem to be one of those indispensable elements of a successful team. After all, if you need to generate some offense late in a game, you need players on the bench you can count on. (Not to mention, of course, the need to give players a break and have replacements for injuries. For this article I'm just looking at pinch hitting.)
The 2005 Phillies seemed to have just what they needed, in the form of four quality outfielders: Bobby Abreu (.286/.405/.474) in right, Pat Burrell (.281/.389/.504) in left, and Kenny Lofton (.335/.392/.420) and Jason Michaels (.304/.399/.415) sharing time in center. This must have been a manager's dream, right? Lofton or Michaels on the bench, able to come in and get on base to keep a rally going? Let's see how it worked out.
The Reds replaced Dave Miley with Jerry Narron, a staff change that will do little to stop the decline of this franchise.
Of course, Miley could have been the love child of John McGraw and Earl Weaver and not pushed this team over .500. While the Reds have a core of very talented players--the outfielders, Felipe Lopez and Brandon Claussen are a pretty good start--the team around that core has been assembled with all the care of a one-year-old distributing Cheerios at breakfast time. Dave Miley didn't sign Eric Milton and his rocket launcher to a three-year deal, and he didn't overcommit to Sean Casey and his Amazing GIDP Machine, and he didn't fail to resolve the four-outfielders-for-three-spots conundrum that has been in place ever since Wily Mo Pena emerged last summer.