It's far too hot to write, or read, anything longer than three paragraphs or so:
I'm seeing a lot of Raul Mondesi/Jesse Barfield comparisons from Yankee fans. I guess there's a resemblance: both are right fielders with great arms and high strikeout rates who came to the Yankees in midseason trades. However, given what I remember about Barfield, I have a real hard time with the idea. Barfield was a quiet guy, not known for being a party animal, while Mondesi isn't quiet, and has a reputation as someone who enjoys nightlife. The two personalities are so different that it prevents me from seeing the similarities.
I've always connected Barfield and Fred McGriff, to be honest. I seem to recall they looked a bit alike.
The trade doesn't help the Yankees all that much, and it costs them about $14 million over two seasons. That won't affect the color of the team's bottom line, nor its place in the standings, but it's the kind of thing about which Chicken Littles can crow.
Did anyone else notice that the Braves and Dodgers are tied for the best record in baseball? (Mariners, too.) Exactly when did this happen?
The Dodgers have lost one series since Memorial Day weekend, and haven't lost three games in a row since they were swept in San Francisco to open the season. They lead the planet in Defensive Efficiency, thanks to major upgrades in left field, in center field, and at shortstop over the winter. Odalis Perez's All-Star slot and Andy Ashby's 3.36 ERA are both byproducts of that improved defense.
At some point, we'll have to take a look at Eric Gagne, who has 30 saves and can begin to be talked about as a threat to Bobby Thigpen's record of 57 saves. Gagne has pitched extremely well: 60 strikeouts and four walks in 42 2/3 innings is ridiculous by any measure. He very nearly shut out June, surrendering only a scratch run to the Rockies last Wednesday.
Opportunity is always the largest barrier to Thigpen's mark–few pitchers have ever had that many save opportunities in a season–but the Dodgers are the kind of team that could give Gagne a chance. They play in a low-run-scoring environment, they don't have a great offense, and they funnel all their opportunities to one man.
I kicked this around in an article last June, which you can read here.
I forgot to mention the Boston Pizza Feed in yesterday's column. Sunday afternoon, about 30 BP readers and five BP staffers holed up in a restaurant two blocks from Fenway Park and talked baseball. Thanks to all the Bostonians who attended, and to the staff at Pizzeria Uno, who were uniformly helpful.
Special thanks to Ryan Million, who set the whole thing up.
I loved the Bartolo Colon trade for the Expos, but it's meaningless unless they add one more hitter. They're a bat short, and carrying a hole at first base–Andres Galarraga can't help a team win at this point in his career–will kill them.
My pet theory is a Peter Bergeron for Travis Lee trade. Bergeron needs a new organization, maybe the Expos catch lightning in a bottle with Lee, and the Phillies have to clear first base. As cool as it may seem to have Bobby Abreu roaming center field, it's not good for a team with that many flyball pitchers, and the increased risk of injury to Abreu while he's playing out of position isn't one the Phillies should be taking with their best player.
Flipping by the Mets/Phillies game last night, I heard a discussion about Doug Glanville's status as a bench player. The thrust of it, more or less, was that it's one thing if a team in contention pushes a young player to the bench, but that if a team in the cellar does so, it can really wreak havoc with the player's confidence, and that this was possibly a cause of Glanville's problems.
Glanville, of course, is 31 years old, with seven years of major-league experience and 3,300-odd major-league at-bats.
That was only the second silliest thing I've seen or heard recently. Last Friday's USA Today included a note on the Detroit Tigers: "Shane Halter started at third base in place of Chris Truby as Luis Pujols tried to get more punch in the lineup."
Swear to god, I'm not making that up.
In re: Idiot v. Slugger: Idiot was wrong. One of these days, the media will stop making itself the story.
Probably around the same time that we stop demanding that people prove their innocence, I'd imagine.
Have a great Fourth, everyone, and please, whether it's firecrackers or firewater, be safe.