Earlier this week, a Boston-based baseball writer speculated in his column that the Phillies believe that St. Louis might be interested in Phillies closer Jonathon Papelbon. Mind you, there was no real substance behind his assertion, but it made the usual rumor-mill rounds all the same. This move would make no sense for the Cardinals, and here are five reasons why:
1) Salary. Papelbon makes $13 million, which is ridiculous money for a pitcher (not named Mariano Rivera) at such a fungible position on the diamond.
Every year, closers lose their jobs, whether due to injury, ineffectiveness or trade.
A large-market team like Philadelphia can absorb that kind of salary commitment much easier than St. Louis. Papelbon has pitched 70 innings in his career exactly ONCE (last season). From what I’ve read, the Cardinals try to keep their budget for salaries in the $100-110 million range. Earmarking over 10% of that to one reliever would be a stupid decision for any team in that salary range, especially one on the downside of his career, which leads me to my second point… Continue reading
I have always been flummoxed by Matt Holliday.
On one hand, there are the numbers. Those numbers tell me things like this: Holliday has compiled a park-adjusted OPS+ greater than 120 every season he has played since 2006. His average OPS+ of 137 is 12th among active players. In his 10-year career, Holliday has averaged 29 home runs, 109 RBI, 107 runs scored, and a .533 slugging average.
Statistical comparisons at Baseball-Reference list the following players as comparable to Holliday:
Larry Walker, Lance Berkman, Fred Lynn, Bernie Williams, Hack Wilson. Pretty good company, no?
He has played over 150 games five times and is on pace to do it again – at age 33, when many players start to break down. But day in and day out, he’s out there, a reliable rock in the lineup for one of the better teams in baseball. Just this past Sunday night, he belted a grand slam in extra innings to help boost the Cardinals to a big win over Cincinnati.
When Albert Pujols left St. Louis after the 2011 World Championship season, the role of 3-hole hitter passed to Holliday. While he did not replicate Pujols’ numbers (and was not expected to), his usual numbers were right on target by season’s end. He was not out of place in that spot in the order. Continue reading
In my college days, going through my early 30s, a friend and I would make an annual drive to Colorado Springs to watch the Sky Sox play. Granted, we lived in the Denver metro area, so it wasn’t that long of a drive, but whatever. It was one of my favorite days each year. On the way, we would quiz each other on all sorts of baseball trivia: franchise relocations, past World Series winners, MVP/Cy Young winners, etc. My favorite topic was player nicknames. The Wizard. The Babe. Charlie Hustle. Spaceman. Oil Can. Crime Dog. The list could on for days.
Recently, I ran across an article on Athlon Sports that purported to list the 50 best baseball nicknames ever.
It is a woefully inadequate list, if you ask me, but generally, those lists are always debatable because they are just a writer’s opinion. It did get me to thinking, though: where are the good nicknames today? Sure, there are a few popular ones: Kung Fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval), the Flyin’ Hawaiian (Shane Victorino), Pronk (Travis Hafner), Spider-Man (Torii Hunter), or “Coco” Crisp. Continue reading