The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates. I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time. Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened. Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.
- I’ve been trying to figure out what has been going on with Joe Nathan, since his awfulness finally hit the fan, knocked it out the window, hit ole man Peabody on the noggin’ and then rolled to the gutter to be laughed at by the pre-school kids who walk on a big rope with huge handles. The problem here is– he is sitting on some prime real estate. A closer on a team with decent starting pitching is good for business when it comes to saves. So after scouring through a decade of videos that I stole from Hollywood Video, one of which was Pootie Tang, it seems that he is old. No, but in all seriousness, he is old and his arm is dragging. Velocity is off, and he is just relying on pitching the way he is used to without having the same stuff to back it up. It sucks getting old, it really does. I need drugs that kill my brain cells just to remember to take my Metamucil. So here is the dilly with Nathan, who by all purposes has Ausmus’ approval. He hits the disgraceful list with arm fatigue, comes back after a week of shuffleboard with Gopher and Doc, and he turns his ERA from 7 to 5. That’s the best case scenario I can see.
- Tommy Hunter returns from the DL to find Zach Britton there. Hunter was shaky anyway before getting dinged up so the shakes continue, just don’t hand him a can of soda. Britton continues to man the job because Buck hates change. It scares him, like trying to tie a double-windsor when he only wears bow ties.
What’s better than having the comfort of having a great stand-by at home? Nothing. It helps you, it lives for you and gosh darn’it, you can do with it as you please, under the jurisdictions of the law. It’s got a nice pre-kids body and a penchant for baking. So we have the roster stalwarts that you want to have and hold for this season forward.
2. Kenley Jansen – (Chris Perez, Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell)
These guys are fun, and maybe some day you’ll want to marry them, but right now they have their flaws and you’re not sure if you wanna take them home to mom. So you give them the special booty-call ring designation on your phone, and you get everything that marriage can’t give you. Stats are the important thing here, and lots of them, no obligations. No alimony attached, just straight unadulterated stats.
17. Joakim Soria – (Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts)
19. Jonathan Papelbon – (Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Frautus)
Should be self-explanatory. There is no comfort in this grouping, along with the fear of looking suspicious when buying a new shovel and some lyme when all that you wanna do is plant a new butterfly bush. The jib? The newly injured replacements are here or just they’re just the unproven. All should be laid to rest, unless desperation or injury becomes you. Don’t get comfy, death or stat-suicide may be closer than it appears.