Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

It’s Friday afternoon. Your hands are shaking, half in anticipation for the weekend to come, half because you just slammed back two energy drinks with a fervency normally reserved for dehydrated marathoners because you stayed up too late last night “sampling” the “make your own wine” you bought from Groupon. (The third bottle started to taste pretty good.) It’s too early to leave work, but far too late to start up anything new. What to do? What to do? How about you read my Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday to kill those last few minutes before the weekend?

Runner On Catcher Collisions

I wrote yesterday a little bit about my feelings on runner/catcher collisions and how I don’t feel anything should be done about it, through enhanced or better enforced rules. No one wants to see players get injured, but, at the risk of sounding like a hockey fan, how is this not a case of something that you should do at your own risk?

Catchers should know that when they block the plate there’s a possibility they’re going to get run over. Runners should also know that if they attempt to run over a catcher, there’s a possibility that they too will get injured. Both parties should act accordingly.

No one even mentioned the necessity of a rule change when Tsuyoshi Nishioka had his leg broken on a hard slide into second base.

As I write this, Jose Tabata just injured himself trying to slam into Koyie Hill. It works both ways. I wonder if Derek Jeter feels as though catchers are too vulnerable.

Best. Website. Ever. Today.

Just go visit Emo Juan Uribe. You can thank me in the comments.

Chatty Kathy

There was a ton of fun stuff to come out of this week’s 19 inning game between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, but perhaps none were more painful for Reds fans than Brandon Phillips getting distracted talking to Jimmy Rollins with two men on and a 3-1 count to Scott Rolen at bat.

I love this overhead shot you can see Phillips with a lead off second base looking over at Rollins. Meanwhile, J.C. Romero is turning to attempt a pickoff as Wilson Valdez discreetly moves toward the bag.

This is just before Phillip’s “Oh [Getting Blanked]!” moment.

And there it is.

No Observational Fallacy

We tend to mock the idea of trusting one’s eyes over a more complete view of a player’s performance. I stand by the fact that our biased observations often let us down and memories of past events are even more fallible. However, seeing Adam Dunn up close last night was like watching Samson being paraded around with a shaved head by the Philistines. What is going on there?

Talking With Bautista

Just a few things for Jose Bautista: 1) Dude, no one is buying the fake bunt bit. And if you ever do it just to keep fielders honest, you can pretty much go [Getting Blanked] yourself. There’s absolutely no point in you ever bunting. 2) I know you’re more nimble than the average slugger, but your lead offs and head first dives are heart attack inducing. It’s great to prove that you’re a multi dimensional player, but you also have to take into account that the rest of your team’s lineup is awful and that for many fans, the only reason they come to the ballpark is to watch you. Please don’t get injured. 3) Maybe John Farrell will listen to you. Could you please ask him not to have players trying to steal bases while you’re at bat. Not only has it proven to be somewhat counter productive in allowing pitchers to give you a free pass, but it also means that for the pitch that they’re running on, you can’t swing. You’re getting less and less pitches that you can swing at from those thrifty pitchers, so maybe the team shouldn’t start taking away more. 4) And while you’re speaking with him, could you let him know that Yunel Escobar is too good of a batter to be sacrificing himself to advance a runner. Thanks.

Proposed Name Change

Drew Fairservice has christened a large chunk of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup the DFA All-Stars. It got me thinking about the team, and how only three positional players on the current active roster (J.P. Arencibia, Bautista and Escobar), plus Adam Lind on the Disabled List and Travis Snider in Las Vegas, have Major League experience and are expected to play a role on a future edition of the Toronto Blue Jays. I suppose you could count Rajai Davis as well because he’s locked up for 2012, but at that price, he doesn’t have to be more than a fourth outfielder.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that maybe this is part of the reason for attendance suffering. The Toronto DFA All-Stars does have a nice ring to it.

Figgins Likin’ Bad

After a seven WAR season in 2009, Chone Figgins signed a four year $36 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. In his first season of the new deal he put up a 1.1 WAR season, playing in every game except one. This year his WAR value is – 0.5. In 2009, Figgins swung at 15% of the pitches he saw outside of the zone. In 2010, that number was up to 21%. So far in 2011, it’s at 26%. If I were his manager, I’d ask him to stop trying to be an RBI whore.

Wash

During the World Series, I came down harshly on Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington a couple of times. While I question his bullpen management and some of his decisions regarding certain sluggers who haven’t played right field in years, he seems like he’d be an awesome dude to grab a beer with. And somehow, without ever necessarily thinking about it, I always just assumed he drove a car like this:

Shameless Self Promotion

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Overlooking The Marlins

I may have completely overlooked the Florida Marlins as a contender in the National League East based almost entirely on their willingness to rid themselves of Dan Uggla. What makes me kick myself is that I championed the Oakland A’s in the AL West for exactly the same reasons that I should have taken a closer look at the Marlins. Their pitching has been fantastic. Florida boasts four starters with an xFIP under 3.57.

Speaking of Uggla, he represents another area in which I may have been completely off base (at least at the quarter mark of the 2011 regular season). In addition to complaining about the Jose Bautista contract, I actually thought that the similar terms handed to Uggla by the Braves was a sound deal. The second baseman has had a horrible start to the season getting on base only 25% of the time, with only 15 extra base hits. Uggla’s home run totals from his rookie season to last year are the very model of a modern major power hitting second baseman: 27, 31, 32, 31 and 33.