Vernon Wells played in 158 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009. He was terrible: below average at the plate and absolutely atrocious in the field. Nearing the end of the season, fans heard whispers and unconfirmed reports that the team’s center fielder was battling injury throughout the season.
The Blue Jays media handlers eventually spun this into making the face of the franchise appear to be heroic.
Wells may not have been 100%, but he went out there every day to try to make the fans happy.
It was nonsense. While ideally, a front office or coaching staff would have enough sway to place a struggling star on the Disabled List, Wells would’ve contributed far more to the team by taking himself out of the lineup, and resuming play once he was healthy enough to do so. Even if it was an injury that would only get better through surgery, it would be better to get it, work at improving during the off season and come back even stronger next season than clogging the lineup with replacement level performances.
Before suffering a hamstring injury on May 5th, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was on a tear, dominating the league in a way that only the best players are capable. Since then, not so much. Kemp put up an OPS of 1.342 before the injury, but from May 5th on, he’s gotten on base in less than 26% of his plate appearances and has only a .477 OPS.
After an MRI exam revealed a slight strain in his left hamstring, the club placed the active leader for consecutive games played on the Disabled List, and recalled Jerry Sands from its Triple A affiliate.
According to Kemp:
They had to talk me into it a little bit. It’s hard to sit out 15 days. I was going crazy watching (this game). But we have a bunch of good guys on this team. They will continue to play well. When I come back, I will help them any way I can to help us win.
To say that Kemp will be missed is an understatement worthy of the most subtle double take of all time. Even with Andre Ethier, the Dodgers are quite literally a below average offensive club without their center fielder. Kemp’s 18.2 batting runs above average are the highest on the team by 7.3 runs.
This past off season, there was much eye rolling over the Dodgers seemingly over paying for replacement level talent, and while the Kemp contract doesn’t immediately make all other mistakes forgivable, it does make having Juan Rivera, Adam Kennedy and James Loney in the lineup a bit easier to swallow. Without Kemp’s protective excellence, I think the mediocrity of the Dodgers is going to be found out rather quickly over the next two weeks.
However, it’s better for Kemp, and ultimately better for the team, that he takes the time off now rather than offering his services at only a percentage of what they could be.
And The Rest
Bryce Harper hit his first Major League home run. [Federal Baseball]
The Los Angeles Angles were shut out for the eighth time this season. They’re on pace to set a new record. [Sully Baseball]
A canonical record of batting lines. You’ll see. [Value Over Replacement Grit]
Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy is out for the season after it was announced that the left hander will require Tommy John surgery. [USA Today]
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann fractured his fibula on an Adam Lind line drive that went right off the starter’s right leg. [ESPN Florida]
How to make a baseball cap for your banana. [Brock Davis Tumblr]
Major League Baseball doesn’t mind infringing on the culture of Native Americans, but don’t you dare even come close to infringing the copyrights they’ve set up to do so. [Indian Country Today]
Two people will attempt to set a new Guinness Book of World Records record when they play Strat-O-Matic baseball for fifty-four hours. [Strat-O-Matic.com]
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter has been placed on the restricted list to deal with a family issue after reports of his son being arrested for sexual assault were released. [NBC Dallas-Fort Worth]
Washington Nationals prospect, Anthony Rendon, is ready to try this whole professional baseball thing again, once his ankle injury is all better. [Chron.com]
What. A. Jerk. [Busted Coverage]
Meet the baseball fans who are suing Major League Baseball in an attempt to eliminate archaic policies centered around blacking out some games on television. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Brian McNamee testified at the Roger Clemens perjury trial, and … Oh, sorry, I fell asleep there for a minute. Where were we? [New York Times]
City politics make me wonder if Kelsey Grammer isn’t really still the Mayor of Chicago. [Ballpark Digest]
Finally, on the most recent edition of The Getting Blanked Show, we talk in reverent voices about Joey Votto and proclaim that Mark Teixeria is just not that good anymore (defensive shift induced). [Getting Blanked]