Thursday, July 14, 2005

Be Realistic, Jim

I love Bodes sometimes. Despite some of the moves he makes that cause me to crinkle up my forehead, he has passion for the game. He loves selling it. He loves being the star.

In yesterday's GameDay thread we were discussing his pitchman abilities, and how he'd try to sell anyone anything at any time. We figured if he wasn't GMin', he'd be selling the Gutter Shutter at a mall kiosk.

In his latest column for the DC Examiner, he discusses the Mike Stanton trade.

He's right in that it's a low risk reward -- the Nats are only paying him league minimum, and they didn't give up any talent to acquire him.

But his justification for the trade on other grounds reeks of classic PT Bowden -- always a showman.
Though Mike hasn't pitched well, he was used primarily to get lefties out. He'll be more effective in the National League than in the American League because of the pitcher hitting, double switches and the fact that you pitch more in this league. And remember: Lefties are hitting .176 against him.

Let's take them one at a time.

"Though Mike hasn't pitched well, he was used primarily to get lefties out"
That's never been true throughout his career. Even this year, if you want to give Bodes the benefit of the doubt, he's had 34 ABs against left-handed batters and 23 against right-handers.

Even if he WAS used primarily against left-handers, wouldn't his wretched stats put up an even bigger warning flag about the decline of his performance?


"He'll be more effective in the National League than in the American League because of the pitcher hitting, double switches and the fact that you pitch more in this league
Well, if I'm not mistaken, he's pitched in the NL in each of the last two years with mediocre success. Prior to that, he had a long run of success with the AL. And prior to that he had a long run of success with the NL.

That's a lot of success in two different leagues (which is also part of the problem -- you can't have a long run of success unless you're old!)

The point about the pitcher hitting makes no sense. Have you ever seen a manager bring in a left-hander to get a pitcher out? Hell, any reliever? If Mike Stanton's facing a pitcher, odds are we're already losing the game!

His logic on the double switch finally clears up something that has bothered us all season. Since doing a double-switch strengthens the advantage of the opposing pitcher, we should be thankful that FRobby hasn't used it! That's managerial genius in action, and I don't know why we couldn't see the strategic importance before.

He also claims that you pitch more in this league. Hmmm. Alrighty. Wouldn't that hinge on effectiveness and his role in the bullpen? His career highs in IP came in the AL, even.


"And remember: Lefties are hitting .176 against him."
Yes, he's been very successful against lefties this year. But that came in just 34 ABs.

But, for his career, he's been just as effective against righties. Anybody who's watched the Yankees regularly over the past decade would tell you that they would clench a little when Stanton was brought in to face a tough lefty.

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Bringing Stanton in is a low-cost move. I don't have a problem with it from that respect, but Bodes needs to be honest with what he's acquired. And that's what bothers me about this.

Stanton is not the pitcher he was when Joe Torre called on him on a seemingly nightly basis.

That was too long ago, and too many innings ago. Stanton certainly could surprise, but if the team is counting on him to be a lefty specialist or to help Luis Ayala out in the 8th inning, they're going to be sorely disappointed.

He's a middle reliever, just like Tucker was.

But to admit as such wouldn't create the headlines, and it wouldn't let him puff his chest out and show the world what a wonderful GM he was either.