Today was a good day. I accomplished all the writing I had hoped to get to, answered a ton of emails, had a strong podcast this morning with Kyle Elfrink, and closed down the day with a nice two hour shift of Live Advice. Before I drift off into the mist of Friday night, and a potential date (keep your fingers crossed), I thought I would wrap up the day with some notes from what is going on around the diamond, so here goes nothing.
Giants fans, here is your catcher update for the week. Bengie Molina is second on the Giants with eight RBI and he is batting .317 through 12 games. Amazingly, he also has two walks already, a breakneck pace for a guy who walked 13 times last year in 132 games (how pathetic is that and the corresponding .285 OBP?). Down on the farm the heir apparent, Buster Posey, is batting .373 through 15 games. Buster also has eight walks against nine strikeouts helping him to post a .457 OBP and a .949 OPS. There is no doubt that Posey already has a better approach at the dish than Molina, but Molina has enough power at the plate, and works very well with the staff on defense, so don’t be at all surprised to see Posey continue to toil away in the minors for a while unless there is an injury with the Giants.
The A’s Kevin Kouzmanoff has hit .215 with .308 SLG and a .572 OPS in his first 17 games with his new club. Some other disturbing numbers with KK follow. (1) He is hitting .056 with RISP (1-for-18). (2) He is batting .156 with runners on base. (3) Fifty-eight of his 66 ABs this season have come out of the cleanup spot. The A’s finally dropped him to sixth in the order the other night.
Manny Ramirez has been placed on the DL with a calf injury. It’s being called a strain so let’s hope that 15 days on the sidelines will be enough to cure him. Xavier Paul has been recalled from the minors to take his roster spot, though it looks like Reed Johnson and Garret Anderson will likely take Manny’s place in the everyday lineup. None of those three have close to the presence of Manny, and none figure to be able to match his early season work at the dish either (.415 with a 1.159 OPS through 13 games). I really went out on a limb with that statement didn’t I?
The Red Sox have been about as successful throwing out attempted base thieves this season as I have been trying to convince beautiful ladies to go out with me. Let’s just say neither of us has had a high success rate, but I would have to think my mark is better than the what the Red Sox have been getting from Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek (the Sox have thrown out just one of 38 steal attempts). The rumor is that the Sox have an interest in bringing Chris Snyder out east to join their club. Of course, this won’t happen for a while as the D’backs can’t afford to move Snyder at least until Miguel Montero returns from his knee injury. Snyder has thrown out just 25.9 percent of base stealers in his career, and is only 2-for-12 this year (16.7 percent), but the Sox are fairly desperate at this point because of their inept duo.
Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup on Friday after injuring his other hamstring. He also figures to miss Saturday’s game, but the belief is still that he should be good enough to go come next week. Cristian Guzman will continue to fill in with Adam Kennedy at second and Ian Desmond playing short.
Ben Zobrist was given a 5-year deal that could be worth up to $32.5 million dollars after last year’s breakout season. Apparently he’ll get about $18 million guaranteed with a couple of option years that could take the deal up to that original total. The Rays aren’t usually wrong with their talent evaluation, and they certainly have to be proactive given their financial situation, but that seems like a fair bit of loot to lavish on a guy who has only one full big league season under his belt.
Finally, here are a couple of links to stories I wrote on Friday.
What are the Cubs thinking with their move of Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen? Impact Report: Gorzelanny/Silva/Zambrano.
For those of you who have a special place in your heart for hockey, here is a quick jaunt around the frozen pond where I discuss all the first round playoff matchups. Frozen Pucks.
By Ray Flowers