Friday, April 3, 2009

For Better Or Worse...

-- If you thought keeping Luis Cruz, with his .180 BA/.212 OBP, on the roster was a puzzler, well at least the fact he played errorless ball during the spring while Brian Bixler booted four and Andy Phillips had a balky back and only 19 at-bats gave the suits some excuse.

But Jesse Chavez? He cobbled together an 11.45 ERA during camp in 11 IP. Evan Meek's ERA was 3.48 in 10-1/3 innings, while Jason Davis had a 1.38 ERA in 13 frames. Heck, even Chris Bootcheck had a 4.73 ERA in 13-1/3 innings. GW can't figure the reasoning behind that decision.

Even if the suits want Meek to work a few games at Indy after missing a couple of weeks to the flu and bronchitis, why isn't Davis on the roster instead? He'd fill the bill as a long man/spot starter to a tee. Just saying...whatever happened to that accountability thing?

Even if Chavez suddenly sees the light and throws nothing but zeroes, we think it's a terrible message to send to the team. Performance, not potential, should primarily determine who plays.

-- NBC's Tony DeMarco sees the Central Division shaking out like this:

Chicago, (93-69) St. Louis (85-77), Milwaukee (84-78), Cincinnati (79-83), Houston (72-90), Pittsburgh (66-96).

-- Adam Tolegian of Fox Sports picks the Pirates to come in last in the Central. He says:
"At several points late this decade, the Pirates looked as though they had the makings of a nice young staff. First it was Zach Duke. Then it was Ian Snell. Now it's Paul Maholm. If Maholm follows the pattern, his strong '08 will be followed by poor results this season. If all three ever bounced back, the Pirates could be somewhat of a sleeper even with an offense that lacks the power needed to be a contender. Bet on another long season. Projected wins: 66-70."
-- But it's not all doom and gloom for Maholm. George Winkler of The Sporting News' "Fantasy Source Fastball" column picks him as one of 2009's sleepers, as does Steve Gardner of USA Today's "Fantasy Insider." Ditto for Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated's "Daily Scoop."

-- The Rays Party blog suggests that out-of-options pitcher Jeff Niemann could go to Pittsburgh for a power hitter, ala Jamie Romak or perhaps Matt Hague. Probably just thinkin' out loud, but hey...

-- And as camp winds down, Zach Duke recovered from the licking the Yankees put on him last outing and threw five innings of four-hit, shutout ball against the Twins. Alas, Donnie Veal was tagged for a three run shot, and the game ended a 4-4 draw.

Adam LaRoche homered, while Jason Jaramillo and second-year stud Robbie Grossman had a pair of hits apiece. Jaramillo's had five hits in the last three games; going north with the club seems to have done wonders for his eye...and confidence.

The Pirates and Twins will close out their Grapefruit League seasons tomorrow in Fort Myers. Ross Ohlendorf will go against Glen Perkins. Then it's off on the big bird to St. Louis for the games that count.

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