Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hippocratic oaf


Did you know that Vinny Castilla is afflicted with "a tired bat"?

Do you even know what a "tired bat" is? Nor do I, though it does sort of remind me of Bill James' old line about the "tired arm" diagnosis: There's something wrong with it, but we don't know what the hell it is.

Fortunately, Frank Robinson knows what has made Vinny's bat so tired---or unfortunately, as we shall see:


"He's naturally going down the other side of the hill," Robinson said. "He's not going up the hill. We all know that. That's not a knock at him. It's just a matter of how fast he goes and how productive he can be in the years that's left."

It's a good thing the Nats signed the guy for a second year, eh?!

In fairness, seeing as St. Barry refers to a "recent slump" (2-for-24), I should add that just about anyone can do anything in tiny samples of playing time; rip two games from last week's headlines, and Cristian Guzman is "on pace for" 162 homers! On the other hand, Svrluga also mentions that Castilla's slugging average has now dipped below .400, and "recent slumps" don't really do that, unless it's the first week in April.

Speaking of St. Barry, he performs an uncharacteristic gloss-job in this article:


When the Nationals signed Castilla, 37, to a two-year, $6.2 million contract in the offseason, they were clear about their expectations. They wanted production similar to his years in Atlanta and Houston, about a .270 average with 70 or 80 RBI, as opposed to the National
League-leading 131 RBI he had with Colorado last season.


Castilla has played for three teams other than Colorado. I can understand Svrluga's omission of the Tampa Bay year-and-a-month, because why would the Nats' expectation for Castilla be .221/.254/.308? More importantly, though, Svrluga selectively lists the Houston/Atlanta years, notably leaving off the 2002 season, when Castilla hit .232/.268/.348.

So, in review, Svrluga is talking about a three-year period, and he declines to include one of those seasons. That's more convenient than an EZ Pass.


____________

Because of the "tired bat," Castilla sat during yesterday's series-ending triumph over the Buccos. Jamey Carroll started in Castilla's stead.

In today's WashTimes, Mark Zuckerman assures us that Carroll's roster spot is secure when Jose Vidro comes back from his injury. This was ever in doubt?

Apparently it was, or at least speculation surfaced that Carroll might be the odd man out. Why? Ostensibly, because Junior Spivey's acquisition and Vidro's return would create a logjam of infielders, and one of them (Carroll) would have to go.

That's lunacy, man. All season, the Nats have lacked infield depth; this is the team that recalled Broken Wing Mateo for the purpose of . . . I don't know, non-partisan electoral observation? Carlos Baerga, of all people, was playing second base. In 2005!

Cristian Guzman has shown some signs of life recently, and that's a good thing. If he were two-thirds competent offensively (as opposed to, say, one-quarter), maybe we could discuss gang-planking Carroll. But Guzman's not, and we'll need a double-switchable infielder at the ready. We've received no assurance Spivey can do the trick at shortstop. Plus, what if Castilla's "tired bat" acts up again (or, worse yet, proves to be chronic)? Bottom line: we need Jamey Carroll.

And, even if we truly didn't need Carroll, here's why the discussion is a non-starter. I'll give you two words:

Wil Cordero.

Comments:
The Jamey Carroll thing read to me as a few of the writers sitting around trying to figure these same sorts of questions out.

Note the lack of sourcing on the assertion. It's just "Some".

$20 says it was Rocket Bill trying to protect the man-crush he has on Wil Cordero.
 
Right now though, you're right. Jamey is the only back-up SS. Since no-hit, no-glove first basemen aren't what most teams look for you might think Wil would be the one to go.

Me I'm betting on Tony Blanco. Yes, that leaves us with only 1 back-up OF, but Tony isn't a regular minor leaguer.

It's a tough one

Jamey: No veteran presence, not awful, non-Bowden pick-up
Tony: No veteran presence, not awful, Bowden pick-up
Wil Corder: Veteran presence, awful, non-Bowden pick-up
 
Of course, if it's Blanco we run the risk of losing him for half the purchase price, right?
 
The tired arm thing reminds me that in the 90s the O's once put a guy on the DL for "inability to pitch". Not only is this refreshingly honest, it gave me hope that one day I could spend time on a major league DL!
 
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