119 thoughts on ““Relief Pitcher”?”

  1. Thank God college ball starts this weekend. Will get to see games up here at Virginia’s beautiful stadium, including when my own team, NC State, comes to town, behind the best pitcher in the college ranks, Carlos Rodon. (Sadly, no chance he drops to the Braves in 2014; he’s already projected as the #1 pick that year.)

  2. Medlen as a relief pitcher makes about as much sense as the Reds moving their exceptional one-pitch closer to the starting rotation.

  3. In fairness, Aroldis is more of a two-pitch pitcher: fastball/slider. But the slider appears to be effective too, and when you have a 101-mph fastball and a good slider, I think it’s worth at least finding out if you can start.

    Randy Johnson was basically a two pitch, fastball/slider pitcher.

  4. @11 Exactly what came to my mind. Most pitchers need at least three good pitches to be effective as a starter, but hard throwing lefties with a devastating slider might be an exception.

  5. You guys may be right about Chapman.

    I’m just a believer that you don’t move someone from a position where he’s great to a position that he might be real good just because you have a need at that latter spot.

    We’ll see.

  6. I’m not necessarily saying I would move him out of the closer role. But I see the points on both sides.

  7. So what’s the general consensus here on the Felix Hernandez extension? I certainly don’t think it’s worth giving that much to a pitcher, especially for a non-competitive team like the Mariners that would have to leapfrog the Rangers, Angels, and As to win that division or basically any six of Tampa Bay, Boston, the Yankees, Toronto, White Sox, Rangers, Angels, and As to win a playoff berth. I would think that they would have been a ton better off trading the guy for a massive haul and then choosing to spend that guaranteed money on free agents.

    Dave Cameron vehemently disagrees, though, citing concepts (that I’ve never heard from him or really in the stat community) like frictional costs and saying that while Seattle is a baseball city, cities such as Cleveland are not (http://tinyurl.com/a9r6z9s). It’s also interesting to compare his response to the Hernandez deal to the Ryan Braun and Joey Votto deals (http://tinyurl.com/cm3too9 and http://tinyurl.com/7366j4t). I think he makes great arguments from the viewpoint of a fan, but it doesn’t seem like his normal work (like Keith Law, slamming ‘dumb’ front offices -it does seem like Jack Zduriencik is not the intellectual savior that the media dubbed him to be- and denying that emotion should be part of a baseball decision).

  8. From AJC…the good Fredi:

    “We’re waiting for [Pastornicky] again this year,” Gonzalez said, in a good-natured tone that nonetheless sent a message. “Schafer probably has a tough time getting travel arrangements. He’s another one I’m going to grab. He only lives two exits up the road here; I haven’t seen him yet. I didn’t know he signed a deal with Frank – he’s got a five-year deal, guarantee to play one of the three outfield spots.”

    I guess they have their tickets to Gwinnett arranged.

  9. @20, Wow, that’s certainly sending a message. I guess these aren’t ‘required’ days, but they’re not required in the same sense that’s it’s not required to actually get flowers for your wife on Valentine’s Day. I would think Pastornicky would be there (or at least have a good excuse), but this is not surprising behavior from Logan. Anyone know why we signed him again?

  10. I don’t really like the deal, and if I ran a front office I’d probably have a policy never to hand out a contract to a pitcher for more than five years. Especially considering Felix’s unclear elbow situation. Basically, though, Cameron is arguing that there’s a serious opportunity cost to not extending Felix. Felix Hernandez is basically irreplaceable, which means that even though $175 million is a lot, it’s not necessarily a lot more than the cost of the alternative: wasting a bunch of money on guys like Jarrod Washburn and losing attendance and merchandising revenue and TV revenue. Felix will almost certainly get hurt before 2019, but there are big risks to not signing him, too.

    On the other hand, the exact same argument could have been made about the Mauer deal, and it basically crippled the franchise. Cameron’s arguing that future TV revenue is a hedge against that, and I honestly don’t know. I think it’s way too risky, but I’m cautious by nature.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Kershaw.

  11. @19 At least it covers his prime (27-33) instead of the wrong side of the 30s. It is as low of a risk as you can possibly find at that age and one being considered as an undisputed ace. In terms of value, I think it is market value. If I own the M’s, you have to keep him. Otherwise, there is no reason why anyone would go to see the team plays. Don’t forget Seattle has a history of having trouble in keeping professional sport teams.

  12. Sorry for the triple post:

    @22 Considering we are talking about the Dodgers (and the fact that Kershaw is younger and being a lefty), I am sure Kershaw will get an even bigger contract. I think Verlander will also get a bigger contract than Felix since we are talking about the Tigers.

  13. @23, That, or maybe he’s constant source of self-confidence for our pitchers in BP.

    @22, That Mauer deal is really what came to mind. I tried to find something Dave Cameron wrote on him and his extension, but I couldn’t find the article (if it even exists). I did find the following tweet:

    $23 million a year values Mauer as about a 6 win player. Seems about right to me. He’s clearly better than Teixeira, and its the same deal.

    It’s weird that he evokes the TV situation to try to defend this deal, even though he thought that it was bad reasoning for these mega-deals back when Votto signed his extension. And if Felix does flame out (always a concern, and maybe more so given his workload) either in the sense of injuries or even just ineffectiveness in the Johann Santana way, it’s not like Seattle fans are going to love having him around.

    I think Kershaw sets the record. I can’t wait to see this Dodger team in 4 years: It could be said that the Crawford, Gonzalez, and maybe even Kemp contracts are among the ten worst in baseball today.

    @24, That’s true, and Felix maybe one of three pitchers I’d do that with right now. I think his workload up to this point is certainly concerning (since 2006, 5th most in the MLB). I don’t agree with it given how far away they are from contending, to the point that impact prospects that’ll debut in 3 years + free agents would help them so much more than an overpaid/injured/less effective Felix.

  14. The contract is a five-year extension that doesn’t take effect for another two years. It is a seven-year contract. I wouldn’t do it.

    Also, as far as I’m aware, the average power pitcher doesn’t peak at 27-33. That number is derived from research into position players. (Though even for hitters the peak is usually described as 26-27, and 33 is well into the decline phase.) Young power pitchers often peak much younger, even at ages 22-24. As they get older they tend to lose their fastballs, and while some are able to compensate with guile, many others do not.

    But here’s my deep dive into Fangraphs. First of all, actually, I don’t think Cameron thought it was necessarily bad reasoning in the case of the Votto deal:

    Obviously, there’s a line where these deals cease to make sense even if we anticipate that this trend of upward spikes in revenues is not going away any time soon. Where does Votto’s deal fall in terms of that line?
    It’s probably pretty close to it, honestly.

    Cameron doesn’t seem to have written a full post on the Mauer deal, but he mentioned it in another piece. Here’s what I can find from Fangraphs from March 2010. Every writer who mentioned it seems to have been at least reasonably positive about it:

    Bryan Smith:

    Even if he doesn’t hit for all the power he did last season going forward, Mauer is talented enough to grind out five win seasons in his sleep.

    Dave Cameron:

    There’s no reason to expect a collapse any time soon, either. Essentially the entire core is under 30 years old, and with Mauer locked up for essentially the rest of his career, the team won’t be suffering any major talent losses going forward.

    Matthew Carruth:

    My concern is simply that for being on the hook for eight years and giving him a full no trade clause, I feel the Twins should have gotten a bit more of a discount…
    In the end, if Minnesota had to cover a few extra million in order to keep Mauer in the Twin Cities, it’s going to be worth it to them from a PR perspective and it’s great for baseball that such a star is staying in his home organization.

    In the August before the deal, R.J. Anderson came up with a dollar value extremely close to what Mauer eventually received:

    If Mauer gives Minnesota a 5% loyalty discount, we’re still talking around 170 million. That’s a lot of money for anyone, even Minnesota with a new ballpark in tow.

    So here’s the lesson I draw — and, again, I am conservative by nature when it comes to baseball. The “market values” that the Fangraphs formulas predict may be a very good model to predict the dollar values of the contracts that players receive. But these dollar values do not do a good enough job of adjusting for the risk of catastrophic injury or talent degradation over the course of the contract.

    Seattle must be convinced that their TV money will underwrite Felix’s contract so that they retain financial flexibility in case he gets injured, and Cincinnati must believe the same about Votto. But I’m frankly skeptical, because it’s clear that the Twins did collapse, and it’s largely because Mauer lost value a lot faster than anyone predicted. (Of course, they got a double whammy when the same happened to Morneau.) I think that the “market value” dollars that are being discussed are a whole lot closer to the best-case scenario than they are to a rational expected value — I think they’re closer to the 90th percentile than they are to the 50th percentile.

  15. @30, Is it time to retire the name? I wouldn’t want to (simply because I like it), but I certainly wouldn’t have a problem if it were done. Others, especially after the recent symposium that was more directed towards the Redskins, do seem to take offense at it.

  16. I don’t see any reason to remove the name “Braves”. The tomohawk on the logo might should be changed, but I don’t think its a particularly pressing issue.

  17. I really don’t understand why this is such an issue, and I’d like to. The argument is that the logo supposedly portrays an offensive stereotype of Native Americans, right? Just what is that stereotype that’s supposedly being portrayed? The idea that Native Americans were savages? I don’t sense that that’s what’s being conveyed. What part of the guy’s appearance in the logo suggests savagery? I’ve always believed Native Americans to be civilized, and I’ve never even associated any part of the people or the culture with savagery. Or is it the historically inaccurate idea that Native Americans were always engaged in warfare? I assumed that virtually everyone with at least a high school education (a middle school education would probably suffice, actually) knows that that wasn’t the case. But strictly speaking, a functionary subset of the group, known as braves, did occasionally engage in war, and the logo is simply focusing on the occasional activity of that small subset–and why not, given that the team name is the Braves?

    Or are the two related, and the argument is that the portrayal of a Native American preparing to engage in war is a portrayal of savagery? I don’t see how–maybe I’m really naive, but I always thought other Native American-themed teams, like the Chiefs, were emphasizing positive associations of going into battle that athletes could easily relate to and draw inspiration from, such as honor, bravery, etc, and that this logo was doing the same thing.

    I’m pretty sure I’m rambling now and am in need of sleep, so I’ll just wrap it up here. And for the record, I personally dislike the logo myself and would never wear a hat featuring it, but that’s due to personal aesthetic tastes.

  18. The problem is that it plays to stereotypes of native Americans. In isolation, it’s not a big deal, but in the broader context of the caricatures of native Americans that dominated the popular understanding of them and their culture, it can easily be seen as “part of the problem”. Now, given that our understanding of native Americans has evolved over the years, it may be that it’s no longer such a big deal at this point. That said, it’s not like this is a team or region that has a lot of native Americans in it, so you can’t really see it as a celebration or self-parody of folks currently living there in the way you can for, say, the Fighting Irish or even the Celtics. These could also be seen as playing to stereotype, but at least a substantial portion of the folks living in that region/rooting for those teams are part of the culture being stereotyped. It’s less offensive when you’re poking fun at yourself.

    In the case of the Braves, it was clearly a name chosen to play to a popular stereotype of the “Indian Brave”, a culture which was entirely unrepresented by either the folks playing on the team, the folks founding/running the club, or (any of) the region(s) in which the team was located. The fact that its so generic is part of the reason it’s bad. You can’t say you’re celebrating a particular native American tribe in the way you can with, say, the Seminoles. It’s just a generic native American with a tomahawk.

    So a lot of it is historical, and how much you see a need for change depends in part on how much you think the origin of the name and the ways its been used in the past matter. If a team now randomly decided to name itself the Braves or something else from native American culture, it probably wouldn’t be as big of a deal. But at the same time, they’d probably directly reference a (local) native American tribe and have some info or whatever celebrating their history/culture in the lobby or in some area in the stadium.

  19. I just hope that when the pc police finally force the issue, the Braves change their nickname to the Crackers. That should set the heads to spinning. Of course they will end up being the Atlanta Bluegills, or some other name that does not offend any body anywhere. I guess in the long run that is probably a good thing, but it’s still gay(not that there’s anything wrong…etc).

  20. I’ve long thought the nickname ‘Braves’ was no different than calling your team the ‘Warriors’ or the ‘Knights’, but I’m coming around to the idea that it should be tied in to a local history. I mean, Chief Wahoo and the pugilistic leprechaun of Notre Dame are probably the most potentially offensive mascots extant these days, but only one of them was conceived by subjects of the stereotype. I’m personally still fine with ‘Braves’, but if others aren’t I’m OK with that too. The ‘Appalachee’ or the ‘Cherokee’ sound good to me.

  21. Is anyone actually not fine with Braves as a name? Anyone not simply conjured in the minds of others, I mean. It doesn’t seem anyone is actually talking about this except here, or am I missing some news spark behind this particular discussion (logo controversy not included, as it’s a very different issue)?

  22. I don’t think so. And as long as Chief Wahoo and the Redskins are around we’ll be way down on the list. Just sayin’, if public pressure one day forces a name change, I’m OK with that. Especially if the Braves were to reach out to some local tribes to get them involved in a renaming process.

  23. I understand the issues people have with these names but, frankly, I don’t think the names have the associations-positive or negative-that people think. When I hear the word “Redskin” or “Brave” I don’t think of a Native American, I think of a football player or a baseball player. Just as if you talk about the Pirates, you aren’t conjuring the vision of a buccaneer on a ship. If anything, I think the names have become completely disassociated with any Native American culture. When I hear Braves, I’m more likely to think of Hank Aaron than I am of someone dressed up in war paint. Plus, there is a difference, in my mind, between a name like “Braves” which refers to a specific subset of people and is not inherently pejorative and “Redskins”, which is obviously a slur.

  24. You get very, very few chances to sign a Felix Hernandez. It’s a pot you have to bet into.

    The discussion of the logo/nickname is well trodden at this point. I thought we had agreed not to have it here. In any event, for anyone to claim they “don’t understand” at this point why it’s an issue just stretches credulity.

  25. Back in the day when we were less thin-skinned, a wise man said this:

    “He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”
    ― Brigham Young

    Of course, I’m typing from the perspective that being called a redneck cracker swamp rat is quite the compliment.

    I’d much rather be referred to as a Brave than a piece of foot clothing or, heaven forbid, a Yankee or a Gator.

  26. Perhaps that’s because your culture hasn’t been reduced by ethnic cleansing and murder to a f###ing cartoon on a baseball hat by the people that did it.

    I’ll say no more.

  27. Gattis is going to get some snaps at LF, C, and 1b. I think he breaks camp with the Braves if McCann starts on DL, he has a good Spring, and he shows that he’s not a butcher at the 3 above mentioned positions.

  28. If Gattis shows he can play a credible 1B, I hope the Braves try and trade Mejia. He’s put in his time and has at least earned an opportunity. He’s valuable to us as Freddie insurance, but less so if Gattis can offer the same.

  29. Astros could definitely use him. But his defense is good enough at 1B. He’s just too big and immobile to play anywhere else. I’d think there are lots of teams that could use him, including the Marlins and Rockies. He would be an excellent platoon partner for either Logan Morrison or Todd Helton, plus Morrison will be getting more expensive soon and Helton’s contract is finally up after this year, so if he shows he can hit he could even be a starter for a couple years.

  30. RE: Felix Hernandez, I don’t go that long on a pitcher. Ever. Pitchers get hurt. You can eat a year of Kris Medlen or Brandon Beachy recovering from TJ surgery when they’re making league minimum. Eating that year at $16m per is a no go.

    RE: Pastornicky and Schafer, way to play yourself out of consideration before play begins. The team has six OFs available; Schafer won’t make the bigs.

    RE: Mejia, he’s a big bat at AAA that’s probably not going to translate to much in the bigs. Not useless, but he’s not a prospect.

  31. So here’s one we can argue about without getting too heated:

    You guys see Fredi call out Schafer and Pastornicky for not showing up early?

    My two (three) cents worth:sure, they should have showed up early for their own good. But theres a mandatory reporting date (read: day you start getting paid) and burying a guy publicly because he didn’t show up and play for free is pretty lame.

  32. Schafer and the Rev are so fringy at this point, I don’t understand why Fredi would bother, and I certainly have some empathy for the sentiments expressed in 57 about there is a mandatory date, and it ain’t here yet. But if the starters all turned up, you are sort of asking for it

  33. The Pastornicky/Schafer controversy is of a species with coaches who say that anyone who doesn’t show up for a 10 o’clock meeting at 9:45 is late. It’s some sort of allegiance thing that I have never understood. I don’t understand snooze alarms, either. I have no problems with unstated rules as long the unstated rule is understood. Somebody didn’t understand a rule, obviously. What’s not clear is whether it’s a problem of communication or insubordination. And I don’t think the “my paycheck doesn’t technically start for another day” explanation cuts it.

  34. My two (three) cents worth:sure, they should have showed up early for their own good. But theres a mandatory reporting date (read: day you start getting paid) and burying a guy publicly because he didn’t show up and play for free is pretty lame.

    Because the behavior indicates who is there to just get paid, and who is there because they want to play for this team. If the superstars starting ahead of you in the OF show up the first day the facilities open, all happy and excited to get started, and you don’t show up until you’re contractually required to begin fighting for the possible sixth OF spot, expect to be called out for it.

  35. @59

    Coaches have those sorts of rules because athletic teams are not like marketing departments. Teammates need to build comraderie and trust, and all 25 people on the roster need to want to be there. If a guy can’t show up to camp when camp opens, and his only excuse is “I wasn’t contractually required to be here until tomorrow” then you know something about that guy’s attitude toward the team. You’re not going to cut Jason Heyward for not showing up when camp opens, but a replacement level nobody like Jordan Schafer needs to get his ass in gear and make up for his lack of baseball skills with hustle and desire.

  36. Nevertheless, it’s no coincidence that it happens to be Schafer and Pastor bearing the brunt of a rare instance of public criticism from Fredi, because Fredi is safe in the knowledge that he’s higher in the organizational pecking order than either. Switch out either one for, say, Jason Heyward, and I doubt he’d have been nearly as critical.

  37. It would make a little more sense for the proven high paid players to not show up early (for some reason I thought of Barry Bonds when typing that).

    If your fighting to make the big league club, then you probably should be doing anything possible to get better and/or impress those that need impressing.

    Go Braves!

  38. @61

    I’m really making a narrower point. If 10 means 9:45, and Feb. 13th means Feb. 12th, then you haven’t actually communicated anything about solidarity or trust when you follow the unwritten rule. You’ve only shown you have the math skills to subtract 15 minutes off the clock or one day off the calendar.

  39. @62 – when you’re an OF with a career OPS+ of 67 and you can’t be bothered to show up to camp to get early reps, expect your manager to call you out. Stars get more leeway because they don’t have three year history of hitting like Raffy Belliard while playing the OF.

  40. @64 – again, it’s not about math or clocks or calendars. It’s about showing you are all-in for the team and your improvement as a player. The coaches say “Camp opens on the 12th. You don’t have to be there until the 13th, but we’re open and ready for you on the 12th.” If you show up on the 13th, it tells the coaches you didn’t feel you needed an extra day of work. If you’re a superstar you can float that. If you’re a career OPS+ of 67 in the outfield, with a history of questionable attitudes?

    I’m surprised anyone has a problem with Fredi here. Any manager would do something similar here. Jordan Schafer and Tyler Pastornicky don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

  41. If you are trying to win a spot on the team, I think doing anything you can to avoid getting sent to AAA is in your best interest.

  42. Pastornicky and Schafer understand the unwritten rule. Either that or they’re idiots. It’s not complicated or difficult to figure out. This is not the only team where position players start showing up around the pitchers and catchers reporting date, and this is not the only year where that’s happened. Both of these guys have been on this team before, across multiple spring trainings. Is this going to cause either guy to get sent to Gwinnett or cut by itself? No. But it’s something for Fredi and Frank to file away in the memory bank for later. Also, clearly it’s always good to send a message to your teammates that you don’t give a crap.

  43. @66: It’s just a question of understanding. I have literally heard a coach say: “If you aren’t 15 minutes early for a meeting I call, you’re late.” In your example, “we’re open and ready for you on the 12th” can be taken in various ways. If it is taken as “if you’re working outside of camp with Jack Wilson on your fielding difficulties, go ahead as long as you are doing things that will help the team” then the Rev is getting a raw deal. If it really means “you’re not a team player if you aren’t here on the 12th” then the Rev either failed to get the message or doesn’t give a damn. I don’t know how I could possibly know which it is.

  44. Wow, we’re getting an early start for our first Fredi Can’t Win moment of the year. These guys know the unwritten rule, they know that their spot on the roster is not guaranteed, and they know that at least some of their teammates are going to be there early (as it turned out, all of them were, which makes them look even worse). This isn’t a Tom Coughlin style “The meeting starts at 10 but anyone not showing up by 9:55 is late, is locked out of the meeting, and is subject to punishment later” deal. This is just Fredi making it known that he notices who does and doesn’t show up early, and for two guys who are not guaranteed roster spots to be the only two guys who apparently didn’t show up early, that says something about them. Also, I guarantee the clubhouse is 100 percent with Fredi on this, which is the other thing.

    EDIT: If Rev were working with Jack Wilson on fielding drills and that’s why he wasn’t there, do you think Fredi would be calling him out? Because I don’t.

  45. Call him up and ask where he is, then. Don’t send a message to the fans “This guy apparently doesn’t care.”

    And if Schafer shows he’s improved x, y, or z, that the power is back, or the bat speed is improved, and deserves a spot.. is Fredi going to give the spot to Constanza instead? Did Constanza even show up early? All I know is “all the starters” arrived early.

  46. It’s not Fredi’s job to call his employees and ask them where they are. Tyler Pastornicky is interviewing for a position that will make him somewhere between $250-400K for six months of work. It’s his job to make sure the managers he’s looking to impress know when he’s going to be in the building and why he isn’t there when they originally expected him.

  47. And if Jordan Schafer shows up and magically becomes someone other than Jordan Schafer, yes, he’ll get more of a look than he would otherwise. Fredi Gonzalez will take north the 25 players he thinks will give him the best chance of winning 90+ games and going deep into the playoffs. Because that’s what his bosses will assess his performance by next December.

  48. If all the starters (read: team leaders) show up early and you do not, that is a problem for you. Those guys are making way more money than Pastornicky and Schafer, so if they can “work for free” for two days, I’m pretty sure Pastornicky and Schafer can, too.

  49. @69 I think the “anything less than 15 minutes early is late” thing is pretty standard in sports. It was when I played ball, anyway.

  50. @74 – Absolutely, it is a problem for those guys. And it should be a problem in their clubhouse. Not the newspaper.

    Let Jason Heyward or Brian McCann ask Pastornicky where he’s been. Don’t play tough guy for Dave O’Brien’s benefit.

  51. Another reason for the “show up 15 minutes before the scheduled time” rule is that if you have a meeting with more than two or three people involved, it takes time to get people sat and settled in the room. So if you want to run a meeting from 10-11 and you have 20 attendees to get settled in a conference room, you want people to show up 10-15 minutes before the 10:00 start time. Otherwise you spend from 10-10:15 getting people sat at the table, laptops pulled out, phones turned of, etc. It’s basic meeting courtesy to get to the room and get settled prior to the meeting start time, so you can spend the *meeting* doing the work you are there to do rather than searching your laptop bag for a pen.

  52. To me, it’s as simple as this. A student is on the verge of failing your class. You give the student two assignments to do for extra credit. The student doesn’t do them and would rather take his/her chances at making the grade.

    Would you call that student’s actions misguided? Probably, yeah. If that student was your child? You’d probably call them pretty dumb. Except, really, in this case it’s not a grade, but a $450,000/year paycheck to play baseball.

  53. @77, I’m not sure I follow that exactly, but I agree that there’s definitely professions in this world where the culture demands a little extra. Physicians in training (residents and fellows) are very often assigned extra ‘optional’ articles and lectures to do on their own time. Very few individuals in the profession make a choice not to do them, and the choice to not do them is viewed as extremely detrimental. Maybe I understand the decision to miss optional stuff if it’s a 9-5 minimum wage job, but the very culture of baseball (for good or for bad) demands loyalty and extra effort.

    @79, Really well put. And the producer has a right to voice his opinion if that understudy doesn’t.

  54. An incredible statistic from Jeff Sullivan:

    Votto debuted in 2007, and since then, he’s recorded 11 infield fly balls…Since Votto debuted, there have been more than twice as many no-hitters as Joey Votto pop-ups. Since 2009, there have been two (or three) more perfect games than Joey Votto pop-ups.

    Please, Dan Uggla. Please become friends with Joey Votto.

  55. I think it was dumb for Schafer and Pastornicky not to show up as soon as camp opened. That said, I can’t begin to see the angle for Fredi in calling them out in the press. Just… what’s the point? If he wanted to send a message to them, talk to them when they show at camp. If that’s too much of a bother because they’re both such fringey players, then it should be too much of a bother to jaw about with the beat reporters.

  56. I don’t have a problem with Fredi calling them out. I just think he knows when it’s okay to sound tough and when it isn’t, which for him is a different equation than it would be for, say, Jim Leyland.

  57. As can often be the case, maybe the manager knows something we don’t know about these players. Maybe it’s a simple as they need to have a fire lit under their asses.

  58. Do we know that Fredi didn’t already try to contact the players in question or handle it ‘in house’? We don’t. Maybe they haven’t returned anyone’s calls. Maybe not. Point is, we don’t have enough info to judge Fredi.

    More likely that we have enough info to judge the players, but even there, who knows what their hold-up actually is.

  59. @80 – my point regarding meetings

    If I schedule a meeting from 10-11:00 and there are only three of us in that meeting, sure, show up at 9:55 and let’s do our hour’s worth of work.

    But if I schedule that same meeting and there are 20 people invited, it takes time to get the room seated and settled. If everyone shows up at 9:55 and it takes 15 minutes to sort the room, then your meeting doesn’t really kick off productively until 10:10. All of a sudden your hour long meeting has become 50 minutes long.

    Getting to the room early is a sign of respect for the other participants in the meeting. It recognizes that their time is important and that you’re going to be ready to begin productive work at the scheduled start time.

  60. @81

    I heard that stat on Joey Votto sometime last season, and was pretty well floored by it. My son & I still talk about it from time to time and just shake our heads.

    I wonder what the next best total for MLB hitters is in that category/stat.

  61. I don’t have any problem with Fredi mentioning it to the press. Right now, the odds that Schafer contributes anything to the major league team is somewhere under one percent, so it’s not like he’s hurting anything. And Pastornicky had a very disappointing year last year. Fredi has said some very complimentary things about Pastornicky so far this spring — about his hopes that Pastornicky could be a supersub like Prado — but Pastornicky needs to earn that kind of trust, and he’s going to need to bust his ass and play a whole lot better than he did last year.

    Jason Heyward didn’t need to show up early, and he showed up early. If you want to play with the best, learn from the best.

  62. Effing success probably took so many pre-reporting diuretics that he couldn’t leave the house.

    Pastornicky probably just got lost.

    At least we don’t have any visa issues this year. Remember when it would happen every year?

  63. I suspect Schafer is sitting at home pouting about being traded away from the Astros, where he would have at least started (on a AAA level club, but making the Major League minimum), to Atlanta, where he’s going to make minor league wages in Gwinnett.

  64. I hope you’re right, Smitty. It is interesting that Schafer is back via a waiver claim — he didn’t ask to come back here, and it probably feels like the exact opposite of a fresh start. I’m not sure I’d be above “working to rule” in those circumstances, and hoping to catch on somewhere else ASAP.

  65. Effing success probably took so many pre-reporting diuretics that he couldn’t leave the house.

    Pastornicky probably just got lost.

    Heh, this is pretty much what I’ve been picturing, too.

  66. If George makes the team because Success couldn’t be bothered to show up when camp opens, meh. We’re talking about a pinch runner here.

  67. Constanza: Pinch-runner & lefty pinch-hitter, if nec.

    Schafer: Defensive replacement, pinch-runner, very last “position-player” bat off the bench.

    Not that it’s keeping me up nights, but if forced to make a choice, I’d actually take Constanza.

  68. Jose Constanza: ML OPS+ 84 (205 PAs)
    Jordan Schafer: ML OPS+ 66 (893 PAs)

    Both bat lefty, run fast, play moderately useful if unspectacular defense in the OF. Constanza’s 84 is weighted to his 99 OPS+ from 2010, but seriously, if you have to pick on merit, you go with George.

  69. With the date for reporting to camp known by all well in advance, how is it that some players have visa problems and others don’t?

  70. 109: Very true. Red tape and incompetent bureaucrats all that. I’m just curious what are the hold ups in the process, or is it because some players just plain forgot to apply on time. I’m guessing there’s a typical processing time between when you apply for a visa and when you can expect to get it.

  71. I believe there is some actual investigation occurring, at least cursory investigation. For one thing, the “visa issues” have only become an epidemic post-9/11. And for another, the visa application process tends to be when we discover players playing under false identities and fake birth dates.

  72. A number of things happened post-9/11. There was a major government reorganization, with the creation of Homeland Security (DHS), the dissolution of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), the creation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under DHS. Suddenly, visa issues weren’t just a matter of paperwork, they were a matter of national security. That’s a big reason it takes so much longer.

    The time for a visa turnaround can really vary – based on backlog, based on any number of factors that may or may not be the player’s fault. It’s really hard to know just how long it will take.

  73. It’s just odd how some players have no problem getting a Visa and show up to camp on time, and other’s don’t. It seems to be a real problem for a lot of baseball players from overseas.

  74. “Visa Issues” has been a reason for showing up late at spring training for much longer than the post 9/11 era. The difference, it’s more likely a valid excuse than before when in many instances the legitimacy of the delay seemed suspect.

  75. @116, I think your theory is probably the closest. It wouldn’t be too surprising if newly signed player or otherwise a guy coming to the US for the first time was having visa delays; however, it’s surprising that players that have been here on 4,5,6 separate instances are having issues. Then again, the level of corruption in some of these countries is unimaginable. The most effective way to blackmail an MLB player would be to prevent him from coming and doing his job, I feel. So it just may be that.

    Another statistic that I couldn’t believe from Jeff Sullivan: Kris Medlen threw 138 innings, and he spent approximately 9.8 hours on the mound in the act of pitching.

    Using the same method Jeff did (average time per inning*total innings), we find that Roy Halladay pitched for 12.3 hours last year and Mark Buehrle pitched for 14.6 hours.

  76. Not to mention we are talking about a very different visa than “I’d like to go to the US to visit” sort of thing. These are very specific work visas that permit not only work, but multiple exits and re-entries. They are very limited, and as you might suspect, extremely tightly controlled.

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