Friday, April 30, 2010

Is it time for a clean break with Jake?

You've broken my heart so many times this year. And we're still in April.

I keep forgiving you, Jake. I take you back. And what do you do???

You give up five runs in the FIRST INNING. That outing on Wednesday should've been it. Most owners would have broken up right there.

It's not you, Jake, it's me. Only this time, it's all you.

Of course, we're talking about Jake Peavy. The former San Diego stud pitcher who has turned into a White Sox goat, seemingly overnight. Sure, there was going to be an NL-AL correction. And The Cell is certainly no Petco.

But a 7.85 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP? Nobody has been given a longer leash than Jake. It feels like he's cheated on us by pitching for the other team. Like he's throwing BP.

If you sat Jake down, looked him in the eye and asked him why you should give him one more chance, what would he tell you?

That he's been broken, but he's about to be whole again? That he's a changed man? That he's finally found his way?

And would you believe him? Because that's his story:

''I just found my mechanics of where I needed to throw it,'' Peavy said after Wednesday's game in Arlington. ''The bottom line is I'm still searching, but it's coming. The end result is not about finding it, though."

It's possible that late Wednesday night, you finally hit your breaking point. Quite possibly it was after that atrocious five-run first inning that sent you to your room in tears.

If you're like me, you had your finger on the waive button. Although hopefully you're not like me and own him in multiple leagues. The heart can only take so much.

But then something happened in that second inning. It's like a switch flipped and he stopped those wandering pitches.

Five straight innings of no-hit, two-walk amazement from Jake. He even fanned six batters during this stretch.

Is the old Jake back? And does he still want you to wear his letterman jacket?

He scuffled a little in the seventh and Ozzie rightfully gave him the quick hook. But the damage was done. Both to our hearts and to our ERA/WHIP.

"I feel a little bit better about him," coach Ozzie Guillen said after. "but getting in the win column is what will really help him."

Spoken like a true cliche twirler. And he's probably right.

Although that's little consolation. You probably spent about $15 bucks on Jake or took him in the late single-digit rounds of your draft. Guys like that just don't get waived. Not in April. Or do they?

Several thousand Yahoo owners shed Jake on Thursday morning, deciding that he's fooled around one too many times.

If you haven't by now, you probably won't. And I'll give you two words why:

Kansas City.

Jake has the Royals twice in his next three starts, including Monday night at the Cell. His control has been awful. A mind-boggling 12 walks in the last two outings? That's not Jake.

But if he's still can't locate on Monday. If the Royals, a perfectly average hitting team, gets to Jake like the Rangers did in that first inning Wednesday, you have my full permission to kick him to the curb.

Tear up his phone number. Unfriend him from Facebook. Don't return his text.

Your heart can't take it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where there's Smoak, there's a pickup

Arlington is a long way from Goose Creek, S.C.

But that's the new home for Justin Smoak, the former South Carolina baseball star, who grew up just north of Charleston, S.C., and got the long-waited "call" to join the Texas Rangers Thursday night.

Ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the minors by, the switch-hitting Smoak hit .290 over 386 at-bats in the minors last year, hitting 12 HR and driving in 57. Those numbers won't send you rushing to your computer to hit the "add player" button.

But look a little deeper. Smoak's laser-like pitch selection racked up a .410 on-base-percentage. In 46 at-bats this year, Smoak is hitting .326 with 2 HR and a .500 OBP at AAA Oklahoma City.

Oh, and the power is there. You might not see 30 bombs this year, but one day you will. In 2009 IBAF World Cup, Smoak smack 9 HR in 55 at-bats.

Playing half his games in Arlington is just the ticket to put up 20 HR, 85 RBI and a .295 average the rest of the way. Who couldn't use that?

Of course, all of this was made possible by a second straight Chris Davis flameout. Davis did the limbo with the Mendoza Line, dropping to .188 Thursday night with an 0-for-3 night and 2 Ks, giving him 17 whiffs in 15 games.

If you wanna catch a minute or so of Smoak hitting BP, click the triangle below. He's hitting off Neftali Feliz, albeit not his usual triple-digit gas.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DL updates: Berkman, Cameron, Fuentes

There's plenty of DL news as I settle in, back from a much-needed post-Madness vacation.

Lance Berkman: If you've been holding out waiting for Lance to rescue your team (I hope not), good news. The Astros activated Berkman today so get him in there. I think the power has been sapped, but he'll hit in the middle of the order, albeit one of the worst in the big leagues. He's no longer a top-10 first-baseman. Sell-high window?

Mike Cameron: From passing kidney stones to an abdominal strain, things keep getting worse for Cameron. He's probably only owned in AL-only or deeper leagues, but despite his awful average, Cameron is/was still useful. Boston put its CF on the 15-dayer and a sports hernia surgery might be needed (4-to-6 week recovery), which would all but make Cameron droppable. Jeremy Hermida probably gets most of Cameron's at-bats, but Bill Hall could also worth an AL-only add.

Brian Fuentes: Thanks for the memories, Fernando Rodney. The Angels closer (back) is being activated and shuffled right back to the 9th-inning role. Even after Rodney went 4-for-4 in Fuentes' absence. Get him in there. Rodney is immediately droppable in almost every format.

Mike Gonzalez: According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles closer is visiting Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his shoulder. Usually any update with the words Dr., James and Andrews in consecutive order is cause for concern, but lately we're seeing more players go for just another opinion. Still, this news has to boost Jim Johnson's value a notch. Gonzo is said to be out 2-3 more weeks, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's longer. Might wanna use this news to shop Johnson today.

Edinson Volquez: Rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last August, Volquez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and has been suspended 50 games. He can serve the suspension while on the DL, but loses the pay. Volquez set the fantasy world on fire in 2008, but it appears his 2010 campaign is all but lost. Still worth keeping around in very deep keeper formats.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reyes back; Lee not close; Stubbs kills Cubs

Good news Jose Reyes owners. Not as much, you Cliff Lee die-hards.

Reyes will reportedly be back in the lineup Saturday against the Nationals. And not a moment too soon. The anemic Mets offense could use a boost and Reyes stole two bases in an extended spring training game on Monday (no word on who the extended spring training catcher was).

Still, you should expect Reyes to find his legs and get active on the base paths. I'm guessing he'll steal 48 this year. Good, not great. But if he regains the power stroke from 2006-2008 (an average of 16 HRs), you should be plenty satisfied for what you paid for the shortstop.

Meanwhile, Lee will be on the shelf at least until May, but can you be that surprised? Don't be surprised if this lingers to June. I'm not saying bail on Lee right now, but if you can get anything Matt Garza or above in value in the next two weeks, take it.

Someone in your league owned him the past two years and just might overpay. Just use the ol' "his value will never be lower than this" line. Rarely works. But it could in your league.

Quick hits: Drew Stubbs a 30/30 guy? Nobody outside the "other" Queen City will put an Abraham Lincoln on that bet. But it sure was nice of former Reds skipper Lou Piniella to leave rookie pitcher Esmailin Caridad in there after he loaded the bases with two walks and a bunt single. Maybe "Sweet Lou" still has a sweet spot for those Cincy fans. I would take the over on Stubbs going 20/20 this year. ... Jon Rauch picked up his 3rd save for the Twins tonight vs. the White Sox. That noise you heard was the For Sale sign coming out of Heath Bell's front yard in San Diego. ... No, there's no closer controversy in Toronto. Not yet anyway. Just because Jason Frasor blew the opener, doesn't mean Kevin Gregg's got the gig. Frasor was busy saving the last two Blue Jays games. Still, keep one eye peeled. ... Let's see, Joe Maddon leaves his young pitcher David Price in 'til the 8th, racking up despite a 9-2 Rays lead. Paging, Dusty Baker. ... Rick Ankiel goes 4-for-4 with a HR and 3 RBI as the Royals rally past the Red Sox. Somewhere Cheryl Crow is humming "a change will do you good." And you could do worse on your waiver wire. ... Andre Ethier out for a second game with a sprained ankle, and not Joe Torre just trying to spell his regulars. Although I'm hearing Manny is well-rested after sitting out already in Thursday's Game No. 3. ... The one-man air conditioner Jack Cust accepted a minor league assignment after blasting the A's after his surprise release. Essentially he had $2.5 million reason to do so. ... Don't make any stupid drops or trades tonight. We're roughly just 1/50th of the way through the season.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Globetrotters honor Buerhle for play (video)

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has had plenty of highlights in his career. A no-hitter. A perfect game. But what he did Monday may have topped everything.

A hard-hit comebacker smacked off his foot, bouncing harmlessly toward foul territory. Most pitchers would've given up on the play. But not this Gold Glover.

"I take pride in fielding my position as good as I can," said Buehrle, whose ended up with a bruised foot out of the deal.

After chasing it down, Buehrle grabbed the ball with his glove and in one motion flipped it between his legs -- blindly -- to Paul Konerko, who bare-handed it to get Indians catcher Lou Marson by a quarter of a step. Watch for yourself:

"You see the play happening, you run over there saying, 'Do I slide and spin, or do I grab the ball and throw it?"' Buehrle said. "I think every thought went through my head. It just happened the way it did."

Buehrle deservedly received a long standing O from the sellout U.S. Cellular Field crowd.

"Probably one of the top two or three plays I've ever seen," said catcher A.J. Pierzeynski, playing his 13th season.

The Harlem Globetrotters honored Buehrle's play, calling it "Globetrotter-esque." The award called the "Trotter Tribute" launched last month, honoring collegiate and professional plays that are reminiscent of the Globetrotters. Not sure the ol' water gag yuckity-yuck qualifies.

Incidentally, the first honoree was former Charlotte Bobcat Flip Murray, who sank this unbelievable acrobatic shot for the Chicago Bulls that barely came after the buzzer last week.

Still, it's a shot that Meadowlark Lemon would definitely approve.