Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baseball (and the CatR Staff) is Back!!!

(Trey Hillman pictured above)

After an extended delay of laziness, no internet at home, and a myriad of other lame excuses, we here at have returned! I write to you while listening to the broadcast of the Royals' first Spring Training game on, and let me tell you... it has been a thrill ride. You can read the wrap up later, but let me try and give you some of my thoughts so far:

1.) John Bale: Sounded like he had pretty good stuff working today. 3 straight Ks after an error in the first inning (Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Hank Blalock). Finished with 1 ER and 3 Ks, 0 BB in 2 innings.
2.) Butler and Gordon: combined 2-3 with 2 sharp singles and a walk.
3.) TPJ: Lone RBI so far, with a 2-out single through the whole.
4.) Luke Hochevar: 2 IP, 6 batters faced with 0 balls out of the infield.
5.) Justin Huber: Only extra base hit with a GR-double.

1.) Ron Mahay: The most questionable signing of the off-season, got off to a pretty rough start. He gave up a 420 foot dong to the extremely intimidating Teagarden (um... yeah), who is supposedly some sort of middle-of-the-road catching prospect.
2. ) Ryan Shealy: Ouch. Batting cleanup, Shealy produced three extremely weak at bats against lower-level Texas pitching (pretty bad, as you can imagine).
3.) Offense: Extremely early, but the bats were pathetic today.

Baseball is great!

MVP: Luke Hochevar. Great start to the '08 season for Luke Duke.

LVP: Shealy. Not making a strong early bid for a job.

Best Cameo: Angel Berroa. Worked a twelve-pitch at bat that ended in a HBP. Made a great diving stop behind second.

Worst Cameo: Miguel Olivo. Bad at bat, and could not apply a tag on a makeable play at the dish.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Troubling Tale of Trials and Tribulations... Part III

(Parts I and II below)
The Return (Juan Gonzalez Not Involved)
1998 was arguably the most important year of Dallas's life. He was twelve years old, and it had just been announced that his family was headed back East to KC. Dallas could not have been more relieved, as he felt as if he had been betrayed by the sporting world and needed a fresh start. His passionate hatred of the Broncos had also reached an intolerable level.

Setting that first step onto the hallowed grounds of the City of Fountains was a true renaissance for Dallas. Finally, Dallas would get to be a part of some winning sports franchises (foreshadowing). The transition proved to be more difficult than what was expected. Middle School was a terrible time for young Dallas: extremely questionable friend choices (some of you know what I mean... embarrasing), undeveloped athletic talents (leading to being labeled a "scrub" on some occasions), and of course, no team to root for. It wasn't until early high school when Dallas finally found what he had been searching for.

Then Student Council President Freckles (pictured above, and later defeated by a man who wanted to bring recess to high school), was the tits. This guy had it all: babes, parties, 1000 friends, and even more babes. Dallas knew if he wanted to make it in this world, he had to find a way to hop on that train. It proved a difficult process, as Dallas (often seen in a tie-dyed Stones shirt) still had some lingering middle school deficiencies. After several months of hard work (hanging next to cool kids, laughing at their jokes, and such), Dallas was in! Within mere weeks of being seen in the company of the Pres, Dallas saw a huge change in his life! Babes, parties, 1000 friends, and even more babes... were not a part of that change. He still had none of that. But now, he had become aware of the single greatest sports franchise in the history of the universe: the Kansas City Royals!!! The following years would be the best of then 15-year-old Dallas's life!

Next: Part IV, Ken Harvey and the Magical Stumbles

I'm Back... and so is Juan Gone!

After a short hiatus that saw me travel to St. Louis on a whim for a weekend of extreme debauchery, I return to our 4.5 faithful readers here at CatR.

First order of business: Juan Gonzalez is back in business. The St. Louis Cardinals, the same geniuses who thought that Jason Larue's .160 season last year was too much to pass on, brought in the former slugger (minor league contract) to test the old bones at Spring Training '08. Is this as ridiculous as I think it is, or am I really missing something. JG has been working out with Pujols, and apparently Big Al has just been raving about him. Insanity.

Second order of business:  I can't disagree more about the Santana trade. At best, two of these prospects will turn out to be worth a damn. I completely agree, however, that the Twins are the best in the buiz when it comes to development, but I just don't see it with this group. When you look at guys like Jacoby, Hughes, and Kennedy, it just isn't the same. While Santana's future income is absurd, I really don't feel like the Twins got much back. You mentioned that a starting pitcher is only worth a chance at a win every five days, which is true in the regular season. Come playoff time, that all changes. The team with the best three starting pitchers is usually going to come out on top. The rest is shortened for each pitcher, and having someone like Santana out there one out of three or four games is as valuable as anything in baseball.

Third order of business: A Troubling Tale of Trials and Tribulations continues.... NOW!!!
(Look above).

Today's Lesson: Drinking for fifteen straight hours is a great idea... during those fifteen hours.

Spring Training Fever: Hot as Bobby Knight (farewell) after a bad travel call.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Quick Write-up of the Santana Deal

Yes. The Venezuelan tormenter has finally left our division, to the tune of a ridiculous (I know Santana is possibly the best pitcher in the game. But pitchers get hurt.) $150 million. And, the Mets didn't have to part with their TOP handful of prospects, but a good group of talent, none-the-less. So what impact will this have on the Twins?

Here's the thing. A dominant pitcher is a key piece to a good team, and probably even more important in the playoffs. But it doesn't guarantee team success. Not in the least. And you know what? I think the Twins got the better end of the deal. Let me explain.

First of all, think of what a great starter gives you. He can't pitch every day, but only impacts the team once every five days. While it's nice to have a great chance to win 20% of your games on the merit of one guy, when a team receives a legit outfielder (Carlos Gomez) and three LEGITIMATE pitching prospects (Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey), the potential impact could be way more than Santana alone could provide. First of all, while Gomez is not a big home run guy, the Twins now have two guys who play a good centerfield in their outfield. My theory is, since center is by far the most difficult outfield position, if you move a guy who plays a capable center to a corner spot, he's can be instantly thrown into the Gold Glove conversation. My guess is that Delmon Young moves to one of the corners, saves his legs a little (as he is the better power prospect), and ratchets up 30-35 homers in the near future.

Now, say, if these prospects were traded to the Royals, the most likely scenario is that two of them, maybe three, become solid major-leaguers. But here's the thing; they were traded to the Twins, who have turned many marginal prospects into not just solid contributers, but good major-leaguers. Nobody has developed talent like the Twins have, and yes, I am counting Oakland. So, three impact pitchers and one good outfielder? Though they weren't able to pry away Jacoby Ellsbury or Lastings Milledge in this set of negotiations, I'm still giving this trade an "A."

The Mets expect to be in the playoffs, and this is where, to me, the huge value of this trade is for the Mets. Hell, he could sit half the season, and as long as he pitched in the playoffs, I'm not sure anybody, even the fervent NY media market, would care. However, the Twins don't know where they're going to be, so this trade really makes sense for both sides.

Here's the Royals tie (hey! isn't this a Royals site, after all?). I don't like this much if I'm the Royals. Sure, it's nice to have the most dominant lefty of our era in a different league, far away from our predominantly lefty lineup, but the Twins will rebuild and play that grind-away, make the most out of league-average talent style of Twins baseball that us Royals fans have come to loathe.

Pitchers report in like, three weeks, or something?

Dylan, nice "catch up" posts. I can't wait to read the 20th chapter of these chronicles you have set up. I guess I'm just going to have to think of the best way to change the site name without confusing our half-dozen readers.

Also, if you're a Deadspin maniac, like myself, Will Leitch's new book God Save the Fan is a must read. You can borrow it from me, if you like.