July 26, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Drafting LaMichael, criticizing Perez and a Bobblehead museum!

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Making the case for LaMichael James- “Every time I watch LaMichael James, I keep seeing one guy over and over. It’s Brian Westbrook. A guy who can run between the tackles well enough, but can catch the ball, and is a complete mis-match in the open field. In Westbrook’s best season, he stacked up 90 catches that season. I know Shurmur had some success with Steven Jackson, a guy who I actually think compares quite well with Trent Richardson, but I think the Eagles were at their best with Westbrook, and the last two seasons with LeSean McCoy. But after the usage of Peyton Hillis last season, and the success we had with Chris Ogbonnaya, I think this coaching staff is more comfortable with a smaller, more versatile Running Back, like a McCoy or Westbrook.” [Dawgs by Nature]

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“Anyone who criticizes closer Chris Perez for his latest outing wasn’t paying attention. Yes, CP gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but then he created a flyout off the bat of Colby Rasmus and induced a would-be game-ending doubleplay grounder from Ben Francisco. Had shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera not booted that ball, Perez would not have thrown another pitch. And, to CP’s credit, he didn’t let the error derail his outing. He struck out Yunel Escobar, walked Kelly Johnson and got Jose Bautista to flyout to end the game with the bases loaded. That was a well-earned save after some unnecessary drama created by an unfortunate error.” [Bastian/MLB.com]

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“How many NBA players participated in this game? Insane athlete and terrible basketball player Gerald Green posted 32 points. As much as I would like to be happy about Alonzo Gee’s 22 or Lester Hudson’s 26, it’s hard to take much away from a game involving so many scrubs. Here’s the emblematic stat line of the game: Donald Sloan dropped 14 assists, wasn’t totally destroyed by Deron Williams, and was 3-for-13 from the field. What the hell am I supposed to do with that information?” [McGowan/Cavs the Blog]

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Not Cleveland related, but a good read on Tiger Woods at Grantland- “Even now, after all the tumult of the past two and a half years, we are engaged in the same push and pull between the ordinary (sex) and the extraordinary (golf), between the believer (he can break Nicklaus’s record) and the cynic (his opportunity has passed), between the real (what we see) and the manufactured (what we imagine we see). The only difference is that we are all a little older now.” [Weinreb/Grantland]

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Finally, the new Marlins park may have a ridiculous home run sculpture, but it does have a bobblehead museum- complete with figurines from every MLB team. About 1000 in the collection. Good idea. [Kaduk/Big League Stew]

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Bastian makes a good point… if Cabrera makes that play, everyone would be talking about how Pure Rage is back to his old self.  As unfortunately ordinary as his stats are, at least he’s got the mental makeup you want from a closer.

  • Jack

    Nope…they’d be talking again about how he can’t manage to engineer an outing in which he does not allow the leadoff man to get aboard.

    He’s not a good closer. It’s like Groundhog Day here w/ the Tribe. Why does this team, more than any other I can think of, insist on forcing the issue with closers that stats indicate are not reliable?

    What if we made a wildcard play, get to a one game playoff, and have a one run lead in the 9th? You’re telling me you’d want to bring in Chris Perez? That the opposing team wouldn’t be licking its chops?

  • http://twitter.com/GreatestHurley Jason Hurley

    In all fairness, I’m sure that if the Indians were to make the Wildcard round, they would need Perez to be pitching effectively to get there.  As such, I’m sure the opposition wouldn’t be thrilled to be down in the 9th.

  • kjn

    If you believe the stat heads, the closer has the least difficult task of anybody in the bullpen (minus the mop-up guy). Guys like Pestano/Smith/Perez usually come in during the 7th and 8th when the score is the same (say a one run lead), but there are runners on. That’s a much more difficult situation. High leverage, as they say. So in one sense, we’re better off having him close than pitching him in the 7th or 8th.

    That said, even if the role of the closer isn’t as important as most people think, it still is important. And there’s no excuse for this club trotting out a guy who just doesn’t have it. Maybe Perez rebounds. Maybe he doesn’t. As I mentioned else where, if you look at his velocity over the last three years, it’s constantly been on the decline. Without heat, Perez just won’t be effective.

  • kjn

     He always seemed kind of hot-headed for a closer to me. Not that I care. Just get it done. But if we’re talking about mentality, I’d go with the cool-as-a-cucumber Mariano type.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    That’s fair… maybe I’m just used to Tribe closers having runners on base all the time.  I can’t remember the last one who didn’t give up plenty of singles and walks even if they weren’t necessarily blowing saves.  Fits the bill for Wood, Borowski, Wickman, Todd Jones, uhhhhh etc.

  • Jack

    Not necessarily. Imagine Perez last year. Certainly our fall flame-out was not a product of Rage blowing saves. He was an all-star b/c of that save total. 

    But he had a horrible WHIP and BA against, and could not close the deal without significant drama. And a number of those saves were the product of luck/good plays/bad hitting, etc.

    And yes, the opposition would not be thrilled to be down in the 9th inning. But so much of baseball late-inning success is psychological. It’s an extremely psychological game. And if a team is facing a guy that they know hangs his out pitch all day, can’t blow them away with his fastball, works on pure emotion, etc…they’re not going to come in doubting/deflated. They are going to say, ‘We can beat this guy’ and actually mean it.

  • Jack
  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    bastian’s point is soft and also carries that ‘cluck, cluck, cluck’ of so many who cover cleveland teams.  ‘see?  you guys?  he’s good now and you were all stupid to say he looked bad friday.’

    well, BASTIAN, if you’re cool with your closer loading the bases to face the AL’s best hitting in the bottom of the 9th, if you think that means ‘he’s back’….. whatevs man.

    not for nothing but droobs has picked up this team with his glove more than the converse.  weak sauce to get after droobs with an i-told-you-so when perez simply cant get a clean swing/miss: 7 foul balls in the next two batters.

    would love to get steiner’s take on this.

  • dwhit110

    If you remember back to 2007, you’ll recall everyone in the National Media demanding that Wedge would have to go with one of the Rafies instead of Joe Borowski (who seems very similar to Pure Rage in that he had high save totals but low WHIP and BA against stats) 

    So to Jack’s point, yes. If we were to overachieve and make a 1-game WC playoff, it could conceivably be alka-seltzer time in the 9th. We certainly had that happen in 2007.

  • Steve

    Asdrubal has certainly not picked up this team with his glove more than the converse. You don’t get to ignore him completely and utterly botching a 7 hopper with the game on the line. He’s been getting worse defensively, and continues to demonstrate a serious lack of soft hands for a shortstop.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    point taken on droobs.  i looked up his fielding stats from last year and they’re not good.  the spectacular plays are the ones that stay with you, i guess, but on the whole i’d have back-off on my statement above.  

    good catch and thanks.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    point taken on droobs.  i looked up his fielding stats from last year and they’re not good.  the spectacular plays are the ones that stay with you, i guess, but on the whole i’d have back-off on my statement above.  

    good catch and thanks.

  • Garry_Owen

    Agree.  I’ve never understood the obsession with the crazy, hair-on-fire closer.  John Rocker ran out of a bullpen one day and the world went mad. It has always seemed so counterintuitive to me that you place your most unhinged player in the position of most stress. 

  • porckchopexpress

    I critizied Perez and I feel I was paying attention.  Had he not reported fat and out of shape to spring training maybe he would have gotten extra work in. Had he gotten extra work in maybe he doesn’t poop all over opening day causing the rest of the bullpen to gas itself in a loss.  If he just does his job on opening day the bullpen is rested and the team comes out Saturday in a looser state of mind. Even if they drop game two they are still okay.  Maybe Asdrubal doesn’t boot that ball because he is on pins and needles when Perez is on the mound.  Maybe having  a hypersensistive guy that can poo the bed at any moment heightens the tension among field players because they know one bad pitch can send the whole inning down the toilet.
    Sure the “unnecessary drame” was caused by an unforced error but if you check the ledger Perez’s PD vs TD (Perez caused drama versus Team caused drama) is way out of whack.