Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First Spring cuts

As we approach 1 month since pitchers and catchers reported in this World Baseball Classic extended version of spring training, we find teams have more time to evaluate the talent in camp. That is why I did a doubletake when I saw the names of the first five players reassigned yesterday... 1 in particular... Pat Misch, Ramon Ortiz, Todd Jennings, Ronnie Ray... and Josh Phelps...Can you guess which one surprised me?

I get the first four, I mean, eventually another 25+ will be sent packing and this early spring movement allows for more concntration on thoswho might actually help the team this year.

Pat Misch has been incredibly inconsistent over the last 3 seasons of call ups, nothing appears to have changed in the last month, and he's not exactly going to beat out Lincecum/Cain/Johnson/Sanchez/Zito so why keep him around. Ramon Ortiz is trying to make a comeback at the big league level, but he hasn't been effective against MLB hitters in 4 years and looked liked he was advertised over his first few spring outings...washed lets give more innings to someone who can help the bullpen. Ronnie Ray was a long shot anyway and with the non-Roster Invitees of Medders, Miller, and Beltran pitching so brilliantly, Ray had no shot. Jennings is behind Molina, Holm, Posey, Sandoval, Whiteside, and Williams on the catchng depth chart so with the loss of 3 pitchers, someone had to go...Josh Phelps on the otherhand...

Josh Phelps just doesn't quite make complete sense to me. He was brought in as a non-roster invitee, so his shot was long to begin with. But with no first baseman, no real power in the lineup, and his experience, he seemed like a guy who would actually have a shot. Phelps has more raw power than anyone in camp. He has never shown the ability to hit consistent at the major league level, but if he ever figures things out, he could be like a slightly lesser version of Adam Dunn. More like Adam Dunn at the 30 home run level than the 40-45 homerun level. Still, that's 14 more homeruns than anyone had last year...thatis IF he figures things out too, not nescessarily a given either. So why is his spring done already? Why is he among the first cuts?

For starters, look at his Spring line... 4 games, 8 AB's...and that's all... Or as the famous Ausin Powers once said about the 80's, "a flock of seagulls and an oil shortage. That's all." Bruce Bochy said after the cuts were announced that Phelps has been battleing a nerve injury all spring and he most likely wouldn't be healthy until after spring ends. OK, i'll buy that. If he really is injured, he has no shot. Still, it's dissapointing in a way. I didn't want to just hand the job to Ishikawa or Bowker, but keep pressure on them all spring.

Then again, both Ishi and Bowker are doing a fine job competeing against themselves so maybe in another month, we'll forget all about Phelps and have a hard time recalling if he was in the 2009 camp or the 2008 camp.

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