Hargrove on KJR
In an effort to stem the inexorable tide of Derek posts, I rise from the sickbed to summarize Mike Hargrove’s appearance on local radio. There’s not much that will surprise you here; only one item leaped out at me.
On the World Baseball Classic: It’s a benefit to baseball and helps grow the game internationally.
On Carl Everett: He’s a proven winner and run producer who has played on good teams. Also: “It’s good to have someone in the clubhouse that will speak their mind.” Passed on without comment.
On pitching: Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro are among the keys to the rotation. He “saw Joel get stronger as the season went along” (huh?), but for Meche, “his first half was pretty decent,” but his second half “was not good” (double huh?).
In a perfect world, Hargrove said, his rotation would include Meche, Pineiro, Moyer, Washburn, and Felix. Someone could beat one of those guys out, but he doesn’t expect it. Felix will most likely be the fifth starter, which Hargrove said will make it easier to keep track of his workload. They’ll keep him under 200 innings — unless the team is in contention, Hargrove said, drawing gulps from most everyone.
He made a very enlightened comment about pitch counts. Hargrove said that he monitors them closely not just for Felix, but for everyone, since high pitch counts undermine pitcher effectiveness over subsequent starts.
The team is planning on carrying a seven-man bullpen that will include Rafael Soriano. There was some consideration given to trying out Soriano in the rotation, but — among other factors — the signing of Washburn sunk that idea. “There may be one or two spots open” in the bullpen, he said, but had good things to say about J.J. Putz.
On What His Opening Day Lineup Would Look Like: Here’s the mildly surprising part. While acknowledging that it was terribly early, Hargrove dropped the following potential batting order:
Now, I know batting order has little importance. I also understand the value of breaking up the lefties in one’s lineup. But Beltre sixth? Hargrove talked about how Beltre “got into some bad habits” at the plate last year, and was doing “one or two little things” that impeded his progress. This may be an indication of the skipper being pretty down on his third baseman.
On the other hand, I like Johjima second in the order. Shows faith in this year’s big acquisition.