Johjima pitch calling, Pineiro from the PI blog
Hickey’s got two items that escaped comment earlier this week:
“Washburn takes responsibility for homer” in which Jarrod says he didn’t shake Johjima’s changeup call off and it got cranked.
This is interesting in part because it leads with this:
Earlier in the season, Seattle pitchers were complaining, mostly privately, about the pitch calling tendencies of catcher Kenji Johjima.
But also that Hickey asserts that Johjima leans heavily away from the fastball, which contradicts the complaints that he was screwing up by calling for the fastball all the time, particularly early in the count.
I’ll take it for granted for a second that the pitchers aren’t all that happy with Johjima’s pitch-calling. I’m not sure it particularly matters (studies have shown that despite all the importance placed on this skill, the best and worst catchers don’t get appreciably different results out of pitchers). What interests me is the possibility that part of Felix’s problems (as Dave’s charted) are a result of the team attempting to correct this by having Johjima call more set sequences and get more pitches from the dugout, along with instructing him to “establish the fastball” more.
The other is that Pineiro might get dropped from the rotation. He (supposedly, what outsider can really verify this stuff) has options left and could be sent to Tacoma, but a bigger issue seems to be – who then?
Baek? Really? He’s been pretty good in Tacoma, but it’s not as if he’s turned a corner, and he’s not on the 40-man roster, so there’d have to be some move there. Cruceta’s had some good outings, but he’s not a complete pitcher yet and he’s been maddeningly inconsistent. After that there’s nothing in Tacoma.
Look to the bullpen and promote someone? Same thing — none of those guys are good bets to be appreciably better (as long as Soriano can’t be moved up).
Make a deal? That’s where this gets interesting. I don’t know who they’d move, or where, but if they’re considering moving Pineiro as part of an attempt to close the gap on the A’s, they’re going to need someone who’d be an appreciable upgrade and is available, playing for a team that needs what the M’s can offer.
I haven’t given this enough thought yet, but nothing springs to mind as a good fit immediately.