This Made Me Laugh
Behold – the most inaccurate baseball column you will ever read. From what I’ve heard, Seth Kolloen is a nice enough guy, but the P-I should demand a refund for this stinker. The hilarious part is that I actually agree with part of his premise, and John McLaren is overly attached to his veterans. I have been beating this drum myself for a while but I still can’t help but shake my head at how bad this article is. Let’s dive right in. We’ll shower when we’re done.
And now there’s an even more illogical addendum: Perform well, and I’ll mess with you.
On Monday and Tuesday, McLaren fiddled with the lineup. No, he didn’t replace any of the three hitters in his lineup who were batting below .115. Instead, he dinked around with the guys who actually were hitting.
For Tuesday’s game, Adrian Beltre moved from fifth in the batting order to third. Raul Ibanez moved from third to fourth.
Yes folks, John McLaren is messing with Adrian Beltre by moving him from the #5 spot to the #3 spot. Because, you know, we wouldn’t want the team’s best power hitter in a position to drive in Ichiro as often as possible. For as much as we get on McLaren, this was a good move, and I said so at the time he made it. By getting Beltre in front of Ibanez, we avoid the annoying Lopez-bunts-Ichiro-over, opponent-walks-Ibanez-to-get-to-Sexson situation that the previous line-up led to. He made the line-up better and took away a tactical weapon from the opposing managers, and this is what Kolloen chooses to criticize?
Brad Wilkerson, Kenji Johjima and Jose Vidro, none of whom are hitting a jockey’s weight, stayed in the lineup.
Not noted is the fact that all three of these players are better than the reserves on the bench. Seriously, the M’s bench sucks (it’s their own fault, but it’s also reality). Removing any of those three from the line-up makes that days team worse. Again, of all the things to get on McLaren about, and you pick one thing that he’s doing right.
Jim Leyland’s Tigers started out slow — none slower than Jacque Jones, who started the season on a hitless streak.
How long did it take Leyland to sit Jones?
Ooh, a hitless streak. That sounds serious. Except, you know, that streak consisted of 8 at-bats. And, just for the record, here’s Jacque Jones’ 2008 performance through yesterday’s game: .222/.263/.222. If no Tigers have started slower, what does Seth think of Ivan Rodriguez, Placido Polanco, Miguel Cabrera, or Edgar Renteria? Believe it or not, Jacque Jones is outhitting all four of them. When he wrote the article, Jones was the Tigers fifth best hitter to date (which explains why they were 0-7 before tonight, but is still reality). However, Kolloen chooses to ignore the facts that Leyland hasn’t at all done what Kolloen is crediting him for doing. Leyland isn’t benching his struggling veterans to teach them that poor performance won’t be rewarded – he’s sticking with the guys who have long track records of success. Which is exactly what good managers do seven games into the season!
Yes, Jacque Jones got the 3rd game of the season off, while Marcus Thames played in his place. Do you think that maybe that had something to do with the fact that Thames has 44 home runs in 600 at-bats over the last two seasons for Detroit? Seriously, 44 home runs in just over a full season’s worth of at-bats. He’s a flawed player, but he’s a hell of an asset for a reserve, and giving him at-bats isn’t scandal in the making. Also, note that Jones has started every game since. Some benching.
But wait, it gets better. This is the best part.
And, as further motivation, Jones has a young teammate who’s ready to take his spot.
Leyland has the Tigers’ equivalent of Adam Jones, center fielder Clete Thomas. But instead of carving up Triple-A pitching while the big club’s offense flounders, as Jones did last year, Thomas is up with the Tigers, taking the odd start away from veterans. And in four starts, Thomas has gone 7-for-15.
With Thomas lurking, what’s going through Jacque Jones’ mind?
Clete Thomas, Detroit’s equivalent of Adam Jones. This Clete Thomas, the 24-year-old who hit .280/.358/.405 in Double-A last year. The one who posted a .697 OPS in Class-A ball the year before. The Clete Thomas that ZIPS projected to hit .217/.274/.304 in 2008. No, seriously, that Clete Thomas.
Detroit traded away practically their entire farm system to get Cabrera and Willis. They stripped it bare, selling off everyone with talent except Rick Porcello, who they weren’t allowed to trade due to rules about recent signees. The Tigers farm system is one of the worst in the game at present. Baseball America didn’t rank Clete Thomas, their “equivalent of Adam Jones”, among the Tigers top 10 prospects. They thought less of Clete Thomas than former cast off Mariner relievers Yorman Bazardo and Francisco Cruceta.
Seriously – Clete Thomas is barely a prospect at all, and he’s about as close to Adam Jones as this column is to War And Peace. He’s Willie Bloomquist with slightly better outfield defense. Seth could have figured this out with about 45 seconds of research, or an email to anyone who knows anything about Clete Thomas. Instead, he really allowed himself to write that Thomas was Detroit’s answer to Adam Jones. A stupider comment won’t be published in any form in 2008.
Take a mulligan on this column, Seth. It was the Clete Thomas of baseball articles.