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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bill Madden: Reheating baseball’s turkeys of 2012

And Rockwell never painted no guacamole and tortillas!

10. CARLOS PENA

Maybe this isn’t fair, but in our opinion the contact-challenged Tampa Bay first baseman was the player most responsible for the Rays wasting all that great pitching and missing the playoffs by three games. Because they knew Pena, the Rays went over budget and spent $7.25 million — the second-highest salary on their team — to bring him back to provide a desperately-needed middle-of-the-order power bat. Instead, Pena, who had averaged 28 HR and 82 RBI the previous two seasons, had the lowest batting average in baseball (.197), the third most-strikeouts (182) in the AL, and dropped to 16 HR and 61 RBI. Most egregious, however, was his ineptitude from April 30-Aug. 7 — the period Evan Longoria was out when the Rays went 41-44 and fell from first place to third. In 87 games over that span, Pena hit .178 and slugged .329 with 11 HR and finally had to be benched by manager Joe Maddon.

5. STARLIN CASTRO

Welcome to the Turkey List the most undisciplined player in baseball. The Chicago Cubs’ second-year shortstop, who was nevertheless rewarded with a seven-year, $60 million contract, was among major-league leaders in three dubious categories in 2012 — errors (27), caught stealing (13) and mental gaffes. During the course of three games in June, Castro was (1) thrown out trying to steal second because he had stopped halfway after thinking the batter had fouled the pitch off, and (2) took a flip from second baseman Darwin Barney for what should’ve been the start of a double play then casually jogged to the dugout thinking there were two outs. That was the last straw for Cubs’ first-year manager Dale Sveum, who benched Castro for a game and publicly chewed him out. The Cubs may have committed their future to Castro, but so far he has shown himself to be a player you’re never going win with.

2. MELKY CABRERA

Melky we hardly knew ye. The fun-loving, exuberant ex-Yankee turned himself into a bum of the highest nature when, after being named MVP of the All-Star Game, he tested positive for testosterone on Aug . 15, and was subsequently suspended for 50 games and not brought back by the Giants for the postseason.Worse, however, was Cabrera’s attempt to cover up his guilt by having a friend, who works with his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, devise an elaborate, phony supplement website, which then brought federal investigators into the case. Still, just to show in baseball no bad deed goes unrewarded, Melky signed a two-year contract with the Blue Jays worth approximately $16 million.

Repoz Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:29 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, old coot

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. J.R. Wolf Posted: November 25, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4309160)
Loria totally deserves his ranking as the #1 turkey.
   2. bobm Posted: November 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4309167)
FTFA:

3. DAN O’DOWD ... O’Dowd’s ill-conceived idea to go to a four-man rotation with 75-pitch limits did little to improve his pitchers’ performances at Coors Field — and when he installed his assistant, Bill Geivett, with an office in the clubhouse to monitor everything, that was enough for manager Jim Tracy to quit and walk away from $1.4 million.


And:

6. RICKY ROMERO ... From June 27 to Sept. 24, Romero went 0-13 with a 7.42 ERA which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau is the second-worst 15-start streak in baseball history, behind the 0-14 by the Seattle Mariners’ Mike Parrott in 1980.

   3. puck Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4309170)
but so far he has shown himself to be a player you’re never going win with.

I love it when sportswriters hang young players with such labels.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4309214)
Mike Parrott was the Mariners' opening-day starter in 1980. He got the win on opening day, and ended the season with 16 starts and a record of 1-16.
   5. Proo Posted: November 25, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4309223)
I don't know, I think it's quite impressive that Pena was able to play in 87 games while the Rays went 41-44.
   6. McCoy Posted: November 25, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4309233)
Carlos started the season strong. In his first 28 games he started all of them and hit .398/.460 in 123 PA. The Rays went 19-9 in those 28 games. The next 80 games (which brings us to August 7th) saw him start 75 games and hit poorly. The Rays went 37-43 in those games. Add the two together and the Rays went 56-52 up to that point. Who else was out there that the Rays could have gotten to play first base this year that could have given the Rays a better record through 108 games?
   7. Greg K Posted: November 25, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4309267)
Who else was out there that the Rays could have gotten to play first base this year that could have given the Rays a better record through 108 games?

Perusing b-ref in an attempt to see what the answer to this question might be I came across the disaster that was the Philadelphia Phillies 1B position. How certain was the timetable for the return of Howard and Utley? The first three months of the season saw a lot more Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Freddy Galvis, John Mayberry, Pete Orr, Mike Fontenot (!), Hector Luna (!!), and someone named Michael Martinez than I would think any sane Phillies fan would have liked.

I suppose that's the problem with the "established star coming back in July" scenario. It's hard to get anyone who's any good to come in for a 3-month job. But surely you can find at least one guy to fill one of those two positions who isn't guaranteed to suck. I imagine Philadelphia's brief flirtation with a run at the playoffs at the end of the season may have looked differently had they had someone in there. (Or not, as Carlos Pena's example argues).
   8. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 25, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4309292)
#7, Utley's woes didn't surface until Spring Training. Howard was figured on returning anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 way point. Thome, Wigginton, John Maybeberry and Nix were to help at 1B/LF until Howard came back. Why Amaro thought Wiggy had anything left in the tank was a major surprise. Thome couldn't last more than a game at a time in the field.

Someone named Michael Martinez is the most egregious 2 year waste of a roster space I have ever seen. He was a 28 yo Rule 5 draftee from Washington in 2011. He's versatile, in that he doesn't know how to play many positions. He is speedy but can't steal bases. He looked OK at 3B and has enough arm for 7 positions. But he simply cannot hit. He can't hit enough for a AAA utility player. He got 100s of PAs in the two years.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4309306)
Loria totally deserves his ranking as the #1 turkey.

True, but in any other year someone from the Red Sox would have won. Not sure TFA is being fair in choosing Henry over Valentine:
4. JOHN HENRY
Although there are many worthy candidates, someone has to take the blame for the fall of the Red Sox and it might as well be the owner, who sat back and, if nothing else, enabled all his minions to turn this once-proud organization into the laughingstock of baseball. It began with the Red Sox hierarchy undercutting rookie GM Ben Cherington by naming Bobby Valentine as manager when he wanted Sveum. Then, Henry & Co. proceeded to undercut Valentine by entertaining a players-only meeting to air their gripes about the manager. Of course, the final undoing for Valentine was when Henry approved the $261 million salary-dump trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers in August. Indeed, while John Henry has been spending most of his time abroad with his Liverpool soccer team, his Red Sox have deteriorated into a last-place team with a dried-up farm system.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4309312)
i am glad he called out the umpiring even though he focused on just welke
   11. J.R. Wolf Posted: November 26, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4310247)
True, but in any other year someone from the Red Sox would have won.

Probably, but what Loria did was a once-in-a-generation atrocity. This year is his.

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