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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oz: Thumb injuries to Yadier Molina, Brandon Phillips shake up NL Central

I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD. That’s Doctor of Thumbology.

The news wasn’t good for the St. Louis Cardinals and their cornerstone catcher Yadier Molina. Molina has a torn ligament in his thumb and will miss 8-12 weeks after surgery, according to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak.

Nor was it good for the division rival Cincinnati Reds, who confirmed Thursday that their star second baseman Brandon Phillips also needs thumb surgery to repair a ligament. The Reds say he’ll miss six weeks…

Both injuries figure to shake up the NL Central, where the Cards and Reds had both been making a charge at the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Heading into Thursday’s action, the Brewers were up two games on the Cardinals and two and a half on the Reds…

Unless the Cardinals make a move — A.J. Pierzynski and his smartphone are available — Tony Cruz figures to takeover the everyday catching duties. He’s played in 21 games this season and is hitting .255 in 51 at-bats. He’s been with the Cardinals since 2011 but has never played more than 51 games in a season.

The Reds have utilityman Skip Schumaker listed as their No. 2 second baseman, but back-up shortstop Ramon Santiago played there Thursday against the Cubs….

With the Cardinals and Reds hurting, the Brewers have to feel better about their chances of holding on to their division lead. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates, four and a half back and in fourth place, have to sense a great opportunity in front of them.

The District Attorney Posted: July 10, 2014 at 08:17 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, cardinals, injuries, pirates, reds

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 10, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4748401)
Darwin Barney is available!

(Hey, it worked last year.)
   2. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 10, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4748406)
Yeah, one of those injuries hurts and the other one doesn't.

It does look like we might be shaping up for a "Does ANYONE want to win the NL Central?" storyline in the second half, though. Should be fun.
   3. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4748592)
Yeah, one of those injuries hurts and the other one doesn't.


Yep, losing Phillips is devastating for the Reds.
   4. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 11, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4748641)
It does look like we might be shaping up for a "Does ANYONE want to win the NL Central?" storyline in the second half, though.


The last time either of these teams was alone in 1st was 2013. Let's hope it stays that way for awhile.
   5. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4748667)
The Brewers are finally coming back to earth (and might leave a crater in the process) and the Pirates have injury problems of their own (to wit, they currently have only one starting pitcher who is clearly above replacement level, and he himself doesn't exactly have a sterling health record).

The Cardinals have more depth than the other teams and I think they remain the easy favorite to take the division.
   6. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4748693)
Todd Frazier has spent some time at second base....Move him there, promote Neftali Soto to play third and pray he thinks he's still facing minor league pitchers and hits .330 in the second half.
   7. Ziggy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4748727)
So I don't think #6 was meant very seriously, but I decided to check it out for plausibility. Frazier has played 8 innings at 2B in the majors, and 39 games there in the minors (almost all in 2009). Soto is having a good year, but his track record is pretty grim. He was a good prospect once upon a time, but I have the feeling that he'd hit something like 200/220/350 in the majors.

Schumaker really can play second base, although his hitting is terrible. Looking at the guys who have played some 2B in Louisville this year, it's a bunch of minor league filler, but Ruben Gotay might be the best bet. Maybe promote Bryan Anderson for OF depth and Schumaker to 2B? This is going to be a long summer.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4748738)
zeth

the brewers offense is still second in the league in runs scored and this with segura and overbay playing regularly.

the offense has slumbered a bit and then the bullpen got in the act by blowing a few games.

not saying the brewers are a great team. just that slumps happen

   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4748739)
Harveys: They may right the ship and pull away. But you know how stubborn I can be about refusing to admit I was wrong :)
   10. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4748754)
#7--I support any moves that increase the positional flexibility of players on my Fantasy teams.

As a somewhat less implausible suggestion though: Since outfielders who can hit are easier to find than second basemen who can hit...what about bringing Billy Hamilton back to the infield?
   11. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4748755)
Also, if the Cardinals do not pick up George Kottaras, I will burn their stadium to the ground.

(Note: I won't actually burn their stadium to the ground. Arson is a crime.)
   12. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4748777)
OMG! As if Phillips getting hurt isn't bad enough, Bryan Price is hitting Cozart 2nd today! Will the nightmare never end?! I mean, the only silver lining to Phillips getting hurt is that he would no longer be sucking up outs in the 3rd and 4th spots in the lineup, and now, the greatest out-suck of them all gets moved to the 2nd spot.
   13. Moe Greene Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4748789)
Cozart hitting 2nd.

Hmm... sounds like the Reds brought Dusty back to manage for a day.
   14. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4748811)
Serious question... Is Ben Zobrist available? He's got a team option for next season, but, a 500k buyout. Would be a great fill-in for Phillips while he is out. Plus, this Reds team is so banged up, that even once Votto and Phillips come back, there should be plenty of at-bats to go around. Plus, Plus, he would be a real #2 hitter!
   15. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4748818)
The Reds need a second baseman? Alfonso Soriano is available!
   16. Ziggy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4748828)
I would imagine that Zobrist is available, but you have to trade real talent for real major leaguers. I doubt that there's any way to get Zobrist without giving up Stephenson. Maybe that's worth it - Zobrist's option next year is very reasonable. But he's a lot more expensive (talent wise) than the other ideas we've been kicking around.

I was about to suggest trading for Stephen Drew, but wow, OPS+ of 15.

Hamilton was a butcher at SS. If the Reds are going to move an OF to 2B and look for a replacement OF, it should really be Schumaker.
   17. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4748830)
Barney is available.
   18. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4748835)
Barney is available.


The Reds have plenty of options that are this bad. Sorry Meat!

I was about to suggest trading for Stephen Drew, but wow, OPS+ of 15.


Maybe a change of scenery would do him good! :-)
   19. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4748842)
11. Also, if the Cardinals do not pick up George Kottaras, I will burn their stadium to the ground.

(Note: I won't actually burn their stadium to the ground. Arson is a crime.)

Well, now we no longer have to worry about it:

Jon Heyman ?@JonHeymanCBS 5m
George kottaras is claimed by cardinals
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 11, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4748843)
Since outfielders who can hit are easier to find

i don't know if that is true these days. i know you were speaking relative to infielders but boy there seems to be a dearth of outfielders who can hit like one would expect.
   21. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4748855)
20--Very true, yeah, I was just referring to middle infielders.

I'm just trying to come up with an answer to this problem that's not "Ruben Gotay."
   22. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4748859)
20--Very true, yeah, I was just referring to middle infielders.

I'm just trying to come up with an answer to this problem that's not "Ruben Gotay."


Amen. Though, this being the Reds, I expect them to do nothing and muddle through.
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4748874)
the reds have been more than happy with cozart in teh lineup and that guy cannot hit worth two sh8ts

so doubt they will worry too much about second base
   24. Natty Fan Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4748886)
The Cardinals are getting a LOT of credit here based on their perceived advantage in talent, but at some point in a season (say, the halfway mark) the results on the field should reflect it, right?

I went back in BBREF to track the recent hot streaks by the Pirates (since May 20) and Reds (since May 29), and within both of those time frames, the Bucs and Reds have pythag records WELL over .500. Since May 18, Pittsburgh has a .543 and Cincinnati has a .568.

St. Louis, on the other hand has a +3 run differential and a .508 Pythag since May 18. And the more I shorten that time frame, the worse that number gets.

What is it about the 2014 Cardinals that has folks thinking they can simply "turn it on" in the second half? Or conversely, why doesn't anyone believe in what the Pirates and Reds have done over the past 7-8 weeks, or what the Brewers have done all season?
   25. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4748896)
The Pirates played an extremely easy schedule most of May. They're 12-25 against the Brewers, Cardinals and Reds, 36-19 against everyone else (which in June included such luminaries as the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Padres, Cubs, and Cubs.)
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4748957)
11. Also, if the Cardinals do not pick up George Kottaras, I will burn their stadium to the ground.

(Note: I won't actually burn their stadium to the ground. Arson is a crime.)

Well, now we no longer have to worry about it:

Jon Heyman ?@JonHeymanCBS 5m
George kottaras is claimed by cardinals


What is wrong with Kottaras and why was he available?
   27. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4748964)
Kottaras must quietly be rated 1.4 Pierzynskis on the ####### Scale, because everywhere he goes he hits well for a catcher and swiftly gets discarded.
   28. esseff Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4748968)
What is it about the 2014 Cardinals that has folks thinking they can simply "turn it on" in the second half?


Belief that Matt Holliday and Allen Craig are still the players they were in the past. Belief that Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez are really the A prospects all the touts said they were.

Those beliefs may be dead wrong, because a half-season is a sizable sample of evidence to the contrary. But even so, those beliefs are not unreasonable.
   29. Davo Dozier Posted: July 11, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4748989)
What is wrong with Kottaras and why was he available?
KC’s current backup catcher is the great Brett Hayes, currently sporting a .103/.125/.179 line on the season (.208/.252/.355 career).

The Orioles are using Steve Clevenger, rocking a career .213/.272/.303 line.

The Pirates—Chris Stewart (career numbers: .216/.292/.284).

The Arizona Diamondbacks are using something called a Tuffy Gosewisch, who is sitting at .204/.211/.269 career.

Marlins are using Lounge Favorite Jeff Mathis (.197/.259/.310). And the Cardinals’ backup catcher is Tony Cruz - .238/.282/.326.

.....Meanwhile George Kottaras (.216/.326/.415 career; .218/.342/.432 in 500 PAs since 2011) has been released 4 times since last January.

**************

It's the weirdest damn thing I've seen.
   30. Ziggy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4749085)
How is Zobrist's D at SS? DRS (don't know if that's a good one to use) says just about average, give or take. How does a Stephenson-centric deal for Zobrist sound? He plays 2B until Philips gets back, and pushes Cozart to the bench for the rest of the year. (WAR seems to think that's about a wash this year, actually, though Zobrist has beaten Cozart by a lot in the past.) Or he can play 1B while Votto is out and shift over to 2B when he comes back. The Reds are playing Brayan Pena, their back-up catcher, at 1B right now. That has to end, and fast.
   31. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4749086)
zeth

georgie is a nice guy

here is what i know to be true

--george is a poor throwing catcher
--george is a really poor pitch receiver
--he can't hit lefties

it's the first two that can cause a fair amount of noise because it drives the pitchers crazy. george loses strikes (or is perceived to be losing pitcher strike calls) regularly. and he can't throw. so pitchers can really start to b8tch about having kottaras behind the plate. if are a pitcher who is constantly working the black to stay in the league and george is dropping his mitt at the wrong time or shifting as he catches the pitch causing the ump to think the pitch is off the plate you get really irritated really fast.

one of the female bbtfer's confirmed what i had been told is that women find georgie very attractive. no idea if that is a factor.

   32. Greg K Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:25 PM (#4749168)
one of the female bbtfer's confirmed what i had been told is that women find georgie very attractive. no idea if that is a factor.

He does have a great smile.
   33. base ball chick Posted: July 11, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4749182)
Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 11, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4749086)


one of the female bbtfer's confirmed what i had been told is that women find georgie very attractive. no idea if that is a factor.


- ?????
he looks like, just some guy who you don't notice - not ugly, not HOTTTTT, just ordinary

of course, he may be just like meh in pics but have that something up close
   34. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4749192)
Harveys: Interesting. So why wasn't he moved off catcher years ago? His bat has always seemed potent enough that there's a chance he could develop into a 120 OPS+ guy without the burden of trying to catch.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: July 11, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4749221)
We have female bbtfer's other than bbc?

So why wasn't he moved off catcher years ago? His bat has always seemed potent enough that there's a chance he could develop into a 120 OPS+ guy without the burden of trying to catch.

Looks like a stretch to me. He never hit particularly well in the minors including a career 245 BA in AAA. If anything, he's hit for more power and maintained his walk rate better than we'd have expected. He didn't make the majors until 26 and was never given a full season. His career 99 OPS+ is heavily tilted towards RHP.

Increase his BA by 15-20 points and his ISO by 30 points and you've got Carlos Pena (career 118 OPS+) but that's a 60 point increase in OPS and there's no reason to think moving a guy off C (esp as late as 26+) can have that sort of effect ... and Pena's successful years were driven by ISOs in the 300+ range that I can't imagine Kottaras doing. More likely, Kottaras the 1B is Daric Barton without the defense.

That said, I agree it's a mystery. The pitch handling and throwing would be good reasons he's never been a starter, but 99 OPS+ LHB with limited defense sounds like a good choice for backup C to me.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM (#4749223)
Looks like a stretch to me. He never hit particularly well in the minors including a career 245 BA in AAA. If anything, he's hit for more power and maintained his walk rate better than we'd have expected. He didn't make the majors until 26 and was never given a full season. His career 99 OPS+ is heavily tilted towards RHP.


But how unusual is that?....quick look says that he's faced right handed batters 79% of the time... looking at 2013 right handed pitchers faced 79% of the batters. I understand that lefties face a higher percentage of lefties on average than other players, so him matching the league norm is indicative that he's faced fewer lefties than other lefty batters, but not fewer than the league.

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