Friday, August 20, 2010

Carlos Monasterios and a Couple of Grinder Rants

Carlos Monasterios gets the start today against Dusty Baker's Reds because Vicente Padilla has been put on the disabled list. If you are like me, you are wondering why Carlos Monasterios is here. It's true that if the Dodgers don't have any option to  put him in the Minors. If they would take him off the active roster, it would probably be for good and they would join Phillies and Yankees on the list of teams that tried the Monk and gave him away. So why haven't the Dodgers gave him away?

In 2010, Monasterios has been a pet project of the Dodgers. He started as a reliever and got his first start on May 1st. As a reliever, he has gotten plenty of mop-up duty. What makes him unimpressive isn't so much his 34 K's and 21 BB's in 67.7 innings but the fact that he has only went six innings once when he collected his only quality start in 8 games started. The Monk is believed to have potential but I haven't seen too much that impresses me and it will take getting through the sixth inning for a start or two down the stretch.

Taking a look at his pitches, FanGraphs has his fastball valued at -6.3 runs below average, his curveball valued at -0.9, his slider at +0.9 and his best pitch is his change, which is valued at 4.8 runs above average. These numbers provide some reference but just watching him, you'll see that he lacks a pitch that will really bury a hitter. As a fly-ball pitcher (39.2%), he isn't among the company of strikeout pitchers but if he can't find an out pitch, he needs to find a pitch that will induce more outs

The ERA gods have smiled on him and so have the BABIP gods because his ERA (3.72) is lower than his xFIP (5.03) and he has been lucky with a .273 BABIP. That justifies my wishes to have another pitcher start in place of Carlos every time he gets the nod. At this point, it doesn't hurt because the Dodgers don't have much to play for. As far as the Monk's future, I imagine the Dodgers don't plan on him being a long term mop-up reliever/spot starter so I am thinking that they think he can be a back of the rotation starter unless his breaking balls become much better. Perhaps there is a future for him but until Monasterios gets much better, I will wonder why they favor the Monk and gave James McDonald away for an aged reliever rental.

It's not that I thought McDonald was going to be so great but I thought that McDonald was worth more than that. If the Dodgers would have made no trades, presumably Vicente Padilla would have still gotten hurt after making some great starts and the rotation would, at this date, have been Kersh, CBillz, Kuroda, Monk and McDonald. Those who make the argument that Lilly was necessary might have been right to have wanted another starter. But with all the players the Dodgers have gotten and all the players and prospects given away, he is the only one I can find a shred of justification for.


Although I have partitioned this point, it goes along with the last paragraph. To me, Ryan Theriot is an eyesore. Ryan Theriot has hit .299/.368/.328 as a Dodger. That's not too bad but Blake DeWitt as a Cub has hit .300/.364/.433. That's even better and DeWitt's OPS being 100 points better than Theriot's is a lot better. I know this is a small sample size but since I have already shown that Blake DeWitt is a better baseball player than Ryan Theriot, it should leave no doubt that the Dodgers were flat stupid in giving Ryan Theriot away and any success the Riot has in the 2 hole will be short-lived and is ill-advised beyond this year.


Holy praise a diety, Scotty Pods has reached 525 plate appearances, which gives him the right to reject a $2 million team option if the Dodgers would want to exercise that. That, my friends, in baseball speak, is double protection. Even if Ned would be dumb enough want to sign him at a reasonable rate, Pods has the option to go elsewhere if he so chooses. Since he has had some success this season, he should be worth more than $2 million next year despite his age and injury history. For the record, I don't mind him at the leadoff position. I do mind him playing center field and I do mind that he cost the Dodgers one of the few catching prospects in the organization and a promising pitching prospect.

The leadoff position isn't the most crucial spot in the lineup and the Dodgers don't lack for punchy leadoff hitting but they do lack the ability to drive runs in. Pods isn't a bad player but getting a player that can hit it out of the damn ball park, play the field and run the bases with some sense would have been a better investment. If the only trade the Dodgers would have made would have been to get Luke Scott, take the two prospects the Dodgers gave to the Cubs (Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach) and add Elisaul Pimentel OR Andrew Lambo and you have a deal that might have lured Scott to the Dodgers.

Baseball Prospectus' Christina Kahrl suggested that the White Sox trade for Miguel Tejada and Luke Scott and give Lucas Harrell, Jhonny Nunez and Eduardo Escobar in exchange. None of those guys are rated by Fangraphs as being a Top 10 White Sox prospect and only Nunez is ranked by BP, and he is ranked as the 11th prospect in the organization. Let's say you get a little generous and give away four prospects. Wallach, Smit, Pimentel and Lambo go to the O's for Tejada and Scott. You have a power hitting outfielder and a shortstop who could step in, allowing Jamey Carroll to return to his utility. You keep James McDonald, Lucas May and Blake DeWitt while making the team better.

I think that hindsight will show that none of the deals made were worth it but those deals might have given the Dodgers a better chance to score runs in the games that the Dodgers lost these past three weeks. The Dodgers also would have arguably been a better team and they would have a player that would be worth going forward with in Luke Scott. Instead, the Dodgers got worse and Ned admitted that he did so for the edification of his ego and failed miserably. Now, at present, theoretical Dodgers teams are more exciting than anything the Dodgers have going on currently. How far and quickly they have fallen.

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