Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Courtesy of Peter Gammons:

[White Sox GM Kenny] Williams asked Ozzie Guillen if he wanted Borchard or Jeremy Reed to be brought up to replace Magglio Ordonez. "Ozzie said no, that he wants to give the playing time to bench guys who have been contributing," says Williams, meaning Aaron Rowand, Ross Gload and Timo Perez.

OK, despite the fact that Williams is letting his manager determine roster moves, I think it's fair to assume that Ozzie, like Dusty, prefers his veterans to his rookies. Is this smart?

Rowand 0.261 EqA (career .259 EqA)
Gload 0.270 EqA (career .219 EqA)
Perez 0.203 EqA (career .250 EqA)

Meanwhile, Borchard's hitting 0.254 MjEqA down in AAA, and Reed's hitting 0.243 MjEqA.

Rowand's about as productive as he's ever been, which isn't a bad replacement option in RF. But Gload and Perez don't deserve to be regulars.

Given Borchard's difficulties adjusting to new levels, I'd be tempted to keep him in AAA to keep his confidence up.

So I guess Ozzie made the right decision.

But the real question is how much longer Willie Harris can keep up this impression of a regular CF. If either Uribe (0.296 EqA) or Harris (0.277 EqA) start to play at their normal level (both of them have career EqAs around .200), Rowand will have to shift over to CF with the other taking regular duties at 2B. And I'd probably call up Reed to play RF, who is finally turning things around after a disasterous start. He's finally walking again (30/28 BB/K), he's got the speed Ozzie will appreciate (12 for 18 in SB), and his average is creeping back up. He'd be a fine #9 hitter as he hones his leadoff skills and develops some power.

Assuming Williams wants to keep both Reed and Borchard in AAA for more seasoning (not the worst idea in the world), the other option would be to call up Andres Torres. While not a prospect, Torres is younger than Perez and Gload, and I'm tempted to believe the improvements he's made in Charlotte this year might stick. He's got a 0.253 MjEqA, and there wouldn't be any service time issues with calling him up. At worst, he'd help pad the Sox bench. (And bring Mike Spidale up to AAA to fill his spot, and Brain Anderson up to AA to fill Spidale's spot.)


Watching the Cubs/Cards game today, and it's great to see Chris Carpenter toss a good one: 8 1/3 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 6 K, 2 HR, 92-67 PC-ST.

Carpenter had a 4.83 career ERA with the Jays and a 99 ERA+ before signing with St. Louis as a minor league free agent in 2003. Recovering from shoulder surgery, he didn't throw a pitch with the Cards in '03, but has emerged as the club's best starter so far this year as Morris and Williams struggle. He's now 7-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 73.2 IP.

But is the transformation for real?

Carpenter's peripherals with Toronto suggested he'd never amount to more than a decent 3rd starter: 10.17 H/9, 3.42 BB/9, 6.33 K/9, 1.15 HR/9.

So far, here are his peripherals for 2004: 7.57 H/9, 1.95 BB/9, 6.60 K/9, 1.71 HR/9.

Well, it's clear he's not the same pitcher. I'm tempted to credit the cut in hits as much to Edmonds, Renteria, Rolen, etc. as to Carpenter (both Rolen and Edmonds made a couple of spectacular plays today), but he's increased his Ks and nearly halfed his walks. That's good. With two more HRs today, however, those 14 dingers are a little scary (although 7 of them came in two games). Give him 200 innings and he may crack 40 HRs. Taken together, that's "good" for a 4.99 DIPS (which ultimately isn't so good).

As to whether he'll keep up this Blylevenesque performance, I think it's too early to tell. He seems to be throwing more strikes than he did in Toronto, and that great defense is turning those balls in play into outs (the Cards' 0.7170 defensive efficiency is second best in baseball), but not even Edmonds can stop all those pitches from leaving the park. I think it's likely his hits will go up a bit, but what happens to his BB/9 and HR/9 as a consequence is anybody's guess.

But regardless how he finishes the year, he's proven to be quite the bargain for $500,000--the Jays somehow thinking $2M was a wise investment in this guy--sorry, I mean this guy--instead. (Man, whether it's Hentgen over Carpenter, or Prokopec over Gagne, J.P. seems to have a knack for targeting the wrong pitcher.)

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