All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Non-tender Deadline

The non-tender deadline is tonight at 11:59pm ET. But most teams have already announced their decisions. The transactions have been fast and furious today.

The Braves, as expected, non-tendered Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan. Apparently, they never even considered non-tendering Paul Janish. Haven't heard what he was offered, but he was reportedly offered a contract.

And I finally figured out why so many in Atlanta, including the beat writers, thought this was Janish's first arb year. He's a Super Two. I never knew that. Or if I did, I didn't remember it.

Janish's one-time teammate at Rice, Phil Humber, is headed back to Houston. The Astros claimed him off waivers. Humber had a rough year, despite that perfect game.

Former Yankee Jeff Karstens was non-tendered by the Pirates. I gather they like him well enough, they just didn't want to pay him as much as he'd get in arbitration. They might work out a deal for a lower salary now that he's a free agent.

The Yankees did something bizarre today. They signed Jayson Nix to a major league deal, then DFA'd him. Apparently, they're hoping he clears waivers. He's told them he'll accept a minor league assignment if he does. I guess the Yankees don't care if he's claimed and they lose him.

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posted by BubbaFan, 10:37 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A pleasant surprise

There's an article about Paul Janish at Braves Journal.

...sometimes you make a move that you don’t expect much of, and you get pleasantly surprised.

That’s how I felt about Paul Janish. Pleasantly surprised. I remember watching him with the Reds and wondering how he had a job, then hearing the Braves had traded for him and were inserting him at short until Andrelton Simmons came back from his thumb injury. I wondered why they didn’t try Pastornicky again, or Prado, or anybody else. And then being continuously, pleasantly surprised with him every step of the way.

It's kind of a nice article. Though I think he's wrong about Janish's walk rate. It hasn't fallen as he's advanced. Quite the opposite, really. There's a couple of outliers, but overall, he's walked more as he's advanced, and his 9.1% for the Braves this year is pretty close to his minor league average of 10%.

I also think he's wrong about Janish's baserunning. Janish doesn't have blazing speed, but he's pretty smart on the basepaths. Using SB and CS is misleading. Not only is it a really small sample size for Janish, it's skewed by all those caught stealings that resulted from those blown hit and runs Dusty was so fond of.

The article says Janish's roster spot is set in stone. I'm not so sure. But tomorrow's the nontender deadline, so I guess we'll find out soon.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:13 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Third Annual Jay Bruce Golf Benefit

Photo by Dave Ryan, Beaumont Enterprise

Jay Bruce's golf fundraiser was this morning. There are some photos here.

Bruce said last week that Janish is usually there, and it looks like he was. I'm pretty sure that's him in the background of the photo up top. The guy in white, at the wheel of the golf cart.

Good news, if his shoulder is healthy enough for golf.


posted by BubbaFan, 8:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Javelinas Win

The Peoria Javelinas hung on to defeat the Salt River Rafters and take the Arizona Fall League championship, though it was not without controversy.

Anthony Rendon was 1 for 4, but the one was a triple to the wall. Reds shortstop turned center fielder Billy Hamilton hit the wall hard but missed. He chased after the ball, threw it back in, and then collapsed. He was down for a quite awhile, before walking off the field supported by two coaches.

He's a gamer. He was clearly in pain from the moment he hit the wall, but he ran the ball down anyway, holding Rendon to a triple instead of an inside the park home run. They announced after the game that it was "lower back spasms." He came out onto the field to celebrate the victory with his teammates, so I guess he's all right.

He said afterwards, "There aren't walls when you play shortstop, but I better get used to that."

Well, there might be a wall or two at shortstop...


posted by BubbaFan, 9:48 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 16, 2012

Elvis has not left the building after all?

Jay Bruce's hometown newspaper, the Beaumont Enterprise, had an interview with him yesterday. He's hosting a golf fundraiser Monday, and it sounds like he expects Paul Janish to be there. I'm kind of surprised Janish can golf so soon after shoulder surgery. A good sign, I guess, if he can.

Meanwhile, Mark Berman has an article about Lance Berkman. Many were expecting Berkman to retire after this season, but it sounds like he's thinking about coming back. He'd like to play for his home town Astros, and since they are moving to the AL, he could DH. He's not ruling out going to another team, though. Sounds like the health of his knee and the amount of money he's offered will determine if and where he returns.

He's currently working as a volunteer coach at Rice. He really likes it, and might become a Rice coach full time once his MLB career is truly over. The Astros say they also want him as a coach.

Berkman is also hoping to finish his Rice degree next fall.

That reminds me of this interview with Norm Charlton, who famously has three degrees from Rice.

Q: Do you ever think of coaching high-school ball or anything?

Charlton: Coaching high-school ball, no. Because I would have to go back to college and get my teacher's certificate. I do have three degrees from Rice — political science, religion and physical education. I spent 3 ½ years in college with three majors and that was enough. My degrees were all about the money. Political science, I'll talk it out of you. Religion, I'll preach it out of you. And if that doesn't work, phys ed, I'll beat it out of you.

Bwahahahaha! He sounds like quite the character.

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posted by BubbaFan, 9:06 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The AFL Championship

No, not football. The last game of the Arizona Fall League "regular season" was today. The Javelinas hung on, and secured their spot in the championship game. The Salt River Rafters clinched a few days ago.

The Javelinas are made up of prospects from the Reds, Twins, Phillies, Padres, and Mariners. The River Rafters have prospects from the Diamondbacks, White Sox, Rockies, Jays, and Nationals.

Anthony Rendon is a River Rafter; he did pretty well, putting up a .329 / .418 / .487 line.

The one-game championship will be broadcast on the MLB Network and, Saturday, 3:10pm ET.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Team Formerly Known as the SWB Yankees...

Local high school players model the new batting practice jersey, and the home, away, and alternate uniforms. no more. The new name is the Scranton/Wilkes/Barre RailRiders.

The announcement was made at a "Big Reveal" party tonight. There was free food (ballpark fare: hot dogs, nachos, chicken tenders, pretzels, popcorn, Cracker Jack, soda), along with games, face painters, and other entertainment for the kids. The Red Cross was also there, taking donations for Hurricane Sandy relief (cash and canned goods).

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was not there, but he recorded a short video that was played for the crowd. After the new name was announced, the merchandise tables near the front door were uncovered, revealing t-shirts, sweatshirts, souvenir bats, caps, tote bags, and more, all with the name or logos.

The colors harken back to the Red Barons (as the team was known before it became a Yankees affiliate), as does the intertwined SWB logo. The home uniform has Yankee pinstripes, there's a Yankees patch on one sleeve, and the batting practice jersey has a bat with a conductor's cap on it, reminiscent of the famous Yankees top hat and bat logo.

I guess they did a pretty good job, though perhaps they should have done it when they first moved to Scranton. Better the RailRiders than the Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Porcupines, Trolley Frogs or Fireflies.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cingrani's rapid rise

Tony Cingrani (photo by Chris Nelson) has an interview with Tony Cingrani.

He says he wants to be a starter. I wonder if that's what the Reds have in mind. They added him to the roster when they didn't have to. I'd guess they think he's ready. But he's probably not ready to start in the big leagues. Which suggests they plan to use him as a reliever.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, November 09, 2012

Hot Stove Deadlines

Paul Janish at the dugout rail

Some key deadlines are looming. November 20 is the date when teams must set their rosters for the Rule 5 draft. November 30 is the non-tender deadline, and December 3 is the last day teams can outright players off the roster before the Rule 5 draft.

I wonder what the Braves are planning to do with Paul Janish. Their 40-man roster stands at 30, so even if they have a lot of prospects to protect and a lot of free agents to sign, they probably don't need his roster spot right away. But there's still the nontender deadline.

MLBTR thinks Janish will get $900,000 if they keep him, but that he's a nontender candidate. (They said that last year, too, but he was tendered a contract.) He's more expensive this year, though, and the Braves have a tight budget. Plus, there's the shoulder injury. He won't be ready to play by spring training. And he's out of options, so they can't stash him in AAA as the Reds did.

Tomahawk Take thinks the Braves should keep Janish, and that seems to reflect the general view of fans.

The expectations were that Janish would be cheap, a great stop-gap defensive player and an offensive liability. He played basically exactly to expectation. In 55 games with the Braves, he hit .186/.269/.234. Despite his terrible offensive numbers, Janish had a below average K rate and an above average BB rate. He limited his GB% to 38.1% and hit line drives about a quarter of the time. Nevertheless, the quality of his balls in play was poor. His average on line drives was a .606 and on grounders was .137, which were over a hundred points below the league. The killer was his .080 avg on fly balls, of which 22% were in field pop outs, suggesting that his contact was quite poor.

Nevertheless, his defensive prowess more than made up for his lack of offense. He minimized the defensive dropoff from Simmons being out. His range may not have been as good, but he was as sure-gloved as they come. He made almost no mistakes. Moreover, the Braves didn’t have to start Pastornicky at shortstop again after that. The numbers don’t quite bare this one out (DRS = 4,UZR = 2.3, TZ = 11) but anyone who saw him play consistently will tell you the same thing: he was very good.

He thinks Janish would be a solid and still cheap backup to Andrelton Simmons, and that Tyler Pastornicky should spend a bit more time in the minors.

The batting analysis is interesting, and pretty much what the eyeball test tells you. Janish walks and doesn't strike out, but he doesn't hit the ball very hard. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that over the past couple of years, he's hit more groundballs and a lot fewer fly balls than in his first three years. Maybe he's trying to level out his swing, and hit more line drives and fewer of those dratted infield popups? That sharp drop in fly balls probably explains why he's hit no home runs the past two seasons.

I wonder if he might be better off swinging earlier and harder. That would probably mean more strikeouts and fewer walks, but it might be worth it if it lets him hit the ball harder.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Six Year Minor League Free Agents

So, I was looking through the minor league free agent list. The most surprising name on it (at least to me): Aaron Guiel. Yes, that Aaron Guiel. One time Yankee, who last I heard was in Japan, playing for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (and was something of a star there, as I understand it).

Apparently, he came back and signed a minor league deal with the Royals, though he doesn't seem to have actually played in any games. He's 40 years old now.

Other one-time Yankees on the list:

Brett Tomko, released by the Reds, then signed by the Diamondbacks.

Speedy outfielder Greg Golson, who was with the White Sox.

Lance Pendleton, Yankees fourth round draft pick, who spent this season with the Tampa Rays AAA team.

Andrew Brackman, Yankees first round draft pick, is also a minor league free agent now. I really think getting a major league contract right away was bad for his development. The Yankees were forced to release him, because he was out of options but not ready for the big leagues. A Cincinnati boy, he signed with the Reds, but struggled so much in AAA they ended up sending him down to high A. Where he put up a 5.52 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

And among the Toronto Blue Jays minor league free agents is on Paul Phillips. That's Andy Phillips' first cousin. After 14 years in pro baseball, he's calling it a career. He's following Andy's footsteps and becoming a college coach, though it will be at Lipscomb University, not Alabama.

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posted by BubbaFan, 6:38 PM | link | 0 comments |