August 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Injuries, Pitching, Transaction Analysis
First of all, before I do transaction analysis, I want to comment on something I saw on ESPN or one of the affiliates. The little-league World Series semi-final game between Chinese Taipei and Curaçao was on and I stopped by to watch the beginning. I really like watching it, actually. But part of the broadcast simultaneously amused me and disturbed me. Well, I don’t know if it was the broadcast or not that disturbed me, but they invoked it if they didn’t, so they’re responsible.
They were having each member of the team say, “Hi, my name is ______ and my favorite baseball player is _________”. I didn’t see the Curaçao team attempt this, but I did see the Chinese team do so. First of all, what sort of made me feel weird is they made the kids (remember, these kids are 12, 13, and 14 years old) do so in English. Why? This is not a professional league. It’s comparable to the Olympics. If the Olympics were in Paris and an American won the 100-meter dash (picking something easily understandable and not significant, boy I’m subtle today) and the Olympic officials made the American athlete give his victory speech in French, you’d probably be furious. Now, if an American basketball player was playing in a French professional league, that’s different. Point is, I thought it was inappropriate that they would even think to make the children try to speak English for the purposes of the telecast*.
*Of course, let’s not rule out the possibility that the Chinese government themselves forced the children to speak English on the telecast. I don’t know why they would, I just know that if they thought they could benefit from doing so, they certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity. So, when this piece is done, remember this is also a possibility. But for now, let’s assume it was ESPN’s doing.
And then you get to the pronunciations. They were naturally very bad at speaking English. Some better than others, though it all pretty much sounded like, “Herro, me naah ess ______, aah me favorit-ah bas-uh-barr pray-er ess (and 90% of them were the following, which I sort of found suspicious, though it’s admirable to admire your national star, so I reserved judgment from the fact that most of their favorite player was) Chien-Ming Wang”. But I don’t think any of them would have been capable of carrying on a conversation in English. It’s handing you a piece of paper written in Russian when you’re 12 years old and asking you to read it. Of course you’re going to sound like a fool.
As the telecast went on, and it was for an uncomfortably long amount of time, I ceased being amused and began feeling somewhat angry at the fact someone would subject a 12-year old kid to this sort of embarrassment. I was thinking about how many people I know that would be laughing their rear off had they been watching this. I don’t usually try to get worked into the whole racism issue, but this seemed borderline–if not completely and without subtelty–racist.
Just shame on whoever made them do this. It was not only tasteless and ignorant, it was fucking stupid.
OK, back to transaction analysis. I don’t exactly know how this space evolved to me being serious about non-baseball things like the racism thing and joking around when it comes to transaction analysis. I’m pretty sure Law and Neyer didn’t get their start in sports writing that way. Oh well.
Optioned RHP Manny Acosta to Class-AAA Gwinnett. Recalled RHP Buddy Carlyle from Class-AAA Gwinnett.
A straight 1-for-1 swap of Acosta and Carlyle. I don’t know why the Braves chose to go with Boone Logan over Acosta. They both kind of suck and Logan has close to a year more service time than Acosta. They’ll both be out of options next year anyway, so it most likely doesn’t matter. I guess Bobby wants 3 lefties in his bullpen. I’m excited to see Buddy Carlyle back with the big club. He had a really good 2008 season that saw him win Fangraphs’ imaginary Mop-Up Man Of The Year award. He has since been diagnosed with Diabetes, and I love Diabetes success stories (see the link). At least it’s nice to know that there’s another semi-useful reliever stashed away in AAA. Whether he comes in as a September call-up or takes Carlyle’s place if he falters, you know you’ve got someone who kind of sucks but can play mop-up man there. Who isn’t Blaine Boyer. I suspect he’ll be called up again when he’s eligible (10 days) given the fact that the rosters expand soon*.
*Can you believe we’re already at roster-expansion?
Named Tim Hudson as Starting Pitcher for game Monday, August 31 against the Marlins.
This is obviously the more interesting and more impact-ful (made up a word. I think.) move. Hudson will skip his final scheduled rehab start and pitch for the big club again. I don’t know how I feel about this one. He’s obviously physically there if he can pitch in a game, but I don’t think another start in the minors would be devastating for him or the club. And I feel like he needs a bit more polish. Obviously the scouts don’t agree, and they’re right most of the time.
Hudson will assume Kenshin Kawakami’s rotation spot on Monday. The Braves haven’t told us anything about their plans for the rotation beyond Monday. That means destination speculation time. There are a few options here. Number 1 is to go with a 6-man rotation, which I think they will in some capacity. Basically, Kawakami is being skipped this time, so says Carrol Rogers:
Bobby said yes they considered a six-man rotation and no they will not pitch Kawakami out of the bullpen. And he said yes, Kawakami will start again. But they’ve got flexibility here in five days when rosters expand.
I’m curious as to what the corresponding roster move will be. The Braves are probably activating Hudson on Monday so he’ll be eligible for the post-season should they make it. This means at least a few roster moves will need to be made on Monday. First, someone has to get off of the 40-man roster for Hudson as he’s on the 60-day DL. Secondly, someone (and not necessarily the same person) has to get off of the 25-man roster for Hudson. McLouth is also eligible to come off the DL that day, so I imagine he will. Well, I’d do it differently. I’d designate Reid Gorecki for assignment on the 31st, keep McLouth inactive, and activate Tim Hudson. Clears a 25-man and a 40-man spot for him. Then, you can just call up McLouth on the 1st and everybody’s happy! Well, we’ll see what happens. Going with three true outfielders could be dangerous, considering Church’s injury history and the defensive brilliance of ACHE, Diaz, Infante, and–dare I say–Greg Norton. But with Infante’s ability to play all 3 OF positions, I think it would be OK to go with that roster for 1 day. Otherwise, you have to do something unfuckingnecessary to clear a roster space for McLouth and Hudson. We’ll see. I assume the Braves will take the latter route and clear a space for both players.
So that will be interesting to see. But for now, I assume the Braves will be going with a line-up of McLouth, Prado, Chipper, McCann, ACHE, Escobar, LaRoche, Church/Diaz for the rest of the year. And they’ll be doing some sort of weird rotation that involves Hudson, Kawakami, Hanson, Jurrjens, Vazquez, and that other guy.
Good move to get Hudson on the roster before Sept 1. We’ll see how they handle the massive activation and designation event on Monday. It’ll be interesting.