Mo Money, Mo Bigga Problems

In the real world, you reward your most efficient and productive performers with promotions and pay raises. Ok, that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work, and except for nepotism and other more nefarious -isms, it works fairly well.

Why is it back-asswards in baseball?

Why do the pitchers that do the real grunt work (keeping games close, working with runners on base in high leverage situations) get nothing, while glorified pretty boys that pitch in relative comfort and ease get the cash money?

You can make a great argument that pitching in the 8th or 9th when you are down just one run impacts a team more than pitching with a two or three run lead in the ninth, especially if you inherit runners in the former and breeze into the latter with 6-7-8 coming to the dish.

But just because managers mangle their bullpens for a stat (that really is kind of meaningless unless you combine it with holds and add leverage to it) doesn’t mean you have to reward it, and then mangle your bullpens to save a pitcher for a situation that won’t occur but instead allow replacement level pitchers to decide games.

Oh, it makes me mad. But again, I root out inefficiencies for a living. Baseball bullpen usage, currently, is probably as inefficient of a process as any I’ve encountered.

“Hey Vinnie….”

“We gotta get a lot of White Out. This guy changed his name…”

“No, really, he did! To Giancarlo.”

“WTF do I know? Just get Staples on the phone for about 1,000 cases of White Out…stat!”

Mason Tobin – 2011 Topps

February 26, 2012

Did He Get A Playoff Share Too?

Was just filing and re-arranging my doubles and I came across Mr. Tobin.

I’ll have to admit, he was a cipher to me.

Topps snagged him for a Series 2 base card when he made the Rangers out of spring training. You can tell that’s a spring training shot by the hat (those loathsome hats…).

The back of the card doesn’t offer much help. He was purchased by the Rangers from the Cubs after the Northsiders snagged him in the Rule V draft from the Angels. He didn’t play in 2010 and the card said he had Tommy John’s surgery (as Dr. James Andrews puts it) and three years of physical restrictions before the draft.

Talk about a wing and a prayer…but that’s Rule V.

Tobin (he of two last names, make it three since his middle name is Reed) had a rough go of it in the Texas bullpen. He appeared in four April games, giving up five hits, five walks and five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t whiff anyone, either, so I guess big league hitters weren’t exactly fooled by his stuff.

(Side note: I first thought of Dave Tobik when I saw his name, then seeing his first and middle name I also thought of Mike Mason and Ron Reed. Then I thought of Tobin Sprout, who was Robin to Robert Pollard’s Batman in the early-to-middle days of Guided By Voices. And now I just thought of ye olde QB Tobin Rote. Wow, my brain is a scramble of sports and pop-culture tonight…)

Looking at his minor league stats, he definitely was on ‘restricted duty’ after being drafted in the 16th round by the Angels in 2007.

He roared through the Arizona League and then pitched well in the Pioneer League. He threw 56 1/3 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 55 whiffs. That was the most he’s ever pitched as a pro.

In 2008 he threw 37 1/3 innings for Cedar Rapids before shutting down.

In 2009 he threw 2 2/3 innings (two hits, two walks, four unearned runs) for Rancho Cucamonga. Total.

He didn’t pitch in 2010, as stated before.

And it turns out, those 5 1/3 innings were all that he threw in 2011 before going on the 60-day DL. The Rangers outrighted him in November after the Angels decided to let the Rangers keep him.

But he got a card in the base Topps set and he was ‘part’ of the Rangers WS team, even though in pro ball he’s thrown only 101 2/3 innings.

And he went through another TJ surgery to boot! I wonder if he got a two-for-one deal?




By Any Name, He Was A Stat Collector

Juan Oviedio, a/k/a Leo Nunez, was the former Marlins’ closer. Now they have Heath Bell, and Oviedo will get about six million to pitch in probably more crucial situations than entering in the ninth inning with the bases empty.

Will be up for it?

In his career, he’s let 38% of his inherited runners score, including 55% of those runners in 2008 when he was a set up man for Kansas City.

So if there’s a question, it’s how Oviedo will handle his new role.

It’s not about his name, or what his name was. Guys like Oviedo and the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona aren’t public enemy #1. They were just trying to get out of the Dominican and into baseball. You can’t really blame someone for trying.

So good luck, Mr. Oviedo.

BTW, I received this card from Ryan at Oh No! I also received a metric boatload of cards from Scott Crawford. And I mean a metric boatload! My want lists are being updated as we speak and I’m going to send out the new spreadsheets to others very soon!

Brian Wilson – 2011 Topps

November 3, 2011

“Cabin Essence Timely Hello”

Yes, this is a baseball card blog. And yes, this is a baseball card.

Brian Wilson, you know, he’s a ninja or something or other with tacos.

He’s also another nutty relief pitcher. I think pitchers, especially relief pitchers, are very much candidates to be nutballs.

Much like auteurs.

Like Brian Wilson, genius musician.

SMiLE came out, finally. The story is, well, too complicated to get into on a simple blog. But to be concise. Wilson wanted to top “Pet Sounds”, and add on to the legacy of “Good Vibrations”. The album never got finished, but some of the sessions were released, and some of the other songs were re-done (in inferior fashion). I had a bootleg of the sessions and there was a lot of potential, though unrealized and probably over-ambitious.

Anyway, the quote at the top is from my favorite track “Cabin Essence” (or “Cabinessence” as it appeared on the “20/20” album in 1969. They needed that track to fill out an album, though I don’t think Wilson approved.)

“Cabin Essence” is not a typical Beach Boys song. It’s all about the production and the arrangements. When you listen to it, it’s best to listen with headphones as loud as you can so you can hear everything.

Anyway, here’s to SMiLE. And nutballs in every profession.



Gint-A-Cuff pack five. More coming soon!

270 – Kevin Youkilis – FAVE – (+4) –  Red Sox – My favorite player. Well, at least right now in this system. More on that below!

216 – Jose Tabata – Pirates

84 – Gregory Infante – White Sox

124 – Chad Billingsley – Dodgers

41 – Carlos Santana – Indians

310 – Matt Kemp – Dodgers – SHORT PRINT + SOMEONE”S FAVE (+4)

WMF6 – Count St. German – World’s Most Mysterious Figures (+3)

HH38 – Andre Etheir – Hometown Heroes (+1)

REVISION : My Lester short print (in pack four) is also a GINTER CODE CARD (+3 added). I grabbed a scan from another place since my scanner is down and I just looked at the card in my binder and it’s very subtle. Please please trust me!

Pack Total – 12

Revision – 3

Running Total – 41

That’s eight points a pack. Is it enough?


Youkilis is my favorite player. Well, since there’s no Pat Neshek here or other quirky dude (Hayhurst would qualify but he’s not pictured as a player so I didn’t choose him). The issue is that my favorite players aren’t necessarily the ones that get in the A&G set.

Other than that, I’m watching Phil Coke hit everyone on the Angels team, so more later…


Round 4 Gint-A-Cuff

I’ll get rolling soon..

Regular Cards:

227 – Lucas (De Camptown Ladies Sing This Song) Duda – Mets

221 – Mark Rogers – Brewers

215 – Andrew McCutchen – Pirates

183 – Mike Napoli – Rangers

320 – John Lester – Red Sox – SHORT PRINT! (+2 SP, +2 someone’s fave)

AOM7 – Chordates (+1)

HH26 – Torii Hunter Hometown Heroes

Mini – 332 – Luke Hochevar – SHORT PRINT (+3)

Pack Total – 9

Running Total – 26


Duda is going to force the Mets hand soon. Either Murphy, Davis or Duda have to go (or two of them…) and they can reap some talent.

Rogers? He’s got the disease of desk jockeys everywhere. CARPAL TUNNEL! Youch!

McCutchen is the one player the Pirates need to keep above anyone else if this season’s good times are to continue.

Napoli is one of the reasons that the Rangers are second in runs scored in the AL. Freed from being an everyday catcher, his bat is blossoming!

Lester is a bonafide ace. Bona fide. Ace.

Hunter’s OBP is down and his whiffs are way up. Next year could be ugly for Torii.

Can Hochevar be a league average pitcher? How sad is it that a #1 overall pick has to scuffle to a 0.0 WAR. I’ll have more on the 2006 draft some year, but the first round was either terrific or awful for everyone.



More Gint-A-Cuff Madness

Time for another pack, and with the scoring system revealed, I’ve updated the past posts as well.

101 – Peter Bourjous – Angels

140 – Felix Hernandez – M’s (+2)

27 – Dillon Gee – Mets. Any relation to Wendell Gee?

173 – Mariano Rivera – Yanks (-1)

22 – Michael Bourn – Astros

345 – Zack Greinke – Brewers (SHORT PRINT!) (+2)

PP4 – Igor – Portraits In Penultimacy Mini (+3)

FF6 – HMS Indefatigable – Floating Fortress Insert (+2)

Pack Total – 8

Running Total – 17


Bourjous is a great outfielder. He has to be to play between Wells and Hunter. What could derail his career is his lack of plate discipline. He’s one to watch.

Hernandez was someone’s favorite player; no big surprise there. The M’s are starting to sink. Their offense is reverting to the total suckitude of last season, and even Ichiro looks toasted (78 OPS+).

Gee looks like he’s going to be a good one. Gee, Davis, Thole, Niese and Beato are a good core for the Mets. Could they be on the upswing again?

Rivera gets a negative for being a Yankee. But maybe there should be dispensation. Besides 1995, his worst ERA+ was 144 (in 2007) and his worst WAR was 1.7 (in 2002). Yikes.

The Astros want to trade Pence. Maybe they should trade Bourn. I think his offense has plateaued and it wasn’t as all that and a bucket of chicken anyway. The Astros need so much help in so many places.

Greinke has a 5.04 ERA, and has given up nine unearned runs. He’s got a negative WAR this year, though hits hits allowed is normal and his K/BB ratio is outstanding. What’s not outstanding is that about 1/2 of his hits allowed are extra base hits. Ouch!

Igor was always underrated. He probably did so much good but not when the camera was watching.

The HMS Indefatigable in this case refers to the first one, commissioned in 1784. That’s a great 18th century name. Pip, pip and all that.

So that’s three down. I gots them all opened and some scored, but I have a busy week again. Patience, of course, will be the key!


Pack 2 Revealed…

Well, I think we’re all waiting for the scoring system. And, I think the haters and nay-sayers are out there. They remind me of a great line spoken by Terry Jones on a Monty Python album on why he wants to remove the gannet from “Olsen’s Standard Book of British Birds”.

“I don’t like them; they wet their nests..”

Anyway,  it’s another meh pack. But things may be looking up later.

Regular Cards:

253 – Mike Minor – Braves

76 – Chase Headley – Padres (Shouldn’t that be Chase Headley, Esq.? or Chase Headley IV?)

5 – Aroldis Chapman – Reds

267 – Brett Sinkbeil – Marlins

158 – Billy Butler – Royals

87 – Colby Lewis – Rangers


296 – Derek Lowe – Braves – A&G BACK! (+2)

HH90 – Ryan Howard – Hometown Heroes (+1)

Score: 3

Running Score: 9

Notes: Yeah, it’s meh. But you take the good with the bad, and there are some stories here.

Minor  – Remember Maddux / Smoltz / Glavine / Avery / Pete Smith? Yeah, the Braves are about ready to meet or exceed that. Hudson and Lowe will be expendable sooner or later. But if the Braves can keep Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy, Minor, Tehran and / or Delgado healthy and on point, and in the organization, that’s going to be a formidable staff for years to come.

Headley – The only offensive player of note for the Padres also has one of the most stilted names out there. Chase Headley sounds like one of Neidermeyer’s minions. I don’t know what’s more amazing – that Harang is 7-2 with that group of offensive schmos or that Latos, Moseley, Richard and Stauffer haven’t strangled their teammates.

Chapman – Based on their runs scored vs. runs allowed the Reds should be 51-45. Chapman is under-achieving, and can’t throw strikes. Volquez, Wood and Arroyo are not good, bad. And the Reds should petition MLB to switch leagues and have a DH bat for Janish instead of the pitcher.

Sinkbeil – Old man Jack is 15-9 as the Marlins skipper, but that could be mere regression to the mean. Florida is now within striking distance of .500 even after their wretched stretch. And how has Sinkbeil contributed to this. Not at all. He was flat out released by Florida in spring training, yet here he is with an A&G card. I love the set, but I still think Topps’ checklist choices are made by dudes that huffed too many airbrush fumes in the 80’s. He’s now in Class A for the Pirates. Class A? At age 26? Well, he’ll always have this beautiful card.

Butler – The Royals are on to something. If they can keep Butler, Hosmer and Moustakas and learn that guys like Chris Getz can’t play major league baseball, they’ll be fine.

Lewis – Colby Lewis will give you 200 innings of league-average pitching. That’ll do, pitch, that’ll do.

Lowe – I said it here. Watch for falling stock.

Howard – He’s from St. Louis? My girlfriend is in St. Louis right now. Coincidence!

Pack 1 Revealed…

Here we go. I’ll retro-score this, but it ain’t really earth shattering.

Regular Cards:

296 – Derek Lowe – Braves

141 – Vernon Wells – Angels

197 – Jay Bruce – Reds

153 – Scott “Posey Killah” Cousins – Marlins

169 – Dan Haren – Umm…let’s see…Oh, Diamondbacks, right? NO? Oh, the Angels…yeesh.

281 – Adam Lind – Blue Jays

75 – Jose Reyes – Mets – REGULAR MINI

HH34 – Chipper Jones – Hometown Heroes (+1)

A&G Binder Card – 15% off Official Deluxe Binder – Whoop-de-damn-do (right Derek Coleman…)

Score: 1

Running Score: 6

Notes: Overall, it’s kind of a blah way to start the shebang. I’m worried that Reyes will cost me points since he’s a Met.

Originally I mistyped the Hometown Hero card and put in #24 which is Andruw Jones. Chipper’s better though.

Lowe seems to be in serious decline, as in he’s got maybe a season left at most.

Wells also looks like he’s on the decline. But he’s still getting $$$!

Bruce is going to be a star, especially if he gets away from Dusty. He’s got to learn to take a walk or two.

Why did Cousins get a card in this set? He’s 26, and his minor league numbers were quite pedestrian. While he’s not as bad as he is in 2011, the average between 2010 and 2011 seems right, which isn’t A&G worthy. Though he’d get my beloved base card back in the day!

Haren’s been overshadowed by Jered Weaver, but he’s a fine pitcher and was a shrewd acquisition last season by the Angels. What’s better is that he’s been durable.

Lind is having a great season, and of course playing in Toronto in the AL East he’s been overshadowed. The best thing is that he’s found a home at first base, after playing in left field with a skillet and a colander for the past few years.

Well, I’m off to an inauspicious start.