This is a weekly blog that I will be doing every Monday, like the title says. Lets start this blog out talking about the worst closer in the American League - that's right, Todd Jones.
Jones lost his closer job Sunday afternoon and it was about time. Two nights before that, Jones blew a 1-run lead in the ninth inning. He was one strike away from closing it up but then Carlos Quentin got a hit to rightfield which allowed to keep the inning going for Jermaine Dye. Jones started Dye out with two fastballs out of the zone. He threw an 2-0 fastball right down the middle and as you can imagine, Dye clobbered it. Jones was basically telling Dye "Hey, see if you can hit this one!" He did and the game went to the bottom of the ninth and the Tigers got out 1-2-3. The other problem Jones has - he stinks. Opponents have hit over .350 against him since the beginning of June which is just terrible for a closer. Closers rest up until the ninth inning and just pitch one inning so they should have all of their best stuff with them - wrong. Jones has only struck one batter out in his last 11 innings and has blown three saves in his last 12 opportunities. To make it worse, Jones walks more people than he strikes out and has an ERA just shy of 5 at 4.99. Former set-up man Fernando Rodney will be the full time closer now. He got off to a disasterous start when he came of the DL and pitched the first time of the season. After two outings, his ERA was over 100. He has settled down and has lowered his ERA to 5.17. In the ninth inning yesterday, he struck out the side. It's been a long time since I have seen a strikeout from a closer in a Tiger's uniform, let alone three in one game. See ya Jones, the Tigers still have to pay him $6 million this year anyways.
Manny Ramirez is up to his old tricks again. You probably know the story by now and everybody in Boston hates him - his manager, his teamates, Red Sox management and all the fans. Not many people like him outside of Boston either. Fans have held up sign with sayings such as "Too "Manny" Problems" or "Get Rid of Manny". He has dared the Red Sox to trade him saying that the Red Sox will try to make a move but they won't end up making one. That's pretty much saying "I packed my bags, send me where ever". I would expect to see him riding the pine for quite a while and he possibly will get traded. If anywhere, he'll get traded to the National League - the Red Sox don't want him to burn them later in the season. Manny does fantastic against the Yankees - isn't that a good reason to keep him? Well, Manny is Manny and he'll always be shooting his mouth of brainlessly.
Jason Varitek is hitting .182 since the All-Star Break - can we now say that he is officially one of the worst All-Stars ever? I know that Terry Francona was the manager but could he have really been that stupid?
Here are Three reasons why Varitek should not have made the All-Star Game.
1. Varitek's average this season is .216. The last time I saw an All-Star hitting .216 was . . . never. You didn't see Ryan Howard make the All-Star team with his .230 average even though he led the league in home runs. Varitek isn't even close to the league leaders in home runs. Pudge Rodriguez (hitting .298) and Gerald Laird (hitting .316) were both snubbed. Varitek must have been good in the clutch - wrong. He is hitting .179 with runners in scoring position this year.
2. Varitek has been terrible at defense this season. Varitek has caught 11 out of the 54 runners that have attempted to steal to bring his CS percentage to a grand total of 20%. He also doesn't seem like he is the captain of the pitching staff as he used to in the years before.
3. Varitek has had poor leadership. When everything else fails like your hitting and your defense, you have to turn to leadership to find out what is really up. We've ran into a wall here because Varitek has no leadership anymore - his team is in second place and most of their wins have been a big part of J.D. Drew, Dice-K Matsuzaka and Manny Ramirez. Really, why did he make the All-Star Game?
Last story of the blog - the Yankees interest in Jarrod Washburn. Washburn is a Mariner's starting pitcher and has a team option for $13 million next year. The Yankees have only offered the Mariners minimal, average skilled prospects because they know that even if this trade doesn't happen, the Mariners will have to get rid of Washburn anyways in the off-season becuase they don't have the money to keep him. The Yankees hope the M's will bite and they probably will - they can either get rid of Washburn now and actually get something for him or they can get rid off him later and get nothing for him. Either way, the Yankees will probably be getting him one way or another. Seattle is already out of contention anyways so why not go for this trade?