Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

On Comes Cashner

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 31, 2010

Aramis Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez explains his philosophy of making in-season adjustments and working hard to overcome adversity.

I don’t quite think that “easing him in” as a younger player, as Lou more or less put it, includes multiple men on with two out and a 1-run deficit in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Yet big righty Andrew Cashner has the good fortune of facing Ronny Cedeno, who for some reason decides to swing away on the kid’s first pitch as a major leaguer.  Pop-up to short, threat over.

On to a 9th inning with Soriano, Soto Colvin, and Castro scheduled to hit.  A strikeout well-earned by Dotel, a sawed-off pop by pinch hitter Colvin that couldn’t find a hole, a lucky flare by Castro, and another strikeout against Theriot, overmatched by anyone and everyone in the midst of his slump.  Dotel has been especially tough on the Cubs this year.

An interesting and painful game to watch.  Randy Wells came back and threw 5 solid innings after an awful Friday against the Cardinals.  Bob Howry had a pretty decent inning again.  Jeff Stevens and Andrew Cashner each got the one out that was asked of them.  Today, it was the often-solid lefties James Russell and Sean Marshall who couldn’t hold back Pittsburgh.  But it’s hardly fair to give James Russell or Sean Marshall the brunt of the blame for this game.

The blame goes to the offense.  One run on FOUR hits (Soriano’s triple in the 2nd; Fukudome’s infield single in the 3rd; Soto’s single in the 4th; and Castro’s single in the 9th).  Fukudome, Byrd, and Lee each drew a walk.  Randy Wells reached on an error on the hardest hit ball by a Cub in this game.

If Aramis Ramirez wasn’t just standing around holding his cock (see inset above) instead of hitting the baseball, the Cubs probably would be .500 or above instead of 4 games below at the end of May.  I do have numbers to back me up.  Specifically, I’m looking at Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. Now, a Replacement-level player at 3B is essentially a backup/fill-in type, as opposed to a truly marginal major leaguer. In 2009, Greg Dobbs had a +0.1 WAR and Brendan Harris had a -0.1 WAR, so that’s “replacement-level,” essentially.  They suck for the most part, but you understand that they can hang on to an MLB roster spot.

From 2004 through 2008, Aramis’ annual WAR stats were 4.8, 4.1, 4.5, 5.3 and 4.7. In 2009, in only 82 games, his WAR was 2.6. So far in 2010, Aramis Ramirez already has a WAR of -1.1 through 42 games played and 51 team games.

So Ramirez, despite his injuries, has comfortably been worth about 4.5 wins above a replacement-level player, while this year has already cost the Cubs 1 win compared to even Chad Tracy (+0.1 WAR). He’s on pace to be worth a 7- or 8-win swing for a full season.  And I mean that in a negative sense.
I’ve generally been patient so far this year.  I’ve understood the team’s unpopular experiments, even if I thought they were odd.  But time is running out.  Cincinnati has Volquez and Chapman at Triple A to bolster their staffs.  St. Louis may or may not be in the market for some upgrades.  And outside of Houston, Milwaukee, Arizona and Pittsburgh, there isn’t a single “Bad” baseball team in the National League.  This is going to be a rough and tumble season for a good while longer.  It’s time to stop being patient.  If Aramis won’t get his proverbial hand out of his pants, then he needs to make his way to the DL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: