Reds discuss deal for Rolen, for some reason

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Okay, so imagine yourself as the general manager of a team that is
currently seven games out of the division lead (behind four other
teams) and eight-and-a-half games out of the wild card (behind eight
other teams). Might be time to wise up and cut bait on expensive
veterans, right? Not if you are Reds general manager Walt Jocketty.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Reds are discussing a trade for third baseman Scott Rolen:

The Reds, who have lost five straight games, are widely expected to
sell at the deadline. But acquiring Rolen would give the team a head
start on planning for 2010, since Rolen is already under contract for
next year at $11 million.

The sides are still trying to determine which players would head to
Toronto in the deal, but the source said that third baseman Edwin
Encarnacion would be included.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Reds would be better
off with Edwin Encarnacion manning third base. They wouldn’t. He’s
awful over there. One of the worst in the sport, even. And Rolen has
been a great comeback story this season, putting together an awesome
.316/.371/.467 line. But why take the $11 million risk for a player in
his mid-30s, who isn’t the Gold Glover he used to be, and with a
well-documented injury history to boot? Well, Jocketty is a fan of
Rolen from their days together in St. Louis; the veteran third baseman
fits the bill as the righty bat the Reds have been seeking.

Wouldn’t you know it, Encarnacion is also right-handed and under the
organization’s control through 2012. He will make just $4.7 million in
2010. If the Reds are truly that unhappy with Encarnacion’s defense,
they would be better served to move him to a corner outfield spot. They
shouldn’t give up on a relatively inexpensive 26-year-old with real
30-homer potential who is showing some tangible progress in his
approach (15.7% walk rate this season) at the plate.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.