Vlad joins the 400-homer club

Leave a comment

This season has mostly been a forgettable one for Vladimir Guerrero, who’s posting career-worst numbers at the plate and has missed 57 of 110 games with various injuries. However, he’s been on fire since returning from the disabled list last week, raising his OPS by 60 points in just seven games, and hit a pair of long balls last night to join the 400-homer club.
Guerrero is two-thirds of the way into his age-34 season and his 400 homers rank 24th all time through the age of 34, putting him in striking distance of Ernie Banks (404), Carlos Delgado (407), and Reggie Jackson (410). Alex Rodriguez is the leader in homers through age 34 with 574, which is amazing given that he’s only 33 years old. He has another 200 or so games to increase his lead over Sammy Sosa (539), Jimmie Foxx (527), Babe Ruth (516), Hank Aaron (510), and Willie Mays (505).
Much has been made of the 500-homer milestone losing its luster as power numbers exploded in recent years, but Guerrero is a good example of why going deep 500 times is still really, really hard. He’s been in the majors since the age of 22, has played in over 90 percent of his team’s games, produced at least 25 homers each season from 1998 to 2008, ranked among the league’s top 10 in homers seven times … and still has “only” 400 with six weeks remaining in his age-34 season.
Guerrero may seem like a pretty safe bet to smack another 100 homers, but then again he has just eight this season, appears to be deteriorating physically, turns 35 years old in February, and hasn’t homered 30 times since 2006. Can he bounce back with 25 homers next season and then go deep another 25 times in 2011 and 2012? If so, he’ll still need 20-25 homers as a 38-year-old in 2013. Five-hundred remains a very big number.

Matt Carpenter suspended one game for bumping umpire

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
2 Comments

Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter has been suspended one game for bumping home plate umpire John Tumpane when he didn’t like a called strike three in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Brewers. Manager Mike Matheny was also ejected along with Carpenter.

Carpenter will serve his suspension Tuesday night, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Through his first 69 nice plate appearances this season, Carpenter is hitting .236/.362/.364 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.

Dave Stewart says Diamondbacks’ early success is proof he was good as GM

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
10 Comments

After the completion of the 2016 regular season, the Diamondbacks fired then-GM Dave Stewart and then-manager Chip Hale. Stewart acted as GM for two seasons. His most controversial move occurred in December 2015 when he acquired pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier in exchange for outfielder Ender Inciarte and prospects Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair. After his firing, Stewart blamed his superiors for the trade and said his gut was telling him not to make the trade.

The D-Backs are now led by new GM Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo. The club had a relatively quiet offseason, as its biggest acquisitions were Taijuan Walker and Fernando Rodney. Defying expectations, though, the Diamondbacks enter Tuesday night’s action with a 13-8 record, just a game and a half behind the first-place Rockies. Stewart spoke to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports and said that the D’Backs’ success shows that he knew what he was doing all along.

This means a lot to me because this is the same team, or very close to the one that I put on the field. So basically all of those guys and baseball analysts who said I didn’t know what I was doing, it showed I knew exactly what I was doing.

Everybody was just beat up and not living up to expectations. So all of a sudden, it’s my fault. Well, it’s not my fault. I couldn’t prevent injuries or jump in their bodies to make them pitch better in the starting rotation. We put the right people on the field. So I don’t think anybody should be surprised how well those kids are playing. They’re healthy now. I knew this was going to happen.

Everyone should have seen it coming.

Not to rain on Stewart’s parade, but the Diamondbacks are five games over .500 in a relatively tiny 21-game sample size. Had his team valued analytics during his tenure, he might have known that. Additionally, few of the players performing well for the team right now are players Stewart himself was responsible for bringing to Arizona. Furthermore, the team’s success doesn’t retroactively justify what he gave up for Miller nor does it justify practically giving away Touki Toussaint and signing a 32-year-old Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract.

During and after his tumultuous tenure with the D-Backs, Stewart has appeared very insecure. When he was fired, he quipped, “Quite frankly, I’ve got better things to do.” He appeared on MLB Network Radio in February to deflect any blame directed at him for the team’s failure. And then there’s his most recent quotes in which he heaps praise on himself for the team’s success.

Stewart was an All-Star starter who finished in the top-three in AL Cy Young Award voting three times in his career. He’s understandably competitive and has probably built up a very strong distaste for failure. Sometimes, though, one has to make peace with the fact that things didn’t go one’s way. Stewart simply appears to be tilting at windmills to protect his ego.