Milwaukee released Scott Schoeneweis today after signing him to a minor-league contract about six weeks ago and the veteran left-hander had some harsh words on his way out the door:
The only regret I have is that I wasted a month of my time. I didn’t have a chance to make the team. That’s what I learned today. I’m a big league pitcher and I shouldn’t have to prove anything. This will be my 12th year in the big leagues and I wasn’t injured, I wasn’t out of the game because my skills diminished. … It’s just ironic that I can’t get a job because my wife died. It doesn’t make much sense to me.
Schoeneweis has no doubt had a very rough time since his wife passed away from an overdose of cocaine and lidocaine last May–and I’m certainly not here to pick on him–but I’m sure the Brewers would vehemently deny that had anything to do with his release.
He was brought in to compete for a middle-relief job after posting a 7.12 ERA last season, and while there’s a tragic explanation for those struggles at 36 years old he certainly did have to prove himself again. Instead he continued to struggle this spring and the Brewers apparently felt like they had better (or younger) options given that his upside is a left-handed specialist.
I don’t blame Schoeneweis for being frustrated, on several different levels, but the Brewers signed a 36-year-old pitcher coming off a poor season to a minor-league contract and deciding that he’s not one of their dozen best options for Opening Day shouldn’t come as a huge shock. He turned down the chance to accept an assignment to Triple-A, but seems unlikely to land a major-league offer at this point.
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.
I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.
Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.
All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?
Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.
Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.
Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.