Matthew Pouliot

Livan Hernandez

Eye on 200 wins, Livan Hernandez intends to keep pitching

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Although he lost his fastball years ago and was unable to find a rotation spot last season, free agent Livan Hernandez wants to keep on pitching in 2013.

So, yeah, 200 is a big long shot for the “37-year-old” right-hander. Hernandez spent 2012 as a reliever for the Braves and Brewers and finished with a 6.42 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds; he gave up 11 of his 31 runs in his last two appearances, both of which came following long layoffs in September. Still, even throwing that out, he was a mop-up man with a 5.05 ERA. At least he did go 4-1.

Hernandez is currently sixth on the active wins list. The current leader, Jamie Moyer (269), is likewise iffy to get a job next year, while No. 2 on the list, Andy Pettitte (245), has already retired and come back. The only righties ahead of Hernandez are Roy Halladay (199) and Tim Hudson (197). CC Sabathia (191) is in fifth place.

Andruw Jones still a far better player than Terence Moore is a writer

Terence Moore
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MLB.com should be ashamed to have published such a hack job.

Former Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Terence Moore takes on Andruw Jones today as only he can:

The bottom line: Jones is only assured of joining the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame of Disappointment.

The majority of Jones’ lowlights came later.

With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel, where have you gone, Andruw Jones, and how did you lose your way to Cooperstown?

Not only was Jones supposed to waltz from Yankee Stadium in October 1996 to the Hall of Fame, he was supposed to do so as a lifetime member of the Braves.

Sad. Really sad.

And I thought I was obsessed with the Hall of Fame.

Honestly, that’s mostly what there is to it. There’s certainly nothing new there, unless you want to see a John Smoltz quote saying Jones had “it!”. Moore even regurgitates the story about the one time in 17 years Jones was benched for not hustling to catch a flyball. There’s no insight at all; nothing into what caused Jones’ inconsistency or early-30s swoon. Really, the whole article is a lesson into what one could do with access to a baseball player’s wikipedia page and an intro to writing course. There’s certainly nothing there that suggests Moore actually covered Jones for the bulk of his career.

And that’s what really makes this pathetic. Moore should have all of the artillery necessary to bash Jones if there’s anything there to bash. The only real takeaway from the column is that Moore expected Jones to hit 500 homers and become a first-ballot Hall of Famer and he’s taking it personally that it didn’t happen.

Sad. Really sad.

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Actually, this is even worse than I originally thought. It turns out Moore’s column today is essentially a rewriting of Moore’s Jan. 4, 2012 column on Jones. And barely rewritten. He’s even got the same Simon & Garfunkel line in there, and he ends the previous piece with a “How sad,” as opposed to today’s “Sad. Really sad.”

Indians add Scott Kazmir on minor league deal

Scott Kazmir
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The bidding war wasn’t enough to get Scott Kazmir a major league contract, but there was considerable interest in the left-hander after a fine month in Puerto Rico and the Indians signed him to a minor league deal on Friday, according to The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes

Kazmir was 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA for Carolina in Puerto Rico, but it came with a nice 27/8 K/BB ratio and just one homer allowed in 22 2/3 innings.

The soon-to-be 29-year-old Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the majors since getting lit up by the Royals on April 3, 2011. The Angels quickly stashed him on the DL, and he went 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA in Triple-A before receiving his release. He opened 2012 out of baseball, only to later sign with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and go 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA in 14 starts.

Kazmir figures to open 2013 in the rotation at Triple-A, but the Indians won’t keep him there long if he impresses. If he’s recovered some of his lost velocity, he could help at the back of the rotation.

Ryan Klesko was better than you remember

Ryan Klesko outdoorsman
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The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff ran down every player on the Hall of Fame ballot in his column today, but this is all he had to say about Ryan Klesko:

A name we remember from the ‘90s Braves run, but not for anything in particular he did. He was a solid outfielder. No.

That’s about a quarter of the writeup that Jeff Conine, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Sele received. Only Todd Walker got shorter shrift.

ESPN’s Jim Caple did something similar, though his column, as typical, was as much humor as baseball. Even so, Klesko got the shortest writeup, or at least tied with Jeff Cirillo:

Yes, he belongs on the ballot. After all, he was a one-time All-Star and a third-place rookie of the year finalist!

So, I think Klesko deserves better. One-time All-Star hardly does him justice.

A part-time player initially, Klesko nonetheless had a .907 OPS in 92 games in 1994 and a 1.004 OPS in 107 games in 1995 (both strike-shortened years). In the 11 years from 1994-2003, he never once finished with an OPS under .800. He topped .900 six times. And he did it while typically playing in pitcher’s parks.

143 players have had at least 6,000 plate appearances since 1990. Their OPS+s ranged from 195 (Barry Bonds) to 75 (Brad Ausmus). Klesko comes in 34th on that list at 128, placing him right there with Bobby Abreu, David Justice, John Olerud and Sammy Sosa (all 129) and Moises Alou, Ellis Burks and Tim Salmon (all 128). That’s not quite Hall of Fame territory, but it certainly makes for a heck of a career.

And as for doing nothing memorable, well, you know, he did homer in three straight World Series games for the 1995 Braves in their lone championship in the last 50 years.

So, no, Klesko isn’t a Hall of Famer or anything particularly close. But for 11 years, he was one of the NL’s top threats against right-handed pitching and a guy who typically hit third or fifth for six postseason teams. I think that’s worth a few sentences.

Former major leaguer Frank Pastore dies after four weeks in coma

Frank Pastore
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Former Reds pitcher Frank Pastore, who was injured in a car accident on Nov. 19, passed away Monday afternoon after four weeks in a coma.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported last month that Pastore was driving a motorcycle when he was struck by a car. The driver of the car had lost control, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Aaron Knarr, and hit Pastore’s Honda Shadow in the car pool lane. The driver of the car wasn’t hurt and was not intoxicated.

Pastore, 55, went 48-58 with a 4.29 ERA in an eight-year major league career that spanned 1979-86. He spent his first seven years with the Reds before finishing out his career as a reliever for the Twins. He had his best year in 1980, going 13-7 with a 3.27 ERA and a 110/42 K/BB ratio in 184 2/3 innings. Before the accident, he hosted a Christian radio show on KKLA in Los Angeles.