Who the F*** is Jesse Carlson?

September 16, 2009
Get an Icepack on that dome of yours, Carlson.

Get an Icepack on that dome of yours, Carlson.

Tuesday night, the New York Yankees got in a tussle with, of all teams, the Toronto Blue Jays after a couple of errant pitches and a poorly backed up Brett Gardner base hit.  Jorge Posada brushed up against Jays’ reliever Jesse Carlson in the eighth inning, and all hell broke loose.

Lets get down to the details.  Sergio Mitre hit Edwin Encarnacion on the hands, high and tight, in the top of the 6th with a runner on first and nobody out in a 5 to 2 game. He went on to give up a double and his night was done.

Mark Melancon relieved Edwar Ramirez in the 7th and the “its not the arrow, its the archer,” Melancon proceeded to do what he does best, miss the strike zone.  He got out of the 7th, and got two outs in the 8th before hitting Aaron Hill between the numbers.  At this point, Hill was 0 for 4 with a strike out.

A photo of Mark Melancon in his days with Cleveland.

A photo of Mark Melancon in his days with Cleveland.

In his outing, Melancon went 1 1/3 throwing 13 of 23 pitches for strikes.  Of the non-strikes, 2 were wild pitches, one was a passed ball and one plunked Hill in the back.   For the year, Melancon has hit 4 batters in 16 1/3 and walked 10 batters.  That’s a WHIP of right around one if you’re just counting walks and beanings.  So whether or not he hit Hill intentionally is really tough to judge.

With one out the next inning and no one on, Jesse Carlson threw behind Jorge Posada on the first pitch.  Things got chippy and everyone was warned.  It really looked like Carlson wanted to fight there, though.  Posada made a few steps and said something to Carlson, but the lefty kept coming towards the plate as Posada went back to the box.

Benches had their 7th inning stretch, but it looked like your old run of the mill, West Side Story song and dance almost-brawl.  Posada got to second on a Robinson Cano single, and Brett Gardner doubled to right.  Thats when it got ugly.

On a base hit to right field, Carlson really should have made his way behind home plate via the third base-homeplate expressway, by going between home and first instead, and then just chilling in the oncoming runner’s (who happened to be Posada) running lane, Carlson made this situation a bit more fishy.

People are going to make a big deal about Posada extending his arm as he ran by, but it was nothing.  He sort of pushed him off as they brushed up against eachother, and Carlson was relatively unmoved by the contact.  Well physically unmoved, but emotionally, it seemed to get to him, because a second later he was rabid.  Posada was tossed by the homeplate ump right away, and then Carlson initiated madness by yelling and going at Posada, and the Yankees on deck batters, Hip Hip Jorge made quick work of the homeplate umpire and it was on.

Jesse Carlson is a Connecticut kid like myself.  He went to Berlin High School in a nice town not far from the capital of the Nutmeg State.  As a rival in legion ball to Berlin I may be a little biased, as a Yankee fan I may be a little biased as well, but most Connecticut kids do not get much of a chance to fight growing up, and when we get our chance we act like tough guys only to get our heads welted up by people that may have actually grown up fighting.  This leads me to believe that Carlson must have been drunk.

But honestly, Carlson should have let the situation go after he got to yell at the veteran catcher.  When Carlson went and stood right in Posada’s line of sight and path behind home plate, he was asking for the situation to escalate, and he got his wish, and for that he got his head knocked in and most likely a fine and suspension.  At this point, though, the suspension does not hurt the Jays, but losing Posada a few days could still hurt the Yankees.

These two have been recent victims of pitcher started confrontations.

These two have been recent victims of pitcher started confrontations.

The Yankees are up 6 1/2 games on the Sox after tonight’s loss which is a pretty hefty lead this late in the season, but we’ve seen the Mets choke harder.  Both the Yanks and Sox are capable of going on long win streaks, and who knows what a little turmoil can do.  Maybe Carlson, a New England kid, is still pulling for Boston in the division.  I’m quite the baseball conspiracy theorist, and a firm believer in the magic-loogie theory.

Posada was out of line here, too, though.  He has to understand that he can be the bigger guy, and walk away from all this after being walked.  If they do not fight, Posada has all the ammo in the world to hurl at Carlson in the press, but now, Posada will probably be seen as the one in the wrong because everyone out there thinks he threw an elbow.

I liked it better when it was dumb College kids fighting, but its good to know that Toronto is still trying despite being 26 1/2 games out.

Steve Phillips Needs To Stop Talking

July 22, 2009
Steve Phillips is another sportscaster who just doesnt have credibility.

Steve Phillips is another sportscaster who just doesn't have credibility.

So I was just watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN, and the topic of trading for Roy Halladay came up.  Karl Ravich asks Steve Phillips his opinion on the situation.  He proceeds to say that if he was a GM in the game, he would sell the farm for Halladay.  Now I have no problem saying “I’d trade almost anything for him,” because Halladay is among the best pitchers in the majors.  But Phillips didn’t stop there.  He proceeded to name every single top young pitcher in the bigs and offered them to Toronto.

This isn’t shocking, coming from the former New York Mets GM who has a long track record of trading future stars for short-term help.   He obviously doesn’t value prospects, which is fine to an extent, because they are not guaranteed to succeed.  But he didn’t name just prospects.

Steve Phillips named the Dodgers as a team that needs to trade for Doc, offering Clayton Kershaw and others for the Blue Jay’s star.  Another team Phillips feels should trade for Halladay is the Phillies, offering every prospect in their system.  He even said that the Yankees should give Toronto, a division rival, anything they wanted including Phillip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.  He went as far as saying, “if I was the Yankees, I’d pack his bags and drive Joba to the airport.”

My problem with his thinking is that its not practical, and it perfectly showcases the reason he’s the former GM of the Mets.  Consider his Dodgers proposal: trading 21-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.95 ERA, 104k, 1.22 WHIP) for 32-year old Halladay (11-3, 2.73, 113k, 1.07).   We’ll leave out a breakdown the “others” Phillips would give up (Tony Abreau, Blake DeWitt, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp to name players sure to be requested by Toronto).  Let’s just compare the pitchers that would be swapped.  What exactly do the Dodgers gain in this?  Sure, Halladay’s peripheral numbers are slightly better.  But when you consider the cost, both in terms of talent and cash, does this deal make sense?  Halladay is on the hook for the remaining of his $14m+ for this year, and $15.75m for next year, after which he’s free to go as a free agent.  Kershaw, on the other hand, is under team control for another 5 years at very cheap salaries.  Common sense tells us that Kershaw is on the upslope of his promising career, while Halladay is at the top of his game but 11 years older.  How much longer does he have before decline?  Sure, the Dodgers are World Series favorites (along with Philly) in the senior circuit, but does Halladay improve their odds in October?  He’s got the same number of October starts as Kershaw, ZERO.

As Philly is running away with the NL East, do the defending World Series Champs need Halladay?  At the cost of a starting fielder and top prospects Kyle Drabek and Jason Donald?  As is, they are on their way to a deep October run.  Do they mortgage the future hoping that Halladay wins them the title, something that nobody can guarantee?  Do the Yankees, already short on starting pitching, deal Joba and Philthy Hughes (shout out to carebear) for a pitcher with several times more wear on this tires than the two players offered for him?

When we consider Steve Phillips track record on trades of any kind, he loses all credibility.  Let’s take a look:

He traded Carl Everett (MVP candidate 2 years after being traded) for John Hudek (1-4 for the Mets). –> Lose

Sure, when he traded AJ Burnett for Al Leiter, he got 85 wins and 2 playoff appearances, including a World Series           appearance from the old guy.  But Burnett is younger and has won 95 games since then, including a World Series Title.  –> PUSH

Jason Isringhausen (283 saves since) was traded for Billy Taylor, who was 0-1 in 18 Mets appearances with an ERA over 8.0.  — > Lose

Looking for a short-term fix in 2000, Phillips nabbed Mike Bordick for 56 games and a .260 average.  Ironically, he traded a young Melvin Mora, who was hitting .260 at the time of the trade.  Unfortunately for the Mets, Mora has gone on to hit over 150 home runs with a .281 batting average over the past 10 seasons for the Orioles, including a couple of all-star appearances, a Silver Slugger award in ’04, and an MVP candidate in ’04.  Bordick left after his lone season, returning to the Orioles.  –> Lose

In ’02, Phillips gave away Gary Matthews Jr. for John Bale (who?).  ‘Nuff said.  –> Lose

Phillips traded a minor league Jason Bay for middle reliever Steve Reed.  Bay is a top corner outfielder, which is a historically weak spot for the Mets,  Steve Reed was decent but a free agent after the year.  –> Lose

Sure, he had a couple good trades (Piazza, maybe Mo Vaughn), but overall, Steve Phillips was the meth addict of baseball general managers; he traded long-term pieces for short-term fixes.  In the end, he had 2 playoff appearances to show for all of his awful trading.

So Steve, stop doling out the advice to GM’s who still have jobs in the game.  Nobody has even interviewed you for a GM position since you were canned, so perhaps they agree that you were a terrible judge of talent.  Just stop giving us your opinion on trades just because you are on ESPN.  Only talk about subjects which you have credibility with, like what kind of hair product I should use to get a ‘do like yours.