Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
The Sorting Hat
by Derek Smart
Shock of shocks, it appears that Mr. Wood is, indeed, this team's closer, and I'm thrilled. I'm also willing to admit that I'm biased, so if anyone wants to drop some logic in here, feel free. The truth is, if the mythical nation of "The Impartial States of Objectivia" were made flesh, on most baseball matters I would be, at the very least, a documented worker. Perhaps in some instances, I might even be a naturalized citizen. Not so with Kerry Wood. When it comes to Kid K, I'm on Objectivia's Terrorist Watch List.
Still, in the games I watched he looked fantastic, hitting his spots, snapping his breaking stuff, and featuring a fastball that looked to rest comfortably between 97-98. That's closer material no matter how you slice it, so the only question we're left with is whether he can handle the workload, and frankly, as a friend mentioned to me the other day, there's a much better chance of controlling that in this role than if he were performing more like a setup man. There's usually plenty of warm-up time, and you're nearly always starting a fresh inning. Seems to me, the only way to make his role less physically impactful would have been to use him more sparingly in the middle innings, and that just wasn't going to happen.
We'll see how it goes. I understand there's a decent chance this thing goes off the rails, but for now, here in the spring before the merciless season begins, I'm going to enjoy a moment of hope.
As for the rest of the decisions made today I say, "Meh." Here's the short version:
I'd rather see Lieber in the rotation than Marquis, but it's not such a huge difference that I'll stage a revolt. Frankly, the decision made was for clubhouse peace - they weren't going to put Dempster in the pen with all the work he's done, and as we've heard previously, Mr. Marquis is unappreciative of the bullpen's siren song - and at least in the short term, I can't find fault. It also makes sense if Marquis is trade bait to not lower his value by declaring your lack of use for him, and it's not like Lieber or Sean Marshall won't be around in July when he begins to be outright terrible on a consistent basis, so relief can be had eventually.
I think Fukudome in the 5-hole is a waste of his skillset, similar in nature but opposite in content to the waste inherent in batting Soriano anywhere near the top. Switch the two and I'm much happier, although, again, I'm not going to waste a ton of energy whinging right now, especially with 'moves' 'coming' 'soon'.
All in all, the best thing about today's revelations is that, after a short period of overanalyzation, we can all stop talking about sort of thing for a while and, in one short week, simply enjoy some baseball.