Thursday, June 11, 2009

Transactions, and the United Cardinal Blogger Radio Hour

In no particular order, at least, not in the order of the title.

Great discussion today over on the United Cardinal Blogger Talkradio show. We spent the better part of an hour dissecting the MLB draft's first 2 days (and 23 rounds), then touched on a variety of topics. Wednesdays at 1930 PDT (7:30 pm for those of you in the military). If you haven't checked us out, you should. There's a dial-in number for commenting, as well as a chatroom for discussion/questions.

I am probably going to be hosting the show every other Wednesday starting 17 June; if not hosting, then calling in. You are cordially invited to call in and/or chat during those shows. If your voice would shatter glass, or you have a deep philosophical issue with chat boards, email me your questions/comments at I will do my best to get your questions on the air (so far, I'm batting 1.000 in that category).

The Cardinals designated Blaine Boyer for assignment on 4 June, and he was claimed by Arizona 9 June. Boyer was out of minor league options, so he couldn't have been sent down. There are some discrepancies as to what actually happened to Boyer; some sites report he was DFA'd, others that he was placed on waivers. The waiver placement makes more sense as he was claimed by Arizona; otherwise, AZ would either have to trade someone to St Louis to get him, or wait until his unconditional release and sign him.

If he was placed on waivers, that's simply a case of the Cardinals trying to sneak someone through and getting burned. If he was actually DFA'd, then we gave Brian Barton to Atlanta for nothing. Why? Boyer didn't exactly tear it up in St Louis; before his 5 inning, 1 earned run outing against the Reds on 3 June, which lowered his ERA by a full run, he had appeared in 14 games, had an ERA of 5.56, a WHIP of 1.24, and a WPA of -0.22. Actually his WPA got slightly worse after the Reds game. It makes me wonder why the Cardinals acquired a guy who made exactly 3 high leverage appearances (7th inning or later, ahead/behind by less than 3 runs) in 6 weeks.

Questions surrounding that transaction pale in comparison to those surrounding Khalil Greene. Greene was brought in to replace Cesar Izturis, who hit .263/.319/.309 mostly in the 9-hole. Prognosticators predicted Greene to be a significant upgrade with the bat over Izturis. Additionally, Greene's defensive reputation indicated he was probably not as good as Izturis, but it was a small drop-off between the two.

In his time at shortstop, Izturis was worth 11.3 runs (based on's Rtot/yr metric). In 551 chances at shortstop, he committed 11 errors.

Greene in 2009? .200/.287/.295, hitting mostly seventh in the order. Not enough data to calculate Rtot/yr. 130 chances, 7 errors.

By all measures so far, Greene is a significant drop-off from Izturis.

Then the issues with the anxiety disorder surfaced. And the questions on what the Cardinals front office knew about Greene's health.

Paul DePodesta, who is, I believe, a special assistant to the Vice President for Baseball Operations with the San Diego Padres, keeps a blog, in which he discusses various hot topics of the day. Recently I asked him if the Padres had any indication of Greene's anxiety condition when he was with the team. DePodesta did not answer, at least, he hasn't answered to date, which doesn't surprise me; it's a sensitive question.

However, I have a co-worker who's nephew plays for the Chicago Cubs. Actually plays in the majors. Probably the closest I'll get to greatness (I also had a buddy at a previous Navy command who played college ball with a current member of the Padres), at least, the closest I'll get until my sons get drafted #1 in consecutive MLB drafts (go boys - you're my retirement plan). A recent conversation with the co-worker turned to Khalil Greene, and he didn't seem surprised Greene's health issues had popped up. It was implied he had arrived at that conclusion based on conversations with his nephew.

(He also said Mark DeRosa was a vocal leader in the Cubs locker room, and they miss that leadership, but that's neither he nor there.)

Let's assume what he said is true. I ask a couple of casual questions in a work place conversation and find out Greene's anxiety disorder might have been known outside the Padre organization months before he's traded to St. Louis. How is it possible the Cardinal front office had no indication Greene was sick? Those guys research players and make deals for a living. I am to investigative journalism what Mr. Magoo is to visual acuity.

Greene got a physical before the deal was finalized, right? Rumors persist he's a cutter. How did he explain those scars away? Did the Dr. just not notice? I've blogged previously about some of the work the medical staff for the Cardinals has done, and how it's suspect (Scott Rolen's shoulder, Mark Mulder's shoulder, etc). Is this another case of sloppy work?

If the Padres withheld this information they should be taken to task for it. Using the old Realtor line of 'you didn't ask, so I didn't tell you' doesn't fly. If the Cardinals didn't do their 'due diligence' in investigating what happened with him last year, and verifying his mental and physical health, well, I hope that failure is duly reflected in their Christmas bonuses.

Best of luck to Khalil Greene in conquering whatever demons he's fighting. Pragmatically, however, at this point, DeWitt's pissed away $6.5 million dollars because his medical/personnel acquisition staff were asleep at the switch.

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