The Diamondbacks claimed relief pitcher J.D. Durbin off waivers from the Minnesota Twins yesterday. To make room for him on the 40 man roster, the Diamondbacks designated Dave Krynzel for assignment.
I had just been talking about how Dave Krynzel should be on the Opening Day roster with Carlos Quentin and Jeff DaVanon starting the season on the DL. Quentin tweaked his shoulder in a minor-league game yesterday, delaying his comeback. Krynzel had a strong spring by the numbers, but on Wednesday the Diamondbacks claimed outfielder Jeff Salazar off waivers from the Rockies. He is expected to make the team with both Quentin and Jeff DaVanon on the DL for the start of the season.
Salazar is a left-handed hitter who made his major-league debut in September of last year, getting 53 at-bats. He batted .283, with an on-base percentage of .409 and a slugging percentage of .415. He had one homer and eight RBI, stole two bases without getting caught and had 11 bases-on-balls and 16 strikeouts. The on-base percentage and the strikeout-to-walk ratio are probably the reasons the Diamondbacks claimed Salazar. If those two stats are indicative of his type of production, we can expect to see Salazar leading off. Salazar is listed as a centerfielder. So I still think Chris Young is in trouble. If nothing else, we might see a platoon in center if BoMel wants left-handed bats in the lineup.
As long as Quentin is out of the lineup, it is likely that Eric Byrnes will play right. I know he’d say he doesn’t care where he plays as long as he plays. But the hard truth is that right field is not a good position for Byrnesie. He can catch the ball there as well as any other place, but he doesn’t have the arm strength of the good rightfielder. He’s better off in center, where the centerfielder’s right-of-way works with his kamikaze fielding style. He also has more experience and easier throws out of left field than right. But he’s the most flexible outfielder of the bunch. These rookies seem to be only good in one place. So the veteran Byrnes takes one for the team by playing right field. Remember that before any of you criticize his arm in right.
If Bob Melvin is a thinking man, he knows he has a decision to make that he might not have been expecting at the beginning of spring training. As of now, Byrnes, Young, Quentin, Hairston and DaVanon are the Diamondbacks outfield. But what of Dave Krynzel? He’s out of minor league options and he’s had a very good spring. With DaVanon, and possibly Quentin, starting the season on the DL, there should be a spot for Krynzel on the Opening Day roster. But when one or both of the injured players come back, Krynzel may find himself squeezed out.
Now it makes no sense at all for the Diamondbacks to have gotten him at all if they weren’t going to be able to use him. So there are two possibilities as I see it: a trade or a displacement of one of the other outfielders.
There’s a lot to be said for keeping Krynzel. First of all, he’s left-handed. Of the current outfielders, only Jeff DaVanon can bat lefty. But who knows when he’ll be back? Then there is Krynzel’s aforementioned lack of options. The problem with trading such a player is that the other teams know the situation and will not want to give up anyone of substance for a player they can claim on waivers. And then there are the spring performances.
As of today Krynzel is batting .333; his on-base percentage is .404, and his slugging percentage is .564. He has also stolen four bases without being caught. On the other hand, Chris Young is batting .242, with an on-base percentage of .299 and a slugging percentage of .387. He has stolen 2 bases and has been caught once. Young has had the most plate appearances of anyone on the team: 68. (Hairston has had 64). Krynzel has had 47. Clearly, Bob Melvin’s interest has been in getting Chris Young on track. But Young hasn’t had nearly the spring that all the other outfielders, except DaVanon, have had.
It would make sense to send Young, who still has options, back to Triple-A and keep Krynzel. Krynzel can play both the corner outfield positions; Quentin plays right and Hairston plays left. That would mean moving Eric Byrnes back to centerfield, which is his favorite position. And it makes a lot of sense to have the veteran Byrnes there as the captain of the outfield, positioned between two rookies.
There is one "problem" with this scenario. Krynzel is a young man trying to remake his career after falling from a motorcycle and from grace with his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a lot of hype surrounding Chris Young, who being young, black, and wearing number 24 in centerfield, has been compared to the young Willie Mays after he made a couple of circus catches late last season. The Diamondbacks had him pegged for centerfield this year from before the start of last year, which is why they only signed Eric Byrnes for one year; they needed a rent-a-centerfielder. But Byrnes gave them more than they were expecting, and now I think Krynzel has, too. Young may be very talented, but it would be a grave disservice to the man to rush him to the big leagues because of hype, as well as a disservice to Krynzel, Byrnes, and the Diamondbacks as a team.
"There’s nothing sinister, illegal, wrongful or frankly unusual about that form of business negotiation or results," MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy told the Senate Commerce Committee, which called a hearing to investigate the deal. "This is not a matter of fans being unable to view MLB’s out-of-market games. It’s a matter of not being able to watch those games on a particular system."
…unless you don’t have southern exposure, or live in a place that does not allow satellite dishes. Then it IS a matter of fans being unable to view MLB’s out of market games.
Does this remind anybody of the hassles of not being able to play music or computer programs across platforms?
This is just another example of the fact that "we, the people" are not MLB’s customers. The various networks and systems, to use DuPuy’s word, are MLB’s customers. MLB is selling its product to them, not to us, and is willing to sell exclusively to one group in order to maximize profit.
Which brings me to another point, the business model. Exclusivity is a business model that seeks a high profit over a limited distribution of production units. Think Lamborghinis. Or think the Oakland Athletics, who have tarped over the entire third deck of the Coliseum, and who are planning to move to what will be the smallest park in the majors, out in the exurbs, i.e. suburbs of a suburb–Fremont, you’re a ‘burb of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, deal with it; those who can’t get to the park can just buy the right package to get the games at home. That’s assuming that A) you can afford it, B) you have access to it (see earlier paragraph about southern exposure and permission to use a particular system) and C) it’s compatible with the rest of your media consumption habits.
That last one is noteworthy. Suppose you are generally satisfied with your cable company’s offerings, or, probably more relevantly, you have a bundled package of phone, cable and Internet, the price of which will increase if you drop one of the services? Do you add DirecTV to get baseball that used to be offered on cable? Or do you drop cable and switch to satellite, even though it will increase your phone and Internet rates? Either way, your wallet is lighter, while the media and MLB execs are raking it in.
All of this may not be illegal or frankly unusual, but inside MLB and out, I find that maneuvering people into buying more than they need or want IS sinister and wrongful.
Eric Byrnes went deep his first two times up in the Diamondbacks’ 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field. He also walked once in his four trips to the plate, raising his batting average to .294 for the Cactus League season.
Byrnes had been in a slump since a two-day, 6-for-6 streak lifted his batting average to .522. He went into today’s game batting .271, and by his own admission, not swinging the bat well. But he led off the game with a fly ball homer to deep center field. He followed that up the next time up with a line-drive homer to left field.
Chad Tracy batted in the 3rd run and Edgar Gonzalez pitched well.
Byrnes producing in the lead-off role after slumping in the 3 and 4 holes makes me wonder if he’s just of the temperament to be a table-setter. Historically, his highest batting averages are in the lead-off and second positions. One would like to see someone with his power batting in the heart of the order. But he seems to be more successful at the top of the lineup. Last season, his numbers were comparable to Johnny Damon’s stats; the Yankees lead-off hitter considers himself to be the best lead-off hitter in the Major Leagues and he’s paid like it.
Damon 24 HR; 35 2B; 80 RBI; 25 SB in 593 AB
Byrnes 26 HR; 37 2B; 79 RBI; 25 SB in 562 AB
Yeah, I want to see Eric be the big bopper with 122 RBI, and that still might happen. But hey, whatever works, so long as Byrnesie develops an identity as a hitter and fulfills his potential. One can hit 40+ homers and steal 40+ bases from the lead-off position. Just ask Alfonso Soriano who batted lead-off a lot last year.
19th Century to the end of the Deadball Era, have been added to the Byrnesblog Baseball Bookstore. They include books on early black baseball entrepreneurs, early baseball labor relations, and teams, e.g. Cleveland Spiders, New York Giants. Check it out, as well as the biography section, which includes bios of some early stars.
Also, you’ll find Joe Posnanski’s book about Buck O’Neill, "The Soul of Baseball" as the first book in the Black Baseball section.
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for getting the name of their ballpark back! From now on it’s going to be known as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Down The Left-Field Line has written before about ballpark naming rights. It’s just not a good idea. A ballpark is a kind of landmark in a city. I’m sure most people would think that the Taco Bell Statue of Liberty or the Steak and Shakes Gateway Arch or the Starbucks Space Needle would be ludicrous. Naming ballparks after phone companies, banks and mortgage companies should be just as ludicrous. Not only is it ludicrous, but then the team is linked to a company that may no longer exist after a short while because of mergers, necessitating a change in the ballpark name, as in San Francisco, where the place the Giants play, which I now call "Ballpark by the Bay," has changed names three times this decade. Naming a ballpark after a company that has nothing to do with baseball can also be PR bad news for the team when the company gets into financial trouble or proves to be poor corporate citizen. This is precisely what happened in the case of Ameriquest, which has gotten involved in lawsuits and layoffs.
T.R. Sullivan’s article on the change also mentioned that in 2003 the geographically-challenged Angels name to their facility Angel Stadium after seven years as Edison International Field. Let’s hope the trend toward selling off naming rights is reversing itself.
Now, if only the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington would get decent lighting…
ByrnesBlogger’s Baseball Bookstore is an Amazon.com associate that you will find on the left sidebar. It’s just getting started so there’s still alot to add and I am hand-selecting books from Amazon’s huge collection so it will take some time to fully develop. But already I have sections featuring books by MLBloggers, books "For Stats Geeks and Fantasy Owners", books on Black Baseball and baseball biographies. I’ll build more sections including books about baseball history, specific teams, other minority groups and "The Business" and add books to the already established sections over the course of the season.
You can help by suggesting a book or section topic, and of course, by making purchases. As new sections are added, I’ll announce them here.
Have fun shopping!
"Regardless of where he hits, Byrnes is optimistic about the season ahead. Asked if he had any magic numbers in mind at the plate for 2007, Byrnes modestly said he’s shooting to hit .407, hit 74 home runs and drive in 192 runs.
"’Figure you might as well shoot for the top, right?’"
Man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
or what’s a heaven for?
If Byrnesie is really aiming that high and falls a bit short, we should get .327 with 44 HRs and 122 RBI. It all depends on something he’s working on this spring that I’ll talk about later.
Eric Byrnes continues to step it up in the second week of Cactus League action. Batting leadoff in today’s split-squad "A" game versus the San Diego Padres, he got the D’Backs off to a fast start by homering. He also hit two singles, giving him his first homer AND his first 3-hit day of the spring.
Way to go, Byrnesie!
The D’Backs won 10-7.