With Zack Greinke having returned to earth, Josh Beckett injured, and Ray Halliday in the National League, the AL’s best pitcher could well be the Angels’ Jared Weaver. The 27 year old Weaver leads baseball in strikeouts, has an ERA of 2.82, and is the stopper every team needs to both avoid a long losing streak and prevent three-game sweeps at the hands of the team you’re chasing in the standings. After badly losing two in a row to the first-place Rangers, Weaver was dominant tonight, even to the point of blanking the red-hot Angel-killing Vlad the Destroyer.
The team chose not to re-sign the recently injury-plagued and aging Vlad, and he is paying off big-time for Texas, especially in their showdown with the Angels. But tonight he could not touch Weaver, and the Angels are back to within 3-1/2 of Texas.
Texas made a big move today, though, substantially upgrading their previously weak catching, by acquiring former Angel Benjie Molina from the Giants, for a journeyman middle reliever and a prospect. Vlad’s sensational comeback year coupled with the Angels’ loss of Kendrys Morales may be more than even Weaver can overcome. By trading Molina, the Giants open up that spot for their phenom of the decade, Buster Posey, who had been playing out of position at 1B.
In another matter, on May 8, 2009, approximately 14 months ago, I wrote the following:
“Bob Melvin – 2007 Manager of the Year is Now Arizona Scapegoat
“In 2007, the season before last, the Arizona Diamondbacks had the NL’s best record, and manager Bob Melvin was Manager of the Year. Now, with the team off to a 12-17 start, behind the stellar hitting of Chad Tracy (.221), Stephen Drew (.205), Chris Snyder (.204), Conor Jackson (.191), Chris Young .177), and Eric Byrnes (.139), and a team batting average of .222, plus the loss of ace starter Brandon Webb, on the DL with an era of 13.50, he no longer knows how to manage.
“He brought the team back from oblivion in his first season as the Diamondbacks’ manager, leading a 51-111 2004 team to 77 wins in 2005. His 2007 team won with mirrors, and Melvin’s rare managerial talent, compiling a 90-72 record, despite being outscored for the season, by 20 runs.
“GM Josh Byrnes and owners Ken Kendrick, Paul Schloss, and Jason Ellis should be ashamed of themselves. Melvin’s replacement, former catcher A.J. Hinch, has zero managerial experience anywhere. Learning on the job, a team batting average of .222, and a disabled list loaded with key players, makes for a long season for Hinch and, unfortunately, for the D’Back fans.
“All I can say is that what certainly seemed to be no worse than the second most talented team in the NL west is now no longer a threat to overtake the Manny-less Dodgers.”
Well, today, Arizona team ownership fired not only Manager A.J. Hinch but also former golden boy GM Josh Brynes. The D’Backs will pay handsomely for last season’s impetuousness. Not only is the team in the dumpster, but they owe Hinch for 2-1/2 years, and Byrnes for 5-1/2 years, respectively, on their contracts.
One bit of nice news out of the newest disaster in AZ., the D’Backs’ interim manager is to be Dodger icon Kirk Gibson.