I was busy cramming for the LSAT during the past few days. But now I'm back again, for better or worse. Thanks to Alpheus, Jack, Hugo, and FisherCats for keeping the place running.
Some very quick notes on what's transpired in the past few days...
- On Sunday, Russ Adams was recalled by the Blue Jays. It had been expected that John McDonald, who was recently activated from the disabled list, would handle the brunt of the second base duties, since all indications were that Adams would remain in AAA for the time being.
As a result of Adams' promotion and McDonald's activation, Luis Figueroa was demoted to AAA and Edgardo Alfonzo was released outright. I would be shocked if Alfonzo were to latch on to another team. At this point, he's demonstrated a consistent inability to do provide any value at the plate. On the season, he's hitting .126/.200/.149 (89 at-bats), quite possibly the worst totals in all of baseball. It's almost criminal that he's being paid $8,000,000 for his efforts, though fortunately his contract will expire after this season. Despite his recent futility, as well as his marked decline since his days as a Met, Alfonzo enjoyed a rather fine career. At his peak, he was among the league leaders in many offensive statistical categories and was clearly one of the best middle infielders in the entire sport. His suspect conditioning and his hefty long-term contract probably played major roles in his sudden decline. It's unfortunate that his fine career will most likely end with such a whimper.
As for Adams' promotion, I'm in favour of it. He's far and away the best hitter available for the position, though it's not much of an accomplishment considering his competition. Moreover, second base, while important, is not quite as crucial a defensive position as shortstop. And it's much easier to play, especially for someone whose main problems revolve around throwing issues. Now that Aaron Hill is beginning to hit again, the Blue Jays' middle infield could actually turn from a major weakness to a strength, which would be a swift turnaround to say the least. On the whole, Hill's transition from second base to shortstop seems to have gone rather smoothly. Bill James noted that rightward shifts along the defensive spectrum almost never work (#12), but Hill appears to be an exception. Although, to be fair, he had a great deal of experience playing that position prior to joining the majors.
- Roy Halladay, as has almost come to be expected, was brilliant tonight, earning a complete-game victory against the Orioles. He only threw 104 pitches and relied heavily on his defense, as illustrated by the fact that he only threw three strikeouts. Normally, I'd be concerned by his low strikeout totals this season, but they're more than offset by his appreciably low walk rate. As a result, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is terrific (over 4:1). In fact, he's been so efficient that he leads the majors in fewest pitches per inning, with 13.1. On the other hand, Ted Lilly, a high-walk, high-strikeout pitcher, has the sixth-highest total in the majors, with 17.4 pitches per inning. By prorating each of their averages over nine innings, Halladay would throw about 118 pitches while Lilly would throw an absurd 157.
- As Alpheus and Jack pointed out in Monday's game thread, A.J. Burnett was in top form in his recent rehab start for Syracuse. The rotation is very thin at the moment, so it's imperative that Burnett comes back soon. For now, Scott Downs will occupy a starting role, beginning tomorrow against Baltimore.