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An Open Letter to JP, At the 100 Game Mark....

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Mr. Richardi,

One of the lines I keep hearing from you and from the team is that we are 'close'. That reminds me of the old joke about a team being only two players away from being a contender, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. Yeah if we could magically put Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner on the team, we'd likely be in the race. In real life though...we aren't close.

Yeah, our pitching staff is pretty good. Pretty good, my biggest problem with the pitching is we are not deep. 1 thru 5 our starters are good, though if we were a little deeper Jesse Litsch would be still refining his skills at Triple A, but rarely does a team make it thru a season with just 5 starters. We'll see but, John Parrish doesn't look like someone we'd want to use more than the occasional spot start. With McGowan out for a long stretch, I'd rather you bring up Purcey so we can see if he can be part of our rotation next year. Parrish isn't going to be part of our team next year so why not use someone that might be.

Offensively our lack of depth lead to signing Shannon Stewart. As a 5th outfielder well he's sort of ok, as much as I'd rather have someone that could play more than one outffield spot. As someone that got the short end of the left field platoon with Matt Stair, I could live with him. Then you release Frank Thomas and show there is no plan.

Now if you had a plan when you dropped Thomas then I'm ok, but having Stewart in at left everyday and Stairs in at DH everyday, both are exposed enough to show they aren't up the task. Again, here, if you had called up Lind and gave him the LF job I would have been ok with it, but Lind has 19 bad at bats and you sign a couple more guys that were good 5 years ago. Wilk showed why Texas and Seattle had given up on him in the previous six months. So we have another under powered outfielder who isn't going to be part of the team when/if we get better. Thank godness Cito understood that playing Wilk was stupid and got Lind back up here.

If we knew if this year's Rios or last year's Rios was the real player guy it would be a lot easier to plan for the future. If last years is the real thing then we've got an outfield. Same with Vernon, if we knew we could get the 2006 Wells and the 2007 Rios, put the Lind we have at the moment in left and find a DH life would be good. Odds of all those things happening? I guess we'll find out, with Vernon's contract we are stuck with him no matter how he hits.

Now at this point in the season when there is no way we are getting back into the race, Wells gets injured, for me this is a great chance to show Travis Snider what life is like in the big leagues. But no, we get to see Wilk continue to prove he is no longer someone that resembles a major leaguer. Or we get Inglett in the outfield so we can get all our middle infielders in the lineup at once.

Speaking of middle infielders, with Hill injured and with no idea when he's going to be back and with us out of the race, why can't we call up Scott Campbell up to see how he might fair as a major leaguer....it looks like he has the ability to get on base and has a little bit of power, he can't be worse than sending Scoot out there every day. Same for Robinzon Diaz....lets bring him up, Barajas isn't hitting and Zaun isn't hitting....lets get rid of one and let Diaz play enough so we can have a feel for whether he is up to the job next year.

Shorts stops? Well, we have a handful, and honest I could live with any of them if we got offense out of the important spots. Eck isn't that bad and it is fun watching him have to take a run at it to throw to first. Mac? I love Mac at short. To me, his defense more than makes up for his offense, but then he drove in 4 runs last night. Scoot would be my last choice and not sure why Cito likes him so much, I think his defense isn't much better than Eck and his offense isn't all that much better than Mac. If the team was decent then any of them would do.

Same story with first and third base. If we had any power in the other power spots Overbay and Rolen would be ok, but since we have little power in the other spots they aren't. And with the contracts they have we is stuck with them. Seems like the story of the team, too many guys with contracts no other team would take.

So are we close? I suppose...but the problem is we can't move the guys that need to be move to imporve because they have contracts no one else would take. And there isn't enough help close to ready in the farm system to expect we'll be that much better next year.

Your friend,

Tom