By Mike Steffanos
I was watching a little of the Marlins-Phillies game this afternoon and thinking ahead to the playoffs. One thing that has intrigued me somewhat is that whenever he talks about the pitchers on his playoff roster, Willie Randolph keeps bringing up the name of Oliver Perez. Although my personal opinion is that it would be better to put Perez aside until he has a chance to do some extensive work with Rick Peterson next spring, it is interesting to contemplate what you might do with Perez if you put him on the playoff roster. Please note that this is not what I think the Mets should do or will do, it's just an interesting way to kill some time on a Saturday afternoon with the playoffs still at least 3 days away.
As far as pure stuff goes, Perez probably has the best of anyone still on the team. He's not consistent, but he has a good moving fastball in the low 90s and an excellent slider when he gets on top of it at release. John Maine probably has more life on his fastball, but has no secondary pitch of the caliber of Perez' slider when it's right. So, if you decided to put Oliver Perez on your playoff roster, what would you do with him? The easy answer is to put him in the bullpen and use him to pitch to a lefty or two, but I would think that you would trust Pedro Feliciano, Darren Oliver and Royce Ring more in one of those spots. All 3 have experience out of the bullpen, and the last thing you need is to bring in someone to face a lefty and walk him.
No, the only way I would put Perez on the roster would be if I planned to start him. I'd send him out there and tell him to go all-out for 4 or 5 innings and give me all he had. I'd use John Maine as a middle reliever, since he is much better the first time through an order than the second or third anyway. He could be aggressive with his fastball pitching a couple of innings, not needing his mediocre secondary pitches as much in that role. It's a roll of the dice, but if Perez is on he's capable of giving me a Pedro-esque start. I tell you quite frankly that I wouldn't do it if I was making the decisions, but I couldn't deny that it would be an interesting move.
Daily News: Pedro
Adam Rubin sheds a little more light on Pedro's impending shoulder surgery. I'm not ready to express my opinion on this -- I'll do it tomorrow.
Baseball Prospectus: Principles
While many defend the rights of the 2 reporters in the Balco case that were sentenced to jail for not revealing how they got a hold of sealed grand jury testimony, Joe Sheehan weighs in on the rights of those who gave the testimony under the expectation of anonymity:
The crime was committed when the leaker passed the testimony to the reporters. Let's be clear about that. Neither of these men has committed a crime. Once the testimony was in their hands, they were legally free to use it in any manner they chose. But they were also free not to use it, to put the principle that grand-jury testimony is sealed above the pursuit of headlines, above the instinct to share all available information with the public, above profit. They were free then to make a principle the backbone of their story. No book deal would have come about, but they would also not be looking at jail time.
The freedoms that we have in this country are broad, but they are not absolute. In the same way that your freedom of speech can't be used to directly endanger others, and your freedom of action ends when it encroaches mine, the freedom of the press stops at the point where it willfully infringes upon other institutions.
Are we there now? I don't know. I am not sure if it's right that Fainaru-Wada and Williams may go to jail for their refusal to testify. The practice of jailing recalcitrant witnesses is ham-fisted, serving more to create martyrs than to induce testimony. I am certain, however, that the sympathy the two now receive is disproportionate to the situation. They profited handsomely from their willingess to shred the protections afforded grand jury witnesses, from their willingness to be the vessel by which more than a dozen people were publicly shamed, to be a tool in the government's leverage game.
The real victims here are the people who had their agreements with the government violated, who had their testimony revealed. Fainaru-Wada and Williams are responsible for that. Perhaps some of the sympathy for those two could be saved for the people who never got the chance to argue the value of principles with the people who chose to dismiss theirs so readily.
I couldn't agree more. I know this is a week old (I was on vacation), but it's an important point. The whole steroid issue has become something of a witch hunt, with more interest in scapegoating some unpopular players rather than taking a sincere look at the problem. The rights of those whose testimony was leaked were just as valid and important as the rights of two reporters to publish that testimony -- and making a ton of money by cashing in thanks to the violated rights of those who testified. Unfortunately, I also agree with Joe Sheehan that jailing these two accomplishes little other than making martyrs out of them.
getting paid to watch...: An interesting parallel
Bob uses the series against the Dodgers in 1988 to make an important point about this season.
Faith and Fear in Flushing: Punditry
Greg calls in the experts to remove our hope for the playoffs and our very will to live. Of course, they are only too happy to oblige.