This post is the 1200th Baseball Notebook posted on Baseball Etcetera. The first post was in May of 2004 after David Pinto, the owner of Baseball Musings website suggested I start posting online. Due to my present schedule, I can only post during weekday mornings, since I work 24 hours combined over Saturday and Sunday. This schedule is subject to change, but for now it can save readers a visit to the site on weekends. Since installing a counter from [sitemeter.com] on May 20, 2006, there have been 16,362 visitors to the site. Thank you to the readers who have read the posts since 2004 and I hope to continue the posts for years to come.
Barry "Balco" Bonds: Man Without a Team
There are less than two weeks left before the 2008 baseball season starts, and so far, Barry "Balco" Bonds is a man without a team. He has burned his bridges behind him and now no team wants him in their clubhouse with his performance enhancing drugs baggage, not to mention the legal entanglements he finds himself in presently.
He probably could help a team offensively, but no team is willing to endure the media circus that follows Bonds. Bonds is desperate to get his 3000th hit, but apparently no team is interested in helping him achieve that goal. So unless a team signs him soon, he will finish 31st on the career hits list with 2935. The players above him on the list who never reached 3000 hits are Frank Robinson (2943), Sam Crawford (2961), and Sam Rice (2987).
The San Francisco Giants are the worst team in the exhibition season with a 4-11 record, but they would rather have a bad season than sign Bonds again. They're finally tired of paying him exorbitant salaries like the $15 million they payed him last season.
The New York Mets are looking for a left fielder to replace Moises Alou, but still aren't desperate enough to sign Bonds. With Bonds being another year slower and with no designated hitter rule in the National League, he would be forced to play in the field instead of sit on the bench like he would if signed by an American League team.
Time is running out on Bonds, but I still wouldn't be surprised if some team signs him the last minute. Hopefully the 2008 season will be played with Bonds watching the games on television in between court appearances.
Looking at Statistics
Angel Pagan, a .255 lifetime hitter, is leading in hits this spring with 18 and hitting .419. In second place is Brian Anderson, who is a .216 lifetime hitter and hit .118 last season. Anderson has 16 hits and is hitting at a .381 clip.
Wladimir Balentien is tied with Jorge Cantu for the lead in doubles with 6 each. Balentien is a player to watch. He had 24 home runs and 84 runs batted for Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League then was called up to the Seattle Mariners and had 2 hits in 3 at bats, including a home run and 4 runs batted in. He has a shot at making the Mariners' roster for opening day, but he may not be an everyday player.
Rafael Furcal leads all players in triples with 3.
Chase Headley tied Josh Hamilton for the spring runs batted in lead with 11 each. Headley of the San Diego Padres is making a strong bid to make the team this season. He has a .414 on base percentage and a .840 slugging percentage while hitting .400.
Torii Hunter is leading players with at least 20 at bats in slugging percentage with a 1.238 mark.
Jered Weaver still leads in wins with 3, and 17 pitchers are second with 2 wins each.
Looking at the Standings
The Tampa Bay Rays are the only team in the majors this spring to be playing .700 baseball with a 9-3 record and a .750 winning percentage. The Detroit Tigers and Florida Marlins have the most wins this spring with 11 each. Oakland is next with 10 wins.
Tampa Bay and Florida both finished last in their divisions last season so it is interesting that they are both first place in their leagues this spring.
The San Francisco Giants are in last place in the NL with a 4-11 record (11 losses also being the most by any team this spring), while the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies have lost 10 games this spring.
Ichiro Suzuki Hitless This Spring
Ichiro Suzuki is hitless this spring after 7 games and 21 at bats. He is listed 31st of 32 hitters who have batted for the Seattle Mariners this spring at mlb.com. It only shows that Suzuki is human, but I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks out of this slump with a two or three hit game.
Blue Jays Hitters Struggling
The Toronto Blue Jays are last in the AL standings in spring training, and a big part of it is the anemic hitting of their hitters. They have a 5-9 record and have hit only 6 home runs in 14 games. Three of those home runs were hit by Joe Inglett, Buck Coats, and David Eckstein. It is not a good sign when Eckstein is tied for the team runs batted in lead with Vernon Wells.
Wells is hitting .261, only 15 points higher than his career low (.245) last season. Frank Thomas has 2 hits in 24 at bats for a .083 batting average. Gregg Zaun is 1 for 14 with a .071 average. Alex Rios is 3 for 22 with a .136 average. David Eckstein is 4 for 20 with a .200 average. Thomas, Zahn, Rios and Eckstein are a combined 10 for 80 this spring.
Capuano At End of the Line?
Chris Capuano gave up 5 unearned runs and blew a save for the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. It is looking like the Brewers have no choice but to either send Capuano to the minors if they have any options left or release him. He has pitched 7 2/3 innings this spring and has given up 13 runs, with 8 of them being earned, and 16 hits. He hasn't even pitched 8 full innings and yet he has pitched the equivalent of a 16 hitter. I will be surprised if manager Ned Yost brings Capuano north but I didn't expect him to leave Capuano in starting rotation as long as he did last season so it won't be a total surprise if he is pitching in Milwaukee again in 2008.
Cardinals, Marlins Combine to Hit 9 Home Runs
The St. Louis Cardinals couldn't hold a 6-0 lead against the Florida Marlins, yesterday as the Marlins came back to win the game 13-7. The Marlins hit 5 home runs and the Cardinals hit 4 of their own. Albert Pujols hit his 4th and Troy Glaus hit his 1st for the Cardinals. Cameron Maybin led the home run barrage for the Marlins with 2 home runs. He is currently hitting .304 and may be ready to have a breakthrough season in 2008.