Thursday, September 1, 2011

Only Jesus can save me now

I'm told that the Yankees are calling up some guy named Jesus when the rosters expand today. He's supposed to be pretty good. But the only thing I care about is that his position is catcher.

That means he might nudge Russell Martin out of a few catching assignments, which would be good -- not only because I wouldn't have to listen to Yankees announcers give birth on the air over a .240 hitter, but because Martin on the bench is the only way I have of winning a bet.

At the start of the season I placed a bet with The Lost Collector over which teams' catchers would be more productive offensively this season -- the Yankees' Russell Martin or the Dodgers' collection of stiffs. If the Dodgers' catchers were better, I'd win a blaster of my choosing, and vice versa.

Now, I bet very rarely. I'm not good at it. But I figured this was my do-good deed for that particular month. I knew that Martin probably would do a little bit better with the Yankees just because he was in a power-laden lineup in New York and wasn't with L.A. But I held out hope that I might sneak a victory because Martin SUCKED last season and he was in obvious decline.

Well, Martin got of to an OK start to the season and then slipped into his usual flat-liner thing at the plate but still snookered his way to an all-star nomination. Meanwhile, the Dodger catchers were nowhere to be found on any ballot. I think Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro decided to go goose-hunting the first half of the season.

Then, in the second half, something happened. Rod Barajas got hot.

Have you seen his August? Mercy. He's been my Player of the Day four times in the last month, or as many times as Andre Ethier has been player of the day the entire season.

So, I was feeling pretty good that I might somehow, miraculously pull this out.

But unfortunately -- because the Yankees are the Yankees and they must muck everything up in their usual disgusting way -- Martin started getting hot, too, and now the Yankees have the edge again.

Entering the final month of the season, using the seven offensive stats that The Lost Collector and I agreed upon, Barajas and Navarro (who is not with the Dodgers anymore) have the edge in hits, home runs and slugging percentage. Martin's got the edge in runs batted in, batting average (stupid Navarro), on-base percentage and wins above replacement (WAR).

The runs batted in category is very close and could decide the whole thing.

And that's why Jesus Montero needs to play the rest of the month. But forget about this designated hitter nonsense, Yankees. Montero needs to CATCH. Put Martin on the bench. It's where he belongs anyway.

(Tangent alert: I stumbled across a YES broadcast the other day and I don't know who Michael Kay was talking to, but he asked him, "Did you think Martin would be this good defensively?" Good god, Kay, pay attention to another team in the majors once in awhile. Martin was only known as one of the top defensive catchers in baseball when he was with L.A.)

If I lose this bet -- which I probably will -- I'll happily buy the blaster. I've purchased so few this year, I want to see if I still know how to do it.

But until then, I'll be rooting for Montero at catcher with all my might. He can mess up his knee next season.

Jesus is the way, Yankees. Jesus is the way.


  1. You seemed to have cottoned on to it, but the scuttlebutt is that Montero will likely platoon at DH, where the Yankees are weak, since Martin and Cervelli are more familiar with the pitching staff.

    Also, Michael Kay's announcing partner is former Oriole Ken Singleton.

  2. As mentioned above, it looks like many of Jesus' ABs will be at DH. Russ is a little banged up right now but I won't lie, I've been very happy with him overall. As someone who has predominantly hit in the lower third of the lineup, he's added some length to the lineup for sure. And as Kay so astutely pointed out, he's been great small task when Allan James Burnett throws 45 foot curveballs every other pitch.

  3. Game-winning RBI triple for Martin!