Open Thread: Why signing bench players isn’t worth it


Geoff Blum doing something to help his team lose. (AP Photo)

Geoff Blum, he of the .242/.299/.368 batting line since 2004 (2,390 plate appearances), signed a two-year deal worth $2M with the Diamondbacks today. Two years, $2M. He’ll turn 38 in April. Again, two years, $2M. Sure, he can play all over the field, but his UZR’s are negative pretty much everywhere. For roughly the league minimum, Ramiro Pena or Eduardo Nunez will suck just as much. Having a good bench is a tremendous advantage, but Blum represents the kind of help that’s out there. It’s awful, which is why going in-house or making trades for reserves is the way to go.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread. MNF has the Eagles at the Redskins, plus you’ve also got the Rangers, Devils, and Nets in action. Chat about whatever you like, just don’t be a dick.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. bexarama says:

    “The Brewers priority right now is to get any kind of high end pitching because that’s what they lack so much, and I’m sure that if you called Doug Melvin and offered, you know, prospects like a Casey Kelly, like a Stephen Strasburg, like a Madison Bumgarner, you’re going to get their attention.”

    - Olney on Simmons’ podcast.

    Also, Avi, assuming I can’t be objective because I like/am attracted to a player? Don’t do that.

    • I Voted for Kodos says:

      How does someone get away with mentioning Kelly in the same breath as Strasburg and Bumgarner?

      It just proves a point I’ve been making for years: you can’t trust a grown man who goes by the name Buster.

    • ROBTEN says:

      I know that we all joke around a lot about Casey Kelly, but is that sentence serious? I mean, is Kelly really in the same conversation as Strasburg and Bumgarner? How much of this is real and how much is simply a runaway train the size of the Chrysler Building of hype?

      • Big Juan says:

        He could be the best prospect in the history of ever. But he has yet to pitch one single major league inning. Therefor that sentence is batshit insane.

        • ROBTEN says:

          To be clear, I totally agree. It seems entirely batshit insane to me too to make that comparison. I just figured I’d be open to the possibility that there’s something more to the hype than just the probability that Kelly’s is the only name that anyone can remember.

        • bexarama says:

          To be fair, many teams would’ve traded pretty much anyone for Strasburg before he pitched a single major league inning. Even ignoring his poor year this year, Kelly is not at that level – not even close.

          • bigjuan says:

            Oh absolutely. But I still think it would have been incorrect to put him in the sentence as other established young starters as Olney did there. Maybe that’s just me.

            • ROBTEN says:

              It just makes Olney’s comparison doubly ridiculous.

              Strasburg — a polished, college pitcher with a high 90s fastball, able to step almost instantly into a ML rotation (and did).

              Bumgarner — a left-hander who throws in the mid-90s and has 19 ML starts to a 136 ERA+.

              Kelly — a right-handed converted shortstop with a high-80s/low-90s fastball and two “potential” plus pitches who hasn’t yet pitched above AA (and who struggled at that level).

              Kelly may be extremely talented, but there seems to be nothing but hype to put him in the same category. Of course, if there’s something I’ve missed about Kelly, then I’d be willing to listen. I just can’t find anything that backs up the kind of hype he receives.

        • Avi says:

          He’s yet to have an ERA below 5.00 higher than class A.

    • Big Juan says:

      Not that anyone needs to point it out, but Avi’s logic is so severely misguided in that entire disaster of an argument that it’s laughable.

      • bexarama says:

        No kidding, but I pretty much figured that had been covered. I just get super pissed when people say OMG I (or any straight girl/gay guy) can’t be objective about baseball because I find players attractive and/or like them. It’s not cool.

        (Obligatory ponytail numb nuts joke)

        • bigjuan says:

          Well it just doesn’t make sense. I think Cano is the most awesome player in the entire world. Essentially, I find my man crush not that different from your admiration of Pettitte. Does that mean I’m incapable of objectivity as well?

        • first time lawng time says:

          I just learn to laugh at it. I mean, you are probably more knowledgable and into baseball than I am, but I;ll admit I am biased due to looks. I’m not gona lie, I want Cano to win the MVP over Hamilton, because I think he’s cuter. That said, I know Hamilton had a better year and I won’t ignore the facts.

          Anyway my point is that a lot of people are ignorant and are quick with stereotypes that you just gotta learn to laugh at it and find the humor.

          I really am not sure where I went with this post, sorry.

    • Avi says:

      Bex, I wasn’t suggesting you can’t be objective with Pettitte. Just that if you have an extra liking for a player for whatever reason, on top of what he contributes to the Yankees winning (which you clearly do with Andy) you might have more reason for being upset with the person most responsible for letting him go (Cashman).
      I personally LOVE Arod. From ’96 he’s been my favorite player in the game. So when the Yanks got him I was excited that the yankees got a Juggernaut force but more so that my favorite player was now playing for MY team.

    • Big Stein says:

      Olney is just stroking Simmons by dropping Kelly’s name into the mix.

      Olney knows the sox fans are high maintenance and need constant stroking.

  2. T-Dubs says:

    Ok ok ok. So Burnett, Posada, Swisher, Granderson & Gardner for Blum. Who says no?

  3. Bryan L says:

    What time is it?

    “Bruins kick some Devil’s ass time”

  4. BBWAA writers are dumb shits.


  5. Rich Stein says:


    • T-Dubs says:

      Some people are never satisfied. Also, I’ll preempt the inevitable post by someone else and say that instead of using the “@T-Dubs” it’s easier to hit the “Reply” button under the post you want to respond to. Makes the train of thought easier to follow.

      But yea, ECKSTEIN!!!

  6. king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

    LETS GO EAGLES!!! i need 70 point tonight from maclin. i think he needs to bust out 200 yd receiving with 3 TD’s and another 100 yds rushing with another 2 TD.

    stupid game.

  7. ultimate913 says:

    So the Hot Stove was talking about why and why not Lee should join the Yankees.

    Why not: (Texas) Does he really want to be with an aging crew of A-Rod,Posada,Jeter and Pettitte? It’s not really about the money, is it? Re-sign with Texas, we have a younger team. We(well you) took us to the World Series.

    Why: The Yankees go to the postseason more than any team. Money!

    About the Why not, Posada is gone after this season as is Pettitte(if he returns). Yes, it is about the money. The carrying thing could be a problem. Do you expect Lee to be that great every postseason? No. While on the Yankees, you’re playing with HOF’s. Anyone can and is more likely to carry the team. Wouldn’t you want to watch A-Rod chase history, as his teammate?

    Phew. I got that outta my system.

    • bexarama says:

      Yeah, IIRC MLBN Hot Stove flat-out, definitively said last week that the Rangers would be better than the Yankees in five years. Is there a chance? Sure. Is it stupid to like, guarantee something that will happen in five years? Absolutely. The 2015 rosters of the Yankees and Rangers won’t be the same as their 2010 rosters, to say the least.

      • mbonzo says:

        No… because Cliff Lee will be on it.

      • JAG says:

        How are they going to predict what the rosters are going to look like in 2015 anyway? I think…the Yankees actually have the MOST players still under contract that long. Kinsler, Young, Cruz, Hamilton…basically everyone but Andrus will have already been a free agent by then.

        Heck, there’s probably a breakout star for one of those teams who isn’t even out of high school yet. 5 years is way too far to predict.

    • mbonzo says:

      To be quite honest, I know I’ll be one of the few to say this, but I’d rather have Arod for the next 6 years than Hamilton for his next 6 years. I’m sure Arod’s numbers will drop off somewhat, but I have more faith in him than Hamilton. From the pictures I’ve seen of him, I don’t think he’s over his drug issues. I would say there is more of a chance of Hamilton falling off the horse than Arod becoming a useless old player.

      All the other guys are signed into their mid 30′s which is about where old starts. Think the Yankees will be contenders for at least 10 years with their current farm system, hopefully everything stays the same with George gone.

      • mbonzo says:

        Also, signing Cliff Lee means that they won’t be able to hold onto guys like Hamilton and Cruz in the next few years when they want some real money. Their starting pitching is a much larger question mark in the future than the Yankees, even if they happened to get Cliff Lee.

  8. George says:

    I’m just going to say that the dollar amount isn’t as offensive to me as the contract length; you really had to offer that second year to get Blum? Were there really so many teams jockeying for his services?

  9. Andrew says:

    I always love the reminder to not be a dick

  10. Monteroisdinero says:

    Greg Golson thanks you for this thread.

  11. first time lawng time says:

    I really hope Cano wins the MVP award. I think he had a great year. And while Hamilton’s year was better, I’m just biased because I like Cano. Basically, If Hamilton wins I won’t be disappointed, because he obviously deserves it, but I would like Cano to win, just because he’s my favorite.

    • bigjuan says:

      I hear you. But for the validity of the postseason awards, I’d like Hamilton to win because it’s what’s right. Similar to how I feel about the Cy Young. Clearly I’d love CC to win, but it’s not right. If that make sense.

    • Fellow Reader says:

      Miggy Cab who played half his games in Comerica, and had to carry a lineup as the only stud (Hamilton plays along side several) still managed to post a higher OPS+ than Hamilton who everybody acts like is so obviously deserving of teh award. Yes, I know voters love the whole playoffs thing, but that is not what the award is supposed to be about IMHO…

  12. Avi says:

    “Bill Ladson of has confirmed that the Nationals have interest in trading for Dan Uggla.
    According to Ladson, the Marlins are asking for a pitcher and help behind the plate. The Nationals acquired Wilson Ramos from the Twins last July, though he is unlikely to be included in any deal. If healthy, Jesus Flores could be a possibility. Multiple teams are interested in Uggla at the moment, though the Blue Jays are considered the early favorite.
    Source: Bill Ladson on Twitter”

    Hmm a pitcher and help behind the plate. Two areas where we have a lot of depth. I think we can fill that order.
    I think the Yankees are a better team with Uggla at 2nd and Cano at SS than Jeter at SS and Cano at 2nd.

  13. Steve H says:

    As bad as this looks, is there any way this isn’t good for the NHL? (safe)

  14. yankees1717 says:

    just realized that yovani gallardo on the nl silver slugger with a .254/.329/.508 line with four homers. they should actually use him as a ph for some of their other pitchers, and maybe even position players. (not sure if i’m serious)

  15. first time lawng time says:

    So there’s a new episode of House on tonight. Anyone watching? If you’ve never seen it, I reccomend it. It’s actually a pretty good show. (in my opinion anyway)

    • bigjuan says:

      Great show. I haven’t been able to watch in so long that I’d feel weird jumping back in. At some point I hope to get the last few seasons and catch up.

      • first time lawng time says:

        Yeah I hadn’t watched it (other than the really old reruns on USA) in a really long time, but I watched it last Monday and I was fine.

        Basically they don’t have a female doctor on the team anymore because the girl that replaced Chase left. Also, Cuddy and House are dating.

        Other than that everything’s pretty much the same.

    • JGS says:

      Ooh, thanks for the reminder

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I haven’t watched it regularly in a few years. Once the focus shifted to the stuff away from the medicine, it got lame. Really, once they got rid of Chase, Cameron, and Eric the first time.

      • first time lawng time says:

        Yeah I started up again last week and it was good.

        Chase and Eric are still there though. Cameron and her replacement are gone though.

        I saw the promo for this episode and it looks pretty good.

  16. Accent Shallow says:

    What kind of action could I get that the 2011 RoY is not someone on this list?

  17. Kiersten says:

    I enjoy that I’m at work in sweatpants and a hoodie right now.

    Suck on that, corporate America.

  18. candyforstalin says:

    rooting for the dodgers is just so damn easy (photograph) (video)

  19. Brian says:

    will there ever be an open thread chat where you allow everybody to be a dick?

  20. So I’m thinking of starting a non-baseball blog to post my writing. Anyone interested in reading my shitty fiction?

  21. Ivan says:

    It’s kind of hard to believe that I once didn’t want Vick on the team when he first signed with the Eagles.

  22. Ivan says:

    This is getting really ugly..I mean Precious Ugly.

  23. (turns on Monday Night Football)

    Holy shit. 28-0 in the first? Good googily moogily.

    Well, at least the Redskins didn’t do anything that would cause permanent damage, like overpaying for 5 years of a declining, over-the-hill quarterback who clearly doesn’t have it anymore.

    Hmm? What’s that you say?

  24. McNabb-to-Galloway would have been a dynamite TD connection… during the Clinton administration.

  25. Carcillo says:

    This game reeks of the Redskins MNF showing against the Giants last year.

    Actually, this game has been even more humiliating.

  26. Mark L says:

    Strongly disagree with that premise — the Yanks had no one in AAA capable of doing what Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston and Eric Hinske did in 2009, both on offense and defense. If the Yanks feature a 2011 bench of Golson, Russo/Curtis, Nunez, Cervelli and Pena — I will be very disappointed. Reminds me too much of the hollow teams of 2004-2008 with no one ever getting rest because none of our bench players could even crack a .600 OPS.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      But the difference is that Hairston/Hinske were available cheaply at the trade deadline. There’s very little reason to lock guys like that up early.

    • what Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston and Eric Hinske did in 200

      All three of them were originally acquired by trade.

      • +1

        He’s actually proving Axisa’s argument. To quote Mike:

        Having a good bench is a tremendous advantage, but Blum represents the kind of help that’s out there. It’s awful, which is why going in-house or making trades for reserves is the way to go.

        The Angels, Reds, and Pirates spent money to acquire depth/bench pieces in Molina, Hairston, and Hinske; when those investments proved to be sunk costs that weren’t likely to help the team, they foisted them off on the Yankees for marginal prospects and/or salary relief. The Angels, Reds, and Pirates spent poorly; the Yankees built a bench wisely.

        • Mark L says:

          What we saw last season, with accomplished vets in their mid-30s going jobless until late February is likely to continue. In principle, we need to be open to unconventional thinking if the New Year rolls around and someone like Magglio Ordonez or Troy Glaus has to choose between early retirement and being a part-timer for the Yanks.

      • Mark L says:

        You can’t always rely on versatile, productive guys to be available in July. No one with Thames skill-set was available for cheap at the deadline and he was our only real protection against LHP for long stretches. Kearns and Berkman didn’t exactly knock the cover off the ball and we gave up more than we probably should have.

        Not suggesting him, but it is a lot smarter to get someone like Wigginton for $1.5 million in December than it is to give up a prospect with decent upside for 2 months of work.

        Other than Montero, Laird is probably the only guy in the upper minors capable of hitting at the ML level in 2011.

        The infield is aging and the outfield is vulnerable to LHP — lets try to bolster the lineup rather than see who we can get for the pennies left in the ashtray in February (Winn).

        • Not suggesting him, but it is a lot smarter to get someone like Wigginton for $1.5 million in December than it is to give up a prospect with decent upside for 2 months of work.

          Agreed. If anybody here thought that Wigginton could actually be had for 1.5M, we’d all be advocating for that.

          Ty Wigginton isn’t signing here for 1.5M, though. That’s not going to happen.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          it is a lot smarter to get someone like Wigginton

          You are aware that starters earn more than bench players, right? Why would Wigginton, or any starter, for that matter, sign as a bench player w/ the Yankees when he could earn more as a starter elsewhere?

          This is part of the problem Cash has in building a bench – the players he would like to sign have the ability to start, and thus earn more, for another team.

        • Stratman9652 says:

          Just throwing this in here as a statement and not an arguement, Berkman may not have knocked the cover off the ball during the season but damn was he valuable when Tex went down in the post season. You don’t lose much by sticking Puma at 1st. Can you imagine the last few games if they had to have Swish at 1st and Kearns or Golson or *shudders* Thames in right? Not to mention the fact that Lance pretty much did rip the cover off the ball in the post season even though they mostly went for outs.

          In terms of actual value I’m still marveling over the brilliance of that trade.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          The problem with Wigginton is that he can’t play short, so they’d have to carry Ramiro Pena anyway. That’s two spots on your four man bench dedicated to the infield.

          • Mark L says:

            Looking at the current free agent market, the Yanks may have to go with Nunez or Pena as the primary reserve at SS. That being said, they should absolutely pursue a more capable hitter who can piece together 60 starts between 3B, 1B, OF or DH. If nothing else, a capable RH bat for the outfield should be a priority, although the trade market seems like a better direction for that need.

            • Bill says:

              Agreed. The team really needs an OF on the bench. Laird is probably not ready yet which means our 4th OF would be someone like Golson. Maybe the team would use Nunez as a backup INF and OF, but Nunez hasn’t played the OF in a while so not sure if the team would go that route.

              I wouldn’t spend much money on a backup OF, but I think the Yankees would be fools to not explore the market and see if they can find another bargain like Thames was this past year.

        • Troy v says:

          Bill Hall might be good but i know he won’t be around come Jan. or Feb.

  27. Carcillo says:

    This is Madden-esque.

  28. Big Stein says:

    Redskins (that’s racist) must be chocking on the $40 million extension to McNabb — it’s 35-zip Philly with 3 full quarters left to play.

  29. Big Stein says:

    This just in: AJ Burnett is reliving Donovan McNabb.

  30. Steve H says:

    I just want to thank Mo that the Patriots wrapped up Brady before this McNabb contract went down. I know hope the salary cap is put back in place and Peyton Manning takes up about 74% of it with his new deal, which, by rule, should dwarf McNabb’s. Insane.

  31. Steve H says:

    Speaking of McNabb, is John Feinstein going comment on the extension? Hell, maybe he’ll even try to make credit.

  32. Ivan says:

    Wow I mean Vick has to be playing a little bit over his head no? I mean he’s throwing the football at Peytonesque level right now for nearly half the season this year.

  33. Steve H says:

    Family Guy ripping on Tim McCarver. Nice.

  34. HOLY SHIT.

    The Eagles are going to win this game in overtime, 76-70.

  35. That Ranger game was awesome!

  36. Carcillo says:

    This reminds me of Packers/Cardinals last year.

    ESPN is salivating.

  37. T-Dubs says:

    TSJC, I hadn’t seen that Chappelle standup in so long. It’s probably the greatest one ever. (nsfw-language)

  38. Anthony Murillo says:

    Anyone been playing Black Ops non-stop? Jesus I can’t put this game down.

    • I got it yesterday; been doing the campaign mode. I beat the Cuba/prison/Khe Sanh/Hue levels thus far.

      • Anthony Murillo says:

        Campagin mode is funnnnnnn. I LOVE most of the maps for live. Nuketown is the Black Ops version of Rust from MWF2 in that it’s super small and it nutssss.

        NOT a fan of those stupid RCXD cars you can controll as a killstreak. They blow.

  39. Steve H says:

    Vick is in straight up Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl mode.

  40. Steve H says:

    Anyone else remember watching the Bills come back from 35-3 down to beat the Oilers in the playoffs? It’s not going to happen tonight, but that comeback was even more insane than this would be if the Skins were able to pull it out.

  41. Vick made a ton of sacrifices to the football gods.

  42. Will says:

    Random question…

    When does the CY Young, ROY, etc voting take place.

    Before or after the postseason.

  43. Avi says:

    Between Thome, Vlad, Matsui, Damon and even Carlos Pena the Yanks might be able to pick up a decent bat relatively cheap. Anyone think it’s a good idea to bring in one of these guys for a contract between $2-5M?
    Vlad will probably end up getting more but the other guys should fall in that range.

    • None of those players can play a non-first base position.

      Pass. No room in the budget, no room on the roster.

    • T-Dubs says:

      So, don’t sign Jeter. Trade for Uggla. Move Cano to short. And then sign {insert near dead former star here}. Quite the squad.

      • T-Dubs: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
        Avi: WAIT ‘TIL I GET GOING! Where was I?

      • Steve H says:

        Let’s sign Dunn to play 1st, A-Rod moves to SS, Tex to 3rd. Trade Burnett for Josh Johnson (Burnett has a World Series ring so he can take a young staff under his wing and make them winners). Sign Jeter and trade him for Hanley. Bring in Ozzie Smith to teach Hanley how to play shortstop, then cut Hanley’s pay in half, which helps make room in the budget for King Felix. I know he’s not a free agent, but we’re the Yankees, so we’ll just make Seattle an offer they can’t refuse, like Igawa and $15 million for Hernandez. If they don’t jump at that offer right away, throw in a Derek Jeter “flip play” bobblehead (not signed though. If signed we’ll have them undo the Morrow trade with the Jays and send Morrow to us with Felix).

        • candyforstalin says:

          that’s a bit unrealistic. burnett has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.

        • Sean C says:

          You forgot traveling back in time and bringing Bonds circa 2001 to DH for us. WIth Bonds + the short porch (not that he’d need help on cheapie home runs or anything), anything less than a 100HR season out him at DH will be unacceptable, and punishable by banishment to Stalin’s Siberia. And, just for fun we’ll throw in a trade of IPK + Melky for Josh Hamilton (Texas could use pitching since we’re obviously taking Lee from them, and Melky could be a decent replacement for Hamilton).

      • bexarama says:

        You forgot sign Andy Pettitte for whatever he wants, and also he hates all pitching moves that do not work out in advance.

  44. Reggie C. says:

    I FEAR that Michael Vick against the Giants D might very well repeat a 5 TD performance.

    • Ivan says:

      The only worry is that the Eagles O-line can be very shaky and the Giants as we all know can pass rush with the best of them. However, if Vick is throwing the ball like he’s Brees, then how can any defense stop that.

  45. Ivan says:

    And I ask myself, What were the other NFL teams thinking not at least offering to try to get Vick.

  46. Ivan says:

    As a Eagle fan, it’s kinda hard to watch McNabb right now…

  47. ChrisR says:

    Am I the only one that feels CJ Wilson is a big mouth? It doesn’t bother me, but it is annoying.

    • bexarama says:

      I remember on… I think it was actually the day those dumb “apathetic or violent” comments came out, but he was on Twitter crying about how Josh Hamilton gets booed when the Rangers and how he shouldn’t be because OMG he turned his life around! Ugh, booing Hamilton has nothing to do with his past, it’s because he’s the best player on your team by a lot, cry moar

  48. Preston says:

    You mean there are better ways to utilize money than spending on the bench. And here I thought we were going to sign Carl Crawford so that Gardner could be the best pinch runner/defensive outfielder ever, Manny Ramirez to be our right handed pinch hitter, Jim Thome to be our Left handed pinch hitter and trade for Dan Uggla (and sign him to a 5 year 75 million dollar extension) to be our super utility guy.

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