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20 Jan

Ramiro Pena (by JonathanF)

Living up here in the land that still thinks Jim Leyritz made the world right (rather than sending all right-thinking Americans into a decade-long funk) I try, unsuccessfully, to avoid following the Yankees. It’s not actually possible to do this if you go out to bars or watch Derek Jeter in Ford commercials or, God forbid, have an opinion about Alex Rodriguez, but it is possible to let the smaller parts fly well beneath the radar. So I managed to spend 2009-2012 without really paying any attention to the Yankee’s main utility infielder, one Ramiro Pena. The fact that anyone earns the major league minimum on a team which throws money at Derek Jeter which they weren’t required to do in his option year (because Jeter) is really odd. What kind of car did Pena manage to drive on his mere $400K? Where in the New York area can one live on a salary that equals the tips that Teixera throws to the clubhouse guy who washes his jockstraps?

So when the Braves got him last year, I really had no opinion at all. I expected, oh, say, Elliot Johnson. His career OPS+ of 46 in the Bronx was certainly uninspiring. Not that he looked like much of a glove guy either – in 170 games (mostly replacing ARod) he managed an aggregate dWAR of 0.3.

But he came to the Braves and in the 50 games he played he was great — at least as greatness is defined in a utility backup — 109 OPS+ and 0.3 dWAR. By way of comparison, Omar Infante’s precedent-setting All-Star Utility year was a 111 OPS+ and 0.9 dWAR in almost three times as many games. Slightly better than what we saw out of Ramiro, but not much.

I hate the Scouts vs. Quants debate, but there was nothing in Ramiro Pena’s performance with Los Yanquis that suggested he had this in him. Some scout has got to be responsible. But then he got hurt and that was that.

So the two questions are: is he healthy and will he regress? Here is my fancy two-by-two chart that assesses his worth:

  Regresses Is Infante-like
Healthy Gwinnett needs a 3rd baseman Days off for Simmons, Johnson and Uggla with no dropoff; rested players in the postseason
Not Healthy Coaching in Monterey Wait Until Next Year

Ramiro’s spring will be one of the most interesting thing happening in Orlando this year.

29 Responses to “Ramiro Pena (by JonathanF)”

  1. 1
    Rob Cope Says:

    From last thread, re: 49ers

    What’s the context there?

  2. 2
    Smitty Says:

    Peyton Manning.

  3. 3
    Nick Says:

    To paraphrase what I said at the end of the other thread:

    The 49ers are to the Falcons as the Dodgers are to the Braves. The Falcons were in the NFC West from their inception in the mid-60s ’til whenever realignment happened (around 2000, I think). The 49ers pretty much bullied the division during that time.

    Secondly, they ruined our Super Bowl run last year.

    Lastly, don’t tell me that you don’t think Jim Harbaugh’s an asshole.

  4. 4
    blazon Says:

    ramiro?
    a zero
    shapiro
    DE NIRO!
    ramiro
    my hero.

  5. 5
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Right. If you were an Atlanta sports fan in the 1980s or early 1990s, you will always hate the San Francisco 49′ers, the way Jets and Dolphins fans hate the New England Patriots. Getting mauled by those Montana/Rice/Young/Owens teams year after year after year… Never, ever, root for the 49′ers. Root for thermonuclear apocalypse first.

    And as Nick points out at #3, if the NFL were willing to call defensive holding and/or pass interference on the 49′ers, the Falcons play the Ravens in the SB last year.

  6. 6
    Smitty Says:

    @5

    Yes. This.

  7. 7
    Zac Says:

    There are a lot of reasons to hate the Patriots. Especially if you have baseball fan’s standards of sportsmanship

  8. 8
    ububba Says:

    As is often the case for any pre-Ryan-Era Falcon fan, the NFL playoffs has again become an exercise of rooting against certain remaining teams. It’s a matter of which team do you hate less? And there are always good & goofy reasons why I’ll go one way or the other.

    This past weekend, I rooted against SF & NE (even though I had SF +3.5 in my pool). Why? Harbaugh, Boldin & Kaps can be tough to take. The Pats? It’s like hearing a radio song too much–it might be “good,” but you’re just sick of it. (And if you wanna go back a ways, there’s “Spygate.”)

    That said, neither remaining team really bothers me that much. Something in me would like to see Peyton get SB #2 (a “good” reason), but I find those Papa John pizza commercials annoying (a goofy reason). So, I guess I’m just rooting for a good game. Probably taking Denver in my playoff pool, but awaiting the final point-spread posting to commit.

    JonF,

    There was no reason whatsoever to believe Pena—a low-average singles hitter who didn’t walk—would do what he did early last year. It was only 100+ PAs, so tough to believe he’d continue in that fashion.

  9. 9
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @7, or if you don’t like murdering people.

  10. 10
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I understand the anti-49er sentiment, I guess, from the perspective of a Falcon fan, but, really, Pete Carroll is not annoying?

  11. 11
    ububba Says:

    Compared to Jim Harbaugh, he’s Weeb Ewbank.

  12. 12
    Rob Cope Says:

    Duly noted. Thanks.

  13. 13
    JonathanF Says:

    ububba: I defer to your Pena aptitude as a guy who had the fortitude to actually pay the Yankees to watch them over that period. I only note that someone must have seen something to suggest that what everybody else saw was wrong. That guy is either a genius, or lucky enough to spot a 100 AB stroke of luck.

    blazon: amazin’

  14. 14
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There is little rational reason to project Ramiro Pena as likely to be more productive than Jordan Schafer in 2014.

  15. 15
    Adam R Says:

    Early in the season, as Pena began to shine, one of the radio guys was talking about how the Braves had Janish and Pena at the top of their list for the utility infield roster spot, and how they couldn’t believe they got both players that they had coveted. Make of that what you will, I guess.

  16. 16
    ububba Says:

    #13
    I’d lean towards luck, in the true sense of the word.

    Either that, or he stole A-Rod’s magic gummy bears on his way out of town.

  17. 17
    Edward Says:

    @14 I hear Slim’s been hanging around the Cheesecake Factory again, though.

  18. 18
    Nick Says:

    @10

    The more you know about Pete Carroll, the less likable he is…there’s no doubt about that. But his is a more subtle unlikability that requires either prior knowledge or research. It’s entirely possible (maybe even probable) that Jim Harbaugh is a better overall person than Pete Carroll.

    The problem is that Harbaugh acts like such a complete jackass on the field that there’s at least one time per 49ers game that I watch where I legitimately hope the official just turns around and punches him in the face.

  19. 19
    Kyle Says:

    I hope he stays around so we can take turns calling him RaPen or RamPen.

  20. 20
    Rob Cope Says:

    @18

    What do you mean in regards to Pete Carroll?

  21. 21
    c. shorter Says:

    Russell Wilson’s pretty easy for me to cheer for: he’s from Richmond and he did great in a year here at UW. *Seems* like a good guy (from whatever you can tell of a person on tv…).

  22. 22
    beege Says:

    Broncos pros:
    They employ two of my all time favorite Dawgs in Champ and Knowshon.
    Broncos cons:
    They beat the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII; they wear orange and blue; they kept Tebow in the news cycle an additional couple of years.
    Seahawks pros:
    I empathize with Seattle- like Atlanta, they have one major pro sports title, EVER (and the team that won that one bolted for OKC); they had the decency to lose to Atlanta in the playoffs last year; their helmets are awesome.
    Seahawks cons:
    Pete Carroll.

    Verdict: like ububba, I want an entertaining game most of all. Ideally it would be a close one with Knowshon or (especially) Champ gaining MVP honors; otherwise I’d prefer a Seahawks win.

  23. 23
    blazon Says:

    so the empathetic Roger Goodell has finally got around to saying the NFL may eliminate the farcical extra point after a touchdown…

    really?

    Here’s a couple of ways to improve the whole process- not tinker with it – copied from another continent…

    touchDOWN…yes, touch it down, in the endzone, on any run – balls caught in there excluded…adds a whole new dimension/drama, if you can hold the runner up give the offense a first down on the 5 or something…modern video helps…

    two…keep the extra point, maybe make it count 2, by making you kick it directly out from where the touchdown was scored, not always in front of the posts…introduces an element of greed/risk – in a close game the runner crossing the line into the endzone out wide is tempted to turn inside before he touches the ball down to make the kick easier…hold him up as he tries to do so and the touchdown is lost…

    please don’t hesitate to ask us Brits any questions you have about your football game.

  24. 24
    blazon Says:

    Joe P has just blogged about Turkey Stearnes –

    who?

    education needed here, Negro Leagues, center fielder, hit more home runs there than anybody etc…bobbed his head and flapped his arms as he ran…what a fabulous name…would have loved to have seen it…

    observe the gait of Turkey Stearnes
    a cursory look discerns
    his aptitude for ball
    the runner in his thrall
    has missed the base, erratic turns.

    http://joeposnanski.com/joeblogs/no-58-turkey-stearnes/#more-1559

  25. 25
    Scump Says:

    @23-

    I played rugby for 15 years, and as such I wholeheartedly second your proposal, but frankly I would be OK if the NFL just forced PATs to be dropkicks.

  26. 26
    Nick Says:

    @23

    Thanks, blazon. We’ll take it under advisement.

    Note: I have no problem with rugby. Perfectly enjoyable sport the few times I’ve watched it. But American football and rugby are not the same thing. Derived from the same origins, but not the same thing.

    @18

    Well, there’s of course the way he left USC and his rules-skirting behavior while there. There’s the way he basically publically disowned Mark Sanchez after Sanchez dared to decide that he actually wanted to make money. And…well, in an attempt to be as apolitical about this as possible, let’s just say you shoule Google the terms “pete carroll” and “9/11 truther” and see what you make of what you find.

  27. 27
    blazon Says:

    @23/25

    nick, no they’re not, agreed but that doesn’t mean things proven to work in one sport can’t help the other…without affecting its integrity…some things are simply nontransferable – the beauty of the forward pass here, the ruck/maul that forms in rugby immediately a runner goes down tackled with the ball…their introduction would change the other game beyond recognition…

    but i believe a basic change will evolve in American football and it won’t have anything to do with rule changes – you could play this way tomorrow if you wanted to and had trained/selected your offensive line in a new skill – the lateral…

    up to 25 years or so ago Rugby’s ‘offensive line’, the scrum, consisted of players who were either tall, heavy or both…6 0f the 8 of them… no one expected them to be fast and even more so, adept with their ball handling skills…they had none, they were in that area a joke as athletes…

    today modern rugby has been transformed…every player now is required to be able to handle the ball in collective passing movements that can sweep across and up and down the field…the beauty of the multi-lateral lateral.

    as treacherous as this may sound to you good guys this will come here, what is there to stop it? just two things, the innate conservatism of the American coaching fraternity(overcome when one brave soul starts to succeed) and the need to recruit and train offensive lineman who in addition to their traditional assets have some speed and a good pair of hands…

    the days of the 350 lb behemoth will be over – and who can be sorry for that?

    cheers, i appreciate the indulgence.

    p.s. remember, in rugby these guys have to play defense as well!

  28. 28
    blazon Says:

    Sports journalism from one of its more pretentious sources comes horribly unstuck with the suicide of its subject…Bill Simmons bites the bullet.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/culturebox/2014/01/essay_anne_vanderbilt_dr_v_s_magical_putter_grantland_s_expos_of_a_trans.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content&mc_cid=eb12b9a7e9&mc_eid=9a24e6a75c

  29. 29
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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