FIRE JOE MORGAN: Sutcliffe Steps It Up For The Playoffs


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Thursday, October 04, 2007


Sutcliffe Steps It Up For The Playoffs

It's been a while, old friend. Rick Sutcliffe has done us the kindness of putting something down on paper for the Diamond Daily section of And boy, is it wrong.


Bear in mind that about seven times out of time, when an analyst calls a player an "X-Factor" it's because that player is normally not very good, so an above-average performance gives you a significant advantage over what the guy typically does. I guess "X" means mediocre.

The Chicago Cubs have that type of player you want in the postseason: Ryan Theriot.

No. Nope. Not really. I think you'd want more Aramis Ramirezes or Derrek Lees or Alfonso Sorianos. Theriots grow on baseball player trees.

Lou Piniella saw Theriot busting his butt in spring training, but he was pressing for a couple of weeks. Piniella told Theriot he was on the team and he needed to just let the game come to him. Piniella talks about having certain types of players who are winners, and Theriot is that kind of player.

This winner wins to the tune of a .245 EqA. That is awful. And if you believe in BP's FRAA, he's at -4.

Piniella told me that Theriot will have a World Series ring before his career is over; furthermore, he compared his shortstop to Craig Counsell and David Eckstein -- players similar in style to Theriot, and both have two World Series rings.

Remember when David Eckstein played all nine positions and beat the Tigers in the World Series all by himself? And Piniella's being modest about Counsell -- he won a dozen straight rings pitching, fielding, hitting, managing, general managing and owning the Carolina Counsells, whose team picture consisted of Craig Counsell posing in front of a mirror. (He was also team photographer.)

Ryan Theriot has as good a chance of getting a ring as literally any other player in this year's playoffs. Probably less than most, actually.

When the Cubs need someone on base or to ake a play made in the field, Theriot usually makes something happen. The Cubs have a front-line starter in Carlos Zambrano, a solid No. 2 in Ted Lilly and offensively they have power hitters Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

Yes, those are their good players. Those are the players Theriot should get on his knees and thank if the Cubs are so fortunate as to win the championship this year. Theriot should get marginal credit unless he carries them over the next fifteen or so games.

But players like Theriot usually are difference makers in the postseason -- someone who steps up and steals the attention from the big boys. Just look at David Eckstein last year being named the World Series MVP.

"Usually"? I'm looking back at David Eckstein's World Series MVP...okay, now I'm looking a little further back, and I'm seeing

Jermaine Dye
Manny Ramirez
Josh Beckett
Troy Glaus
Derek Jeter
Mariano Rivera

These guys look more like Theriot or more like "big boys" to you? You have to go all the way back to Atrocious Scott Brosius in 1998 to find another shitty player. And at least that year was actually his best regular season, when he posted a .297 EqA.

Anyway, Sut, I'll make you an offer. Construct your team, your Tennessee Theriots, and enter them into the playoffs. Keep in mind this team will slug .346, score 4.1 runs per game, and hit 27 home runs all year. As a team. That's right. Ryan Theriot hit 3 home runs all season. The Theriots will be a team full of winners. Guys who bust their butts. X-Factors. They won't play baseball well, but that's secondary. It's the motherfucking playoffs now.

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posted by Junior  # 12:45 PM
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