Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Forgotten Superstars-Bert Blyleven

Today's installment of forgotten superstars talks about someone that might eventually join the Hall of Fame in pitcher Bert Blyleven.
Blyleven is now a color commentator for the Minnesota Twins and got some unwanted attention for cursing on the air during a Twins pre-game show.

Blyleven pitched for 5 teams with 2 stints in Minnesota included with time with the Rangers,Pirates,Indians and Angels.
Bert was a pitching stalwart on two championship teams with the 1979 Pirates along with the 1987 Twins and ranks with some of the best pitchers in career numbers.
His 287 career wins ranks above Hall of Famers such as Fergie Jenkins,Bob Gibson,Jim Palmer and Bob Feller to name a few,while he ranks fifth on the all time strikeout list with 3,701.
Bert's 60 career shutouts is the ninth highest career total in baseball history as well.
I still rank the Blyleven curve as the best breaking curve that I have ever seen and many hitters would agree with me.
Some voters use that Blyleven fell short of 300 wins,but I would counter that with the amount of bad teams that Bert hurled for.
Blyleven did not pitch on a winning team after his rookie year of 1970 until 1977 in Texas and during that run never won fewer than 13 games,including a 20 win season in 1973 for the 81-81 Twins.
After leaving Pittsburgh in after the 1980 season,he moved to the poor Indians and won 19 games in1984 for a 75 win team.
If you figure in an average year for Blyleven in 1982 (only 2 wins due to injury),he likely reaches 300 wins and already is enshrined in Cooperstown.
Using Baseball Reference's 10 most comparable pitchers to Blyleven,the omission of Blyleven from the Hall becomes even more striking as 8 of the 10 pitchers listed are in the Hall currently and the other two (Tommy John and Jim Kaat) are near misses.
With a weaker crop on this year ballot,this could be the year for Blyleven and he certainly deserves to be a Hall of Famer,not a forgotten superstar.

Bullpen Notes

Not sure on what to think about the Tigers obtaining Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins for Cameron Maybin,Andrew Miller and other prospects.
I like the fact that the Tigers are going after a title,but between this trade and the Edgar Renteria deal earlier with Atlanta,they have gutted their farm system to the point of having literally nothing there for the conceivable future.
The Tigers look to have a murderous lineup,but a caveat for them.
They already have two injury prone players in Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez,so injuries could sink them with having little depth.
From the Marlins view,I like it a lot.
Maybin could eventually be a true impact player and Miller adds another power arm to an organization loaded with them.
Watch for both of those two to play huge roles in Florida next year.......

Boston appears to be the front runner in the Johan Santana derby as supposedly the Yankees and Angels are balking at the asking price.
I cannot blame "New York lite" for going after the best pitcher in the game,but this screams baseball's problem loudly.
The few money teams can spend more in the draft to build up prospects to trade for players that have to be moved for salary reason or they can just sign them later outright.
Either way,the playing field isn't level and never will be until these smaller teams stand up and demand one instead of taking a small grain of salt every once in a while to shut up.

The Orioles are doing their usual shop everyone and trade no one deal again.
We hear the Birds are talking with the Cubs about Brian Roberts,the Cardinals about Miguel Tejada and the Mets (among others) about Erik Bedard.
The usual stance in talks with Baltimore is this-talk,talk,talk,get close to a deal,take the deal to owner Peter Angelos.
Angelos then turns down proposed deal.
I can see deals with Tejada and/or Bedard getting done in the right fashion,but Roberts is Angelos favorite player.
That would stun me.

Speaking of stunned,how about the Nationals trade for Elijah Dukes for prospect pitcher Glenn Gibson?
Dukes,a noted character player,could compete for a starting outfield spot in Washington,if he can keep things straight.
Dukes has been suspended by Tampa many times,impregnated an underage young lady that was a foster child with a family member,threatened to murder his wife and recently walked out and quit on his winter league team.
Nice to see that Jim Bowden is trying to build a character team in DC.
Tom Boswell has a great column on the deal and Dukes in the Washington Post.
Gibson ,meanwhile,was thought to have been assigned here to the Suns for 2008.

The Pirates are shopping Jason Bay and that should not surprise anyone.
Nor should Cleveland being involved be a shock,but the names that are involved are.
The Post-Gazette is reporting the talks being Bay and Ronny Paulino for outfielder Franklin Gutierrez,backstop Kelly Shoppach and pitcher Cliff Lee,although it has been mentioned that Lee could be replaced with a pitching prospect.
I like Gutierrez a lot and Shoppach is average enough to easily replace "Loafin Ronny",but Lee has always been an average pitcher that won games with huge run support,was injured last year,had problems in the clubhouse and will be under contract for at least two years.
Plus the Pirates one strength is young pitchers with good attitudes,why gamble on Lee to ruin that?
I can see a steadying veteran pitcher brought in to help.but judging by last year's issues,I don't think Lee is the guy.
I don't really have anything against Cliff Lee,I just don't think he fits the Pirates needs very well.
Now I cannot see Cleveland putting Adam Miller into this deal,but maybe Chuck (Mr Friendly) Lofgren in the deal might work and then I would perhaps do it.
Under that deal,you add a talented MLB ready center fielder in Gutierrez,who can move to a corner when Andrew McCutchen arrives,a serviceable catcher to get you by for a while in Shoppach and a power armed lefty for the future in Lofgren.
The other two teams that are rumored to want Bay are the Padres and Rangers.

The New Jersey Devils return to action tonight at the Rock vs the Bruins at 7;00.
Coverage here tomorrow.

No comments: