Friday, March 21, 2008

Take a Chance on Me: Jerome Williams

The news the other day was that Jerome Williams came around, hat in hand, trying to get another chance with another team during spring training. He was willing to even start all the way down in A-ball.

What Andrew Baggarly of the Merc mentioned too was that Jerome was a svelte 230 pounds, 40 pounds less than his weight the last time he was a Giants player. No wonder the Giants traded him, he was ballooning up and wasn't listening to the Giants brass so they ditched him.

Jerome Williams was one pitcher I was pinning a lot of hopes on as he rose through the system. Ainsworth I liked more but he always seemed to get injured, for one thing or another. He kept on doing well as he climbed and, at one time, I recall one of the mainstream baseball writers (can't remember if blog or published) compared his accomplishments with Dwight Gooden, and how Jerome's comparables were mostly highly accomplished pitchers.

Then he had his great first season, and lo, here was our next ace, who would pair up very nicely with Jason Schmidt in the rotation. I thought we were going to have a great rotation because all the word I always heard about Jerome was how mature he was, that he had a good makeup. Unfortunately, that was a lot of hooey, as it is clear now that he ate his way out of baseball.

Out of sentimental reasons, I would like to see the Giants give him a chance down that low. (That's why I'm glad they signed Foppert too). At that level, he shouldn't be holding back any of our real prospects. And if he really is in shape and capable of pitching well again in the majors, that only adds to the pitching staff and makes it that much more stronger. I don't see him taking a position on the rotation, but he should be pretty good coming in relief. He can rear back and use his best stuff instead of holding back like when he was a starter and pacing himself. Plus I wouldn't trust that he won't relapse once he is successful again, so a reliever is easier to replace than a starter.

Other News

Lots of other news bits:
  • Nate Schierholtz was sent down to AAA. It was clear he wasn't going to make it, but he got sent down this early because the rules say he has to stay down there 10 days, and the Giants want to be able to bring him back up to the majors if, for some reason, the Giants need an OF by opening day. Could a trade of an OF be in the works? Perhaps to get a 3B.
  • Sabean had an odd way of talking about sending Nate down, due mostly to the fact that he still has options and Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis, and Dan Ortmeier didn't: "He's the victim of the rule, really. It's a matter of keeping our inventory." How's that for being a piece of meat, bought and sold.
  • Also going down to Fresno with Nate are Travis Ishikawa (finally!), Travis Denker (skips horrible Dodd Stadium, lucky him), and Billy Sadler. In addition, they reassigned Emmanuel Burriss, Ivan Ochoa, and Victor Santos to the minor league camp.
  • Swimming upstream is Ryan Rohlinger 3B of Level A Augusta, who was brought back to the major league camp, after coming up for single games at a time, and the Giants are serious about giving him a chance to win the 3B job. He hit for a ton of power in A-ball, but not much for average, so he looks to be a low (very low, Mendoza level of badness) average hitter who can hit for some power.
  • On that note, Eugenio Velez apparently has made the 25 man starting day roster, and is in the running for the 3B position as well. He had a good spring and forced the team to consider him.
  • Falling down in the running during the spring was Dan Ortmeier for 1B, though the Giants at least realize that part of his struggles were because of the difficulties of a crash course learning how to play 1B. However, he has started getting hot again, getting a homer in his last game. But right now it looks like Rich Aurilia will get 1B, which leaves 3B open to a number of candidates: Frandsen, Rohlinger, Velez.
  • The rotation looks like Zito, Cain, Lincecum, Sanchez, Correia, in that order so that Zito would not pitch right after him. Misch will probably be the first or second to be called up from AAA.
  • The bullpen is full of surprises. Kline is doing horribly and could be traded or even released. Messenger was waived the other day and cleared so the Giants sent him down to the majors. They are very seriously considering Erick Threets, who had done OK this spring, and is also out of options. Merkin Valdez is showing his magic again and looks like he will get a spot. Jack Taschner has had a superb spring training, and probably got another spot even though he still has an option for the season and the other pitchers have no options.
  • The Giants have announced a change in size, with the bullpen having seven pitchers now: Brian Wilson, Tyler Walker (who learned the split-finger fastball over the off-season), Brad Hennessey, Vinnie Chulk, Jack Taschner, and Merkin Valdez plus the seventh guy.

2 comments:

  1. The Giants must be collecting all of their old failed prospects ;)

    Todd Linden could be a free agent again soon!

    How far our trio of Ainsworth, Foppert, and Williams has fallen. Just goes to show, that prospects aren't always a sure fire thing (especially pitching prospects too).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just the pitchers, else Cody Ransom would have been back by now. :^)

    Now you are sounding like Brian Sabean, if you want a likelihood of a certain performance, you have to go with a veteran player and not a rookie.

    And it's not just our trio, the A's and Met's once had a QUARTET of pitching prospects in the early 90's, really good prospects, better than this trio, and none of them ever became even a mediocre starting pitcher, the A's set produced some middling relievers, the Mets only had Isringhausen, and I don't think he even start doing well until he was out of NY.

    I think it says more about how prospects who aren't in the Top 20-30 in the entire MLB are not really sure things, let alone by top 20-30 of a team. Some fans think that prospects is way better than vets because they are young and cheap, but the fact is that the vast majority of them end up as road kill on the journey to the majors, even the ones who make the top prospects list for a team, even the ones who make the top overall lists. Particularly if you are a winning team and getting poor draft picks past the 20th pick, when the quality of players available drop drastically after the 10th pick, after dropping pretty drastically after the 5th pick.

    That's why I'm heartened by the fact that Villalona is making most of the top overall lists by analysts. He's likely to amount to something good, and most young ones move fast too, so we could see him in the majors by the end of 2009, in a call-up much like Cain. Imagine, he would just have turned 19 at that time and already would be a veteran of 3 professional seasons by that time, should he make it up.

    ReplyDelete

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