Tag: Ryan Theriot

Bruce Bochy: Breaking Down the San Francisco Giants Manager

Leadership is a very difficult thing to write about because it cannot be measured or quantified.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t significant, or that it doesn’t exist.

According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, Giants manager Bruce Bochy met with the team before the game on Friday to demand more toughness and competitiveness of his troops, particularly from his slumping offense. The Giants went out and responded with a season-high 16 runs.

Perhaps the Giants busted out because of Bochy’s leadership skills, or, perhaps it had more to do with playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field against one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. It’s impossible to say what caused the outburst, but we shouldn’t sell Bochy’s qualities as a leader of men short.

Bochy does several things very well as a manager. His biggest strength is without question his handling of the pitching staff, particularly the bullpen. Since Bochy took over as manager in 2007, no team has a better ERA than the Giants.

Some of that is obviously due to the Giants having good pitchers throwing in a pitcher-friendly stadium, but a lot of the credit also has to go to Bochy’s handling of those arms, with major assistance from pitching coach Dave Righetti.

On the offensive side of things, Bochy does a good job of avoiding small-ball tactics. The Giants are sixth in the league in adding runs on the bases because Bochy green-lights his fast runners while encouraging his slower runners to play it conservatively.

The Giants don’t run into a lot of unnecessary outs, and they also don’t throw away many outs with the sacrifice bunt. Outs are the scarcest resource at a manager’s disposal, so unless you are bunting with the pitcher, bunting for a hit or attempting to squeeze home a run, bunting away an out is usually the wrong tactical move.

Bochy does a good job of leading his troops, handling his pitchers and valuing outs properly with the offense. However, my one criticism of his managerial style is the way he handles the lineup.

The number two spot in the lineup is of critical importance, yet Bochy continues to hit Ryan Theriot there. Theriot is currently hitting a tepid .267/.314/.316 with nearly as many double-plays (9) as extra base hits (13). He doesn’t walk, hit for power or get on base much in front of the Giants four best hitters: Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval (currently on the DL).

To be fair, part of the problem is the that the front office has not provided him with many better options to put at the top of the lineup.

The other gripe I have with Bochy is that he is overly dependent on small sample sizes when he makes the lineup, preferring to play the hot hand in favor of taking the longer view, and allowing guys to play through slumps.

Nate Schierholtz summed up the issue well when he recently told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I just felt like I had a short leash. It was series by series, if I didn’t perform for three games, that was my chance. It got frustrating at times. We didn’t see eye to eye.”

Playing the hot hand has its benefits, but it can also be detrimental to the development of younger players like Schierholtz and Brandon Belt.

Belt certainly has struggled in the big leagues, and there is certainly an argument to be made that he has not earned more playing time. At the same time, the fact that over the last two seasons he’s only been placed in the starting lineup 113 times by Bochy speaks volumes to how much he’s been jerked around.

Inconsistent,erratic playing time makes it very difficult to evaluate a young player, as we still have less than a whole season of playing time in which to evaluate Belt, despite the fact that he’s been in the big leagues for all of this season and a large chunk of last year.

On the whole, the Giants obviously have a very good manager in Bruce Bochy. He led the franchise to its first world series championship in San Francisco just two seasons ago. His trust in his starting pitchers and handling of the bullpen has led to some excellent run prevention during his tenure. He also trusts the hitters he puts in the lineup to get the job done by avoiding the sacrifice bunt.

Perhaps he could be more patient with his younger hitters like the recently departed Schierholtz, and Belt, who has been benched in favor of non-prospect Brett Pill twice in the past three games.

Alas, no manager is perfect, and most managerial criticisms are going to be subjective anyway. The Giants have a manager good enough to steer the ship to a world series title, and that is all that really matters in the end.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Hot Stove: St. Louis Cardinals Trade For Ryan Theriot, Sign Brian Tallet

The St. Louis Cardinals made their first move toward upgrading their offense on Tuesday, trading right-hander Blake Hawksworth to the Los Angeles Dodgers for shortstop Ryan Theriot.

Theriot became expendable earlier this week when Los Angeles signed Juan Uribe, who can play multiple infield positions like Theriot, but has a little more pop.

Theriot, who holds a career batting average of .284, represents a significant offensive upgrade for a team that got a combined .244 out of their middle infielders in 2010, and a .221 mark out of their shortstops.

Theriot also has 165 of his 589 starts at second base, where he could spell Skip Schumaker against lefties. Schu holds a .220 career average against left-handers, and a .303 average against righties. Conversely, Theriot holds a .302 average against lefties, and a .277 average against righties.

A former Cub, Ryan also has experience in the National League Central. He holds a .303 average against NL Central pitchers.

At this point, Theriot will likely lead off, although he will need to improve his .323 on-base percentage from last year, a career low. Theriot brings speed to a previously plodding lineup, as he’s stolen at least 20 bases in the past four seasons. Last year, Albert Pujols led the team with 14 steals.

Now that Theriot projects as a starter in the middle infield, either Brendan Ryan or Skip Schumaker may be expendable next week at the Winter Meetings. The Cardinals would still like to improve their offense, and may package one of their middle infielders in a deal.

Then again, they may decide to head into 2011 with a deep middle infield consisting of Ryan, Theriot, and Schumaker, all relatively low-cost options. Theriot is under contract through 2012, and made just $2.6 million in 2010.

The Cardinals will send Blake Hawksworth to L.A. in the deal. Hawksworth experienced some success as a swingman for the Cardinals in 2009 and ’10, but the Cardinals had a surplus of right-handed relief.

In a not entirely unrelated move, the Cardinals may have solved another issue, signing left-handed reliever Brian Tallet to a one-year deal. Tallet was released by the Blue Jays last month, and the Cardinals, who were looking for a left-handed specialist to replace Dennys Reyes, snatched him up.

Tallet had a 6.40 ERA last season, and coughed up 20 homers, but he also held left-handers to a .176 average. The Cardinals plan to employ him as a specialist, so he may have more success in limited action.

Theriot and Tallet were teammates at Louisiana State University, where they won a national title in 2000. The Cardinals are hoping that they can duplicate that success in the majors.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Dodgers’ Musical Bases: Weighing Five LA Second Baseman Possibilities for 2011

One of the main concerns for GM Ned Colletti and the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason is finding a permanent solution for second base. For Dodgers fans, the last few seasons have been confusing in the middle infield, as several journeyman veterans and utility players have stepped in, taking turns manning the right side of the infield.

The upcoming season appears to be heading in the same direction. However, it is also possible with major names on the free agent market, the Dodgers will be able to sign a solid fielder with a productive bat to a multi-year deal.

With the future beyond the 2011 season in mind, let’s examine the possibilities of a second baseman with stability-type qualities for the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Also check out: One Spot Left: Should the LA Dodgers Sign Vicente Padilla or Brandon Webb?

Begin Slideshow

2011 MLB Free Agents: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Future Uncertain

Amidst a failing 2010 campaign, a messy divorce between owners, and uncertainty regarding funds for next season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have several key players that will be eligible for free agency next season.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has said that, given a likely lack of funds stemming from the McCourt divorce, he is uncertain regarding the approaching free agency period.

Given the circumstances, here are possible outcomes for all of the possible 2011 Dodgers free agents.

Begin Slideshow

Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, Octavio Dotel: Feel Better Fans?

Well the clock has ticked past the magic witching hour when teams have a last chance to cure what ails ’em via non-waiver trade. The Los Angeles Dodgers were very active at the deadline just as GM Ned Coletti promised. Boy oh boy, is the NL West ever in for it now!

If you detect a hint of sarcasm, then you’re far more astute than Ned. Then again, I have old socks that are more astute than Ned.

With the team floundering offensively and their playoff chances dwindling with each passing inning, the Dodgers go forth into the marketplace and snag… hold your breath… Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, and Octavio Dotel.

Let me run that by you again as I doubt the significance of these acquisitions could be fully appreciated in just one passing. Here we go: Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, and Octavio Dotel.

Now that your pulse has slowed down and your giddiness has passed, let’s revel in the moment here and bask in the Coletti Glow.

Look, Ted Lilly is a decent back-of-the-rotation arm, and yes, the Dodgers could use one. On the surface a Blake DeWitt for Lilly deal isn’t a bad move. It’s not a “World Series Here We Come” stroke of genius either. I would have liked this trade a LOT better if it had occured in March. As things are right now, it seems too little, too late.

Ryan Theriot? Uh…OK. I guess. A little more speed at 2B I suppose, but hardly a difference maker. You get the feeling the Cubs wouldn’t let Lilly go unless we took Theriot too. I don’t blame them. Still, it makes losing DeWitt less of an issue, not that he was much of a factor anyway.

The return of Dotel is a real head-scratcher. I understand the bullpen is shaky. By adding Dotel, the end result is… well, a shaky bullpen.

When you consider that the Dodgers just traded Blake DeWitt, Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, James McDonald and Andrew Lambo for The Big Three of Lilly, Theriot, and Dotel you have to wonder why the same group couldn’t net an Oswalt or Dunn.

The Dodgers took on another $3 million in payroll with these moves so I guess Coletti used all of the $2-3 mil Frank gave him to “play with” and did what he could to address the team’s immediate needs. The sad fact is that this really doesn’t enhance the Dodgers chances at making a run deep into the playoffs. Heck, you have to wonder if it’s even enough to make a run at the Wild Card.

All hope is not lost, however. Coletti still has a pretty big chip to play with in Manny Ramirez. Manny would certainly clear waivers and could possibly bring a bona fide, can’t miss prospect or at the very least a decent mid-level player.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Manny take his hammy to the AL Central for a kid like Dayan Viciedo. I mean, why not? Do we really believe Manny is going to come back and tear it up like he did in ’08? Or even pick up where he left off?

I’m sure Boras is telling Manny to take it easy and to protect his legs in hopes of pulling in a couple of million to DH someplace next year. I’d rather get something for Manny while we can than bet on him regaining his form and taking us to the promised land this year.

The bottom line is, with or without Manny the core group of Ethier, Kemp, Loney, and Martin need to start producing. Now. Billingsley, Kershaw, Kuroda and Padilla need to stay solid and Lilly needs to fit into the rotation without skipping a beat. Time is running out and we can’t wait for Manny to be Manny.

Of course, we have Theriot. Watch out National League.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Cubs Trade Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot To Los Angeles Dodgers

The Chicago Cubs made an unsurprising move at today’s trade deadline shipping starting pitcher Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit.

In Lilly, the Dodgers add a veteran arm that will fit nicely into the middle of their rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.

This has been Lilly’s worst year record-wise in his four seasons with the Cubs, posting a 3-8 record but boasts an ERA of 3.69 and 1.14 WHIP.

Lilly’s numbers have not been as great as they have been in previous years, but his 3-8 record is quite misleading as he has gotten little run support from the terrible Cubs offense.

The Dodgers also receive Theriot in the deal with the Cubs who has had a solid season at the dish with a .284 batting average, but has been below average fielder especially since moving over to second base, where he would likely play with the Dodgers.

As for the Cubs side of this deal, I believe they did quite well considering Lilly will likely only be a rental for the Dodgers and that Theriot had really fallen out of favor with the Cubs because of his poor defensive play.

In the trade, the Cubs add an immediate replacement for Theriot in DeWitt, who is younger, with a good amount of upside and is under team control until 2014.

DeWitt has similar offensive stats as Theriot with a .270 batting average 30 RBI and only one home run, but DeWitt is slightly better than Theriot in the field, plus is five years younger than Theriot.

Of the two minor league players that the Cubs acquired in the trade, Wallach has the highest upside. 

Wallach is the son of former Major League pitcher Tim Wallach and is rated 20th among Dodger prospects by Baseball America. Wallach figures to be a third spot in the rotation type of guy, but is still far off as he currently resides in Single-A.

The other minor leaguer that the Cubs received from the Dodgers is reliever Kyle Smit, who just recently jumped from Single-A to Double-A. This season in the minors Smit has posted a 5-3 record with an ERA of 2.35 in 53.2 innings pitched.

As for who wins this trade, it is difficult to say right now. If the Dodgers somehow catch the Padres in the West or capture the Wild Card I would give them the edge.

However, as it stands right now, I would have to give the edge to the Cubs as the Dodgers get a rental starting pitcher and an average middle infielder for two solid pitching prospects, and a young middle infielder who is similar to who they acquired.

As a Cubs fan I am very pleased with this trade, although it is tough to see fan favorite Lilly go, it is nice to see that the Cubs were able to get good value out of him. Plus, the Cubs also add DeWitt, who I have had my eye on since his rookie season.

All in all, I believe this is a good trade for the Dodgers in the here and now, but next year and beyond this trade only helps the Cubs and not the Dodgers.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Deadline: Former Yankee Ted Lilly Headed To The Dodgers

Former New York Yankees manager, Joe Torre, will be reuniting with one of his former pitchers. Ted Lilly is reportedly on his way to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Chicago Cubs. The Los Angeles Dodgers are buyers at the trade deadline as they have just completed a deal with the Chicago Cubs to try for a playoff push. Here is the outline of the deal. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers Get:


  • Pitcher Ted Lilly – 18 Games Started 3W-8L
  • Infielder Ryan Theriot – 96 Games 1HR 21RBI

The Chicago Cubs Acquire:


  • Blake DeWitt – 82 Games 1 HR 30 RBI
  • Pitcher Brett Wallach – (In The Minors) 6W-0L
  • Pitcher Kyle Smit – (In The Minors) 5W-3L — 6 Sv

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot Traded To Dodgers: Fantasy Impact

According to MLB Network, the Dodgers have acquired Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot from the Cubs for Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Brett Wallach & Kyle Smit.

The Dodgers Get
They needed depth in the rotation, behind Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley & Hiroki Kuroda (and Vicenta Padilla).  Lilly has always been a solid pitcher and 2010 is no different, with a 3.69 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.  He has benefited from some luck with a .261 BABIP, but that mark isn’t far off from his past couple of seasons:

  • 2007 – .272
  • 2008 – .283
  • 2009 – .270

His fantasy vale remains relatively flat due to the move.

Theriot should step into the starting spot at 2B.  His hit near the top of the order for the Cubs, but with Rafael Furcal and the newly acquired Scott Podsednik, he is going to be hitting near the bottom of the order.  That will hurt his ability to score runs and he has little power to speak of.  Plus, he may have fewer opportunities to run.  While he enters a better lineup, his little fantasy appeal takes a small hit.

The Cubs Get
DeWitt may have a little more power then Theriot (he did hit 9 HR in ‘08), but has no real speed.  He may not get everyday AB, potentially sharing time with Mike Fontenot.  At best, he’s a low-end option in deeper fantasy formats.

Wallach is 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA and 92 K over 84.2 innings at Single-A.  He was a third round draft pick for the Dodgers in 2009 and struggles last season in his professional debut (5.23 ERA over 31.0 innings).

Smit is a right-handed relief pitcher who has seen time at Single and Double-A this season.  Overall he has a 2.35 ERA and 47 K over 53.2 innings.  Unless he can develop into a closer, he’s not likely to hold fantasy value.

What are your thoughts on this deal?  Who is affected most?

Make sure to check out our trade deadline analysis:

Keep checking www.rotoprofessor.com  for all the fantasy fallout from the deadline deals as we cover the moves as they happen!

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Cubs: Who’s the Odd Man Out?

Friday is Aramis Ramirez’s 32nd birthday. It’s also the day that he will be activated off of the disabled list.

In order to make room for the embattled third baseman, somebody needs to move off the 25-man roster. Since the team has only just started a stretch of 20 days without an off day, they can’t afford to go with fewer than 12 pitchers.

That means, while Ramirez might have a very happy birthday tomorrow, one of the club’s position players will be less than thrilled.

I think it’s safe to say that Colvin has earned himself some job security in the outfield. No need to worry about him catching a plane to Iowa.

Catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill are obviously safe, too. There’s no way this club is going to carry fewer than two catchers at any point in time.

If for no other reason, Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Xavier Nady, and Marlon Byrd are all unlikely to get demoted because they have more than five years of major league service time. As such, they would have to consent to the demotion.

Since Kosuke Fukudome has a partial no-trade clause, he would also have to consent to a demotion, putting him in the same boat.

That leaves Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Starlin Castro, Jeff Baker and Chad Tracy.

Theriot’s season has been very much a down year so far and has only improved to inconsistent lately. He would have to clear optional assignment waivers first, but “The Riot” does have two options remaining.

Fontenot has slowed considerably off of his hot start, but that cooling has only been very recent. He has a slash line of .091/.130/.091 in his last 23 plate appearances heading into Thursday, and has one option remaining, but would also have to clear optional assignment waivers.

Castro started his big league career very hot, but has cooled off since (.193/.255/.227 in his last 99 plate appearances). Cubs fans might not like to hear it, but the front office could decide that he could use some seasoning in Triple-A.

Baker is out of options, meaning that he’ll have to be put on waivers before a demotion, and he’s been hitting better recently (.324/.350/.486 in his last 40 plate appearances), but he just hasn’t had a very good year overall (.250/.299/.417).

Tracy has more than five years of major league service time, like the four veteran Cubs I mentioned earlier, but he consented to being optioned on May 7. Although he did great in Triple-A during his most recent stay there, he just hasn’t swung the bat well for the major league Cubs.

The fact that the two LSU alums (Theriot and Fontenot) would need to pass through optional assignment waivers makes me think that they wouldn’t be moved unless a trade was imminent. Since Theriot has been included in trade rumors lately, he could get designated for assignment, but I just don’t get the feeling that that move will happen any time soon, if at all.

Castro may or may not benefit from spending some time in Iowa, but there is probably too much hype surrounding him to send him down, unless he continues to struggle. The simple fact is that he’s the type of player that could just as easily get his seasoning in the big leagues as he could in Triple-A.

In other words, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

So now we’re left with the two players that are widely believed to be the front-runners for a move anyways: Jeff Baker and Chad Tracy.

Baker can play anywhere in the infield and at either corner outfield position, has been hitting better lately, and would have to clear waivers before being sent down. Tracy can play the corner infield (and possibly corner outfield) positions, provides a left-handed bat, hasn’t been hitting in the big leagues this year, doesn’t have to go through waivers, and might be willing to consent to another demotion.

The Cubs already made this decision once, so I would assume that they’ll go in the same direction again.

I’m not a betting man, but I’d put my money on Chad Tracy being the odd man out. It’s simply the move that takes the least away from the team right now and gives them the most flexibility with their roster going forward.

EDIT (6/25): Apparently, I overlooked a clause in Tracy’s contract that only allowed him to be optioned in the first 45 days of the season. It appears that whoever gets moved off the 25-man roster might end up out of the organization altogether.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Cubs: Revisiting Ryan Theriot’s Struggles

I recently wrote an article comparing the Cubs’ two leadoff hitters, Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome, in which I ultimately came to the conclusion that Theriot was the better option to hit atop the batting order in large part because Fukudome might find himself on the bench before too long.

Shortly thereafter, Lou Piniella decided to replace Theriot at second base with Mike Fontenot and said the move might “be more than a one day thing.” Suffice it to say that I wasn’t feeling too smart when that news came across the wires.

I’m not against the move.

Fontenot is a good ballplayer and has played well enough to deserve a starting spot that isn’t dependent on Aramis Ramirez’s injury status. And since Fukudome hasn’t found himself mired in a complete slump yet, he should be able to hold down the leadoff spot.

I just think that Theriot is a much better ballplayer than his current statline would suggest, so I looked for a reason that he might be underperforming. The data that I was looking through led me to believe that he was being pitched differently and having a little bad luck.

It wasn’t until Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh that a much more likely explanation finally surfaced for me, courtesy of Pirates broadcasters Tim Neverett and Bob Walk.

Maybe I’m the last horse to cross the finish line on this one, but Theriot’s slump appears to have begun the day he shifted to second base.

I know that correlation doesn’t imply causation (insert Statistics 101 reference to ice cream sales and drowning rates here), but it’s a very interesting correlation, to say the least.

Before Starlin Castro was called up on May 7, shifting Theriot to the keystone, the Cubs’ scrappy leadoff hitter had a slash line of .341/.374/.390 in 182 plate appearances.

More specifically, Theriot was on a tear in his last 15 games at short, boasting a slash line of .435/.458/.507 in 73 plate appearances. That’s an almost Pujols-esque OPS of .966 for a little over two weeks.

From May 7 until now, his slash line is a scary .205/.224/.205 in 86 plate appearances. Two times hit by a pitch, no walks, and no extra base hits.

He just stopped putting up any numbers whatsoever.

Now, with this in mind, I looked back at his swing rates for the season on FanGraphs. This time I focused on his swing rates relative to the strike zone instead of overall swing rate to take a closer look at his approach at the plate.

Sure enough, I overlooked something potentially important in my previous research.

Theriot’s overall swing rate is the highest of his career by less than one percent, which I noticed before. If I had taken a gander at a column just to the left of that information, though, I might have seen the larger problem.

This year, “The Riot” is swinging at 24.3 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. For his career, including this year’s higher-than-normal rate, that number sits at 20.8 percent.

Although it’s not a huge difference, it seems significant enough that it might signal that something’s wrong.

As far as I know, there is no resource that allows you to break down this information by date, so I don’t definitively know if there is a difference in swing rate rate before and after Castro’s call-up.

But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the rate he’s posting right now is inflated by what he’s done in the interim.

Maybe he’s adjusting to the move back to his old position and carrying that adjustment over to batter’s box. Maybe he’s been pressing because playing time among the corps of middle infielders is being spread a little thinner. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Or maybe I’m just an eternal optimist.

At the moment, I think that Theriot just needs to relax and be the player many Cubs fans have come to love.

Maybe that will finally happen with him out of the starting lineup.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress