As I sit here waiting for my afternoon coffee to brew, I am watching a game on MLBN between the Braves and Mets. I would rather watch the Cardinals, of course, but I have always liked Atlanta and I like the mini-rivalry the Mets and Cardinals have, since they ended our run in the 2000 NLCS and we got revenge in '06. A couple things about today's game jump out at me.
First, the starter for the Braves is Tommy Hanson, the pitcher ranked by BA the #4 prospect in baseball. I would love to have Hanson on the Cardinals, he mixes speeds and has a sharp curveball, good change, but I think the Braves are smart to have gotten help and start him out in the minors. His control isn't quite there and a month or three against weaker competition should do him good. The way Jake Peavy has pitched in the WBC(small sample size, but he appeared to have some dead arm issues), I'm sure the Braves are glad they held on to this guy.
Second, the starting third baseman and cleanup hitter for the Mets is Fernando Tatis. And as I write this, he just belted a two-run homer that got over the left field fence in a hurry. With the outfiled in New York as wide open as it is, it looks like he is going to continue his resurgence and play nearly every day. Now, I wasn't a very mature Cardinal fan in 2000, but I never understood why we gave up Tatis, who, after being acquired for Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemeyer in '98, played 300 games at third base for the Cardinals, hit .282/.389/.519 for a .906 OPS, 58 HR and 197 RBI as a 24-25 year-old (and let us not forget the oft-trivia'd two grand slams in an inning), was shipped off for Steve Kline and Dustin Hermanson. He never amounted to much afterward, but I can't help but wonder...
The topic of this post, though, was inspired by a conversation going on between the announcers today regarding Chipper Jones and his unreliability. Jones, they say, is a good player but you never know when he's going to be on the field. Jones has been in the press lately over his negative comments toward the WBC, in which he got injured, something he does frequently. Because of injuries, Jones has averaged just 510 plate appearances over the last four years, but in those 2043 PA he's OPS'd over 1.000 consistently. You take any replacement-level third baseman and give him 200 PA and you've still got a darned good 3B platoon over the course of the season. I would rather have Chipper Jones on my team than any other 3B save Wright, ARod, or Longoria.