I have a theory here. The theory is that Alan Embree was long ago this year on the ropes due to his effectiveness, and this was during the period that Mike Myers started pitching a ton (MIKE MYERS’ GAME LOG). As you can see Myer’s load was scaled back after the game June 5th. I believe this is when Theo spoke to Tito about doing something about Embree, and Tito, loath to lose the services of Alan (because he’s a good guy) and believes Alan still has something in the tank, convinced Theo to have Embree stay on as a lefty situational guy. Embree has been facing a lot more lefties recently, more than I’ve noticed. He’s started coming on to face lefties.
Tito, it’s not working. The statistics don’t lie. Embree has not been effective at getting lefties out since 2002. He magically lost his ability to get lefties out. And now, it’s just plain not working.
So we turn to the rumor mill here for a minute, for it’s better than rehashing the game full of umpire blunders, third-base coach blunders, and a game that at the very least we should have lost 7-6, or if Ortiz’s HR goes out, win 8-7. Thanks, Dale Sveum. A quick note about Clement: It happens. It just wasn’t his day. When that ball to Bernie Williams was called a strike, he immediately started doing better and just slipped again. I wouldn’t think much of it.
The rumor mill has Billy Wagner being traded.
Courtesy of ESPN’s Rumor Central: If the Phillies fade out of contention in the days approaching July 31, Billy Wagner expects to be traded, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. “I definitely would be disappointed [if the Phillies are out of it] and I wasn’t traded,” Wagner told the newspaper. “[General manager] Ed Wade didn’t bring me here to pitch for a team that’s selling. It’s unfathomable to think I wouldn’t be traded if we don’t have a chance for the wild card.”
This doesn’t mean he will be traded, and it’s just the musings of a pitcher. However, let’s entertain Billy and say he could be traded. I would sincerely hope that Theo would be all over this. Billy Wagner would be a nice fit in the Boston bullpen. He could instantly take over as the closer. Considering Keith Foulke will not be back until late August, it really would not take much to keep Wagner a closer for near the rest of the year. We can have Keith Foulke “work his way back” which could easily take two weeks then in the second week of Septemeber, start splitting duties with Wagner and Foulke. If Foulke holds up, by then the postseason will be in reach, and the year almost over. Wagner would hardly care that he was not the full fledged closer anymore.
Billy Wagner has a 2.13 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP with a .199 BAA this year. That is simply mindboggling, that after all these years at his age, that he is still flatout excellent. He is a free agent as well, so we have no ties to him next year. He has talked about retiring, or playing closer to home, whatever his family wants. He could be close enough to his home to resign with Boston, or sign with the Washington Nationals to be mere minutes away. Either way, the long-term impact is not nearly as important as the impact that Wagner can make for us this year.
I am not advocating trading any of our top prospects or Kevin Youkilis (although that is a thought) but rather someone such as Alejandro Machado, Chris Narveson, David Pauley, Albert Concepcion, a combination of players of that contact level. Kelly Shoppach could also be bandied about and I would part with Youkilis if we recieved a prospect in return so we don’t fully lose the trade after the season.
If we can make this trade, then whether or not it’s Alan Embree or John Halama that gets the boot, it’s one less lefty to worry about and more playing time for Mike Myers, which is not a bad thing. Perhaps Jeremi Gonzalez is sent down (something I hope does not happen) but it should either be Embree or Halama. While I haven’t focused much wrath on Halama, that’s because he’s a longman that’s basically doing mopup work, so while his ERA is atrocious, it’s acceptable, unlike Embree’s. I would still love to trade Kevin Millar to Houston for Chad Qualls, but that looks like it’s not happening. Billy Wagner or not, another impact reliever is still in need, Chad Bradford just won’t cut it.
At 6 PM today, the lefty version of Tim Redding (or actually, worse than Redding) takes the mound against the Yankee-killer, Tim Wakefield. I said prior to this series I wanted a 3-1 game, but you can hardly fault losing to Randy Johnson (even though his ERA against us has been less than scintillating, he’s somehow ended up being 3-0 against us so far). But a split should unquestionably be achieved, and perhaps ground can be made up as we host Tampa Bay next and the Yankees struggle in Texas.