-Here's a column on Ryan Doumit. I just got my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2006 - PECOTA, BP's projection system, loves Doumit even more than we do.
-If Mike Gonzalez' ability to adjust to the closer role really is a problem, articles like this probably don't help.
While I think the closer's psyche issue is pretty clearly overblown by a lot of people, it may indeed be the case that certain pitchers might not be psychologically right for the job. If that's true, though, I can't believe Gonzalez is one of those people. He seems to thrive on intensity.
-I'm all for improving the Pirates' patience on on-base percentage, but am concerned that Jim Tracy seems to think those issues have something to do with strikeouts:
"The approach had to change collectively, in my opinion, as far as each and every guy approaches his at-bats. You (need) a group of players that understand that in a given situation it's pretty important for (them) to try and put the ball in play -- not swing and miss."
Randall Simon was great at putting the ball in play. That's not the issue. The issues are identifying balls and strikes, getting good pitches to hit, and taking free passes when you don't. To Tracy's credit, he does identify the first two as areas to improve, but I don't see how it's productive to tie those areas in with offensive strikeouts. If anything, you'd think players who are worried about offensive strikeouts would not wait for their pitch and instead hack at the first thing they thought they could get their bats on.
-Jack Wilson is back, and so are Jason Bay and Yurendell DeCaster, whose home countries were eliminated from the WBC.
-Speaking of the WBC, Pat wasn't impressed with Oliver Perez's performance there:
PECOTA, by the way, likes Perez a lot less than we do.